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Buy or Build: A Guide to Choosing a TMS System

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How can you guarantee transparency and end-to-end control of your workflows, speed up their implementation, increase customer satisfaction, simplify compliance with regulatory requirements, and reduce the costs associated with poor route planning and scheduling for drivers? The answer is simple – through choosing the right TMS. And this is only part of what a good TMS software can cover.

In general, given the advanced automation capabilities, such systems have become popular these days, which is directly reflected in the forecasts: according to Grand View Research, by the end of 2023 the global TMS software market amounted to about 13.6 billion US dollars, and until 2030, it will grow with a CAGR of 17.4%. At the same time, many companies in the transportation sector choose custom development instead of ready-made solutions. Below, we will explain to you what may be causing this and will help you make the right decision.

Signs That You Need TMS

If you are not yet using any TMS, there are a number of signs that should encourage you to do so:

  • You realize that your processes are not efficient enough. You clearly understand that you are missing something to make your business operations go faster, although there are prerequisites for speeding them up: your employees spend a lot of time performing their work tasks manually, shipping of cargo often occurs with delays, and your drivers are either often idle or have problems with a too busy work schedule.
  • You want to provide greater transparency to your operations. You would like to ensure end-to-end control over financial transactions in your company, over drivers and trucks that are on trips, as well as more competently distribute cargo between them.
  • You need to provide a cutting-edge customer experience. Advanced customer experience, which implies expedited processing of customer requests and faster delivery of their cargo, is one of the decisive factors ensuring the competitiveness of a business in the market. However, all the methods you used previously turned out to be insufficiently effective for this.
  • Most of your business software runs autonomously. Your employees regularly have to enter/upload the same data into several autonomous software solutions, which takes a lot of their time and increases human-factor risks.
  • You are planning to scale. Your company plans to enter a new market and expand its audience, but you are looking for the most cost-effective solution for this because you are not yet ready to hire dozens of new employees.

If you find yourself in at least one of these situations, you definitely need a TMS. Now, the only thing left to do is to choose the best one from out-of-the-box solutions or resort to custom development.

Features to Consider in a Transportation Management Platform

There are a number of features that you will have to check to ensure they meet your business needs before choosing a particular TMS solution:

  • Route optimization (AI algorithms for shortening and planning routes, hints based on GPS data, such as searching for partner gas stations and planning routes according to their location, etc.)
  • Order management (supply chain tracking, historical data analysis, bottlenecks identification, risk management, and much more)
  • Real-time driver tracking (GPS and IoT functionality for cargo monitoring, driver behavior monitoring on the road, centralization of payments at gas stations, etc.)
  • Customization (customization of individual functions to meet your individual needs, as well as their general flexibility needed to cover a larger number of orders and customers so that you can scale without migrating to a new TMS)
  • 3PL operations (centralized management of carriers, automated selection of the best tariff, provision of a unified platform for communication, etc.)
  • Expenses management (audit of cargo, fuel, and truck maintenance costs)
  • Integration with third-party solutions (ERP systems, CRM systems, accounting systems, etc.)
  • Standard compliance (secure authentication and authorization, use of encryption protocols for data transmission, compliance with industry standards and requirements in your region, etc.).

Ultimately, this list can be expanded by a number of features that are necessary specifically for your company.

Custom Transportation Management Software vs. Off-the-Shelf Solutions

Now, we propose you analyze the build vs buy software pros and cons.

Aspect to consider Off-the-shelf solutions Custom-made TMS
Initial cost The initial cost of a ready-made solution may seem extremely attractive to you; however, don’t rush to rejoice – before you start using your system, you may encounter hidden costs for its customization, connecting paid modules, and integrating it with your existing solutions. The cost of creating a custom TMS system usually starts from $30,000, and this is only for development services (without paying for hosting provider services, integrations with paid APIs, etc.).
Integrations Not all ready-made solutions provide seamless integration with third-party software products; moreover, some of them may not be suitable for this at all, especially if you have a legacy IT infrastructure that suits you perfectly. By choosing the right contractor, your development team will implement any integration you need, ensuring comprehensive automation of work processes within your company.
Level of customization Even though modern TMS systems are well-tailored to the needs of businesses with complex logistics processes, you may still find yourself among the minority – those for whom none of the ready-made solutions is completely suitable. Your development team will adapt the functionality of your software specifically to your business operations.
Scalability prospects Many ready-made solutions are tailored to the needs of businesses of a certain scale, and their further scaling will require migration to a new TMS system. You can initially discuss your company’s growth prospects with your development team, and they will take this into account during the planning stage of your custom software architecture.

Making the Right Choice for Your Business

When deciding whether to buy or build software for your TMS, it’s important to consider your specific needs. If your business processes are standard and straightforward, a ready-made solution like Truckstop TMS may be exactly what you need.

Truckstop TMS is an all-in-one Transportation Management System designed to streamline dispatching and offer detailed reporting, statistics, settlements, and customer rate agreements tailored to your brand. Thanks to its advanced capabilities, such as customizable search filters, real-time tracking, load recommendations, freight payments management, and compliance checking, this TMS is perfect for transportation companies with complex workflows.

Custom software development might be the better option if you’ve reviewed popular off-the-shelf solutions and found they don’t fully meet your needs due to their ability to be tailored to your unique requirements and business processes. WEZOM specializes in creating software solutions customized to fit your specific needs.

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WEZOM is a trusted IT partner with over 10 years of logistics industry experience, specializing in custom software solutions. With 7 global offices, more than 250 certified specialists, and over 2,500 projects completed, WEZOM excels in developing Transportation Management Systems (TMS), logistics management apps, and digital platforms. Their solutions streamline operations, reduce costs by over 15%, and enhance efficiency, leading to significant reductions in operational costs, improved dispatcher and driver workflows, minimized bureaucratic oversights, and faster unloading times. Utilizing technologies like PHP, Laravel, and React.js, and adhering to Scrum methodologies, WEZOM ensures high-quality, iterative solutions.

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