Louis’s Learnings: Detail Design of a TMS Implementation

Detail Design of a TMS Implementation

I spent this past week sequestered in a windowless conference room hashing out the detail design of a TMS implementation for a large industrial goods manufacturer. I was accompanied by three JBF Consulting colleagues and a dedicated group of subject matter experts, business leads and IT leads/analysts on the client-side.

From a process perspective, my most important lesson is the need to provide ample breaks and opportunities for the participants to catch up on their email during the day. 

It’s a little disheartening to be in the midst of a heady discussion only to turn my head and see the principal decision-maker hunched over his cell phone and not paying attention. I don’t blame the person, I, myself, did it several times during the day! 

While it may not seem like we are maximizing our time as a team if the meeting schedule has many gaps, I feel providing them will, in the end, optimize efficiency and help achieve the meeting objectives.

Enough about the process, let’s talk content! 

More specifically I want to discuss TMS implementations and my most important lesson learned. This week, it comes to my care of my client’s business project lead. 

We were in a deep discussion trying to figure out how we were going to implement an idiosyncrasy of the load building process. Several options had been proposed and reviewed, but none of them were particularly elegant and pleased everyone. 

That’s when the clear head of the business lead intervened and declared that we were not going to automate all exceptions in their transportation operations, and it was acceptable that some will remain manual.

Just like that dozens of hours of design, integration and testing work were slashed. 

I was kicking myself for not having brought it up earlier! The simplest design is most often the best approach.

In conclusion, day-long meetings are often a necessary evil but don’t forget to provide time for people to take breaks and check their phones. What you lose in meeting time, you will gain back in productivity. 

Second, a TMS will not allow you to automate all your transportation processes. It’s OK to have some that will require human intervention if they simplify operations. They can be tackled at a later date as part of a continuous improvement process.

Louis Bourassa is the Analytics & Optimization Practice Head at JBF Consulting. He provides analytical and optimization support to JBF clients. Louis has a diverse background with a mix of industry, consulting and software roles that allowed him to develop a strong business acumen and expert knowledge of supply chain analysis and design.

Founded in 2003, JBF Consulting is a supply chain execution strategy and systems integrator to logistics-intensive companies of every size and any industry. Our background and deep experience in the field of packaged logistics technology implementation positions us as industry leaders whose craftsmanship exceeds our client expectations. We expedite the transformation of supply chains through logistics & technology strategy, packaged & bespoke software implementation, and analytics & optimization. For more information, visit us at www.jbf-consulting.com

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