This week’s manned Soyuz launch to the International Space Station appeared to be going smoothly, but some 90 seconds later NASA, on its livestream, reported that a problem seemed to have occurred with the booster rocket between the first and second stages of separation. The two astronauts were forced into a “ballistic descent” with their capsule landing a few hundred miles from the launch site. Like a failed space shot, failures when launching TMS always come as a surprise and result in terrifying hardship and significant losses.
Like a space shot, preparing to launch a TMS requires exceptional expertise, detailed planning and an army of supporting personnel to measure, monitor and manage a number of critical activities ensuring success. If any single facet of the team fails to perform at their best, the entire mission can easily come crashing down.
NASA’s motto, “Failure is not an option” is not something taken to heart by most TMS providers. It’s not that they want their customers to fail. It’s just that they don’t pull together as a true team when it comes to things like consultative direction, training, support, etc. Worse, most TMS providers charge their customers for these mission-critical provisions which can dis-incentivize shippers to avail themselves of the information and direction they often need.
It’s a simple axiom: poor consultation, training and support foster poor TMS adoption and ineffective utilization. If transportation personnel are either using these tools improperly or worse, not using them at all, the whole effort comes crashing down in defeat. Lost is the investment of time and money poured into selection and implementation of a necessary solution. Lost is the opportunity cost of business a shipper must absorb because their logistics and transportation operation cannot meet customer demand.
Perhaps most frustratingly, like a space agency in the aftermath of a catastrophic failure, a transportation department that suffers a failure when launching TMS may not be afforded the opportunity to try again for years due to lack of internal support.
Choosing the Best “Mission Control”
Avoid seeing your transportation logistics operation plummet uncontrollably down from the heights of supply chain achievement. Select a provider that will truly serve as a dedicated mission partner with your organization. If failure is not an option for you when selecting and launching TMS, make sure the provider you elect delivers the following services, cheerfully, consistently and at no additional costs outside of regular subscription fees:
- Dedicated Implementation Management Personnel to expertly guide configuration, testing, carrier/vendor onboarding and more in the early days of the engagement
- Ongoing Consultative Meetings weekly/monthly/quarterly after go-live hand-off to help users grow into the solution and extract maximum benefit from its use
- Free and Unlimited Live Training, Retraining and Support for your team members (and for new members as turnover inevitably happens), delivered by the same, US-based resources assigned to your account. No impersonal call-centers, no online chat windows, no user forums – actual, first-name-basis team members
If a provider won’t commit to deliver this level of team-focused collaboration and backing, you shouldn’t count on them to launch your logistics practices to new heights.