Business intelligence

Breakdown: Pros and Cons of a TMS vs Excel

March 11, 2024

It seems you’re considering the implementation of a Transportation Management System (TMS) for your trucking business and are weighing the pros and cons. Like climbing a mountain, choosing a solution that's right for you can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be…

Here’s a summary of the advantages and potential disadvantages to help you decide:

Advantages of a Transportation Management System:

Enhanced efficiency for the whole team -

For businesses contemplating TMS integration, transitioning from manual data entry and spreadsheets to an all-inclusive logistics and delivery solution brings a significant boost in efficiency. A TMS automates nearly every aspect of logistics management, from load planning and carrier selection to shipment tracking, resulting in heightened efficiency, quicker delivery times, and improved customer service.

Accelerated cashflow and precise financial control -

The focus on higher cost savings extends beyond just operational efficiency. A TMS can not only optimizes routes, curbing fuel expenses and preventing delays but significantly contributes to accelerated cash flow and enhanced financial control. By getting visibility into their operations with features like live margin calculation, businesses can reap substantial savings that directly impact their bottom line. With improvements to workflow from order to invoice, removing delays to billing allows businesses using a TMS to get accurate invoices out faster than before. While there may be an initial investment, the long-term financial benefits, including improved cash flow and tightened financial control, underscore the value of embracing a TMS solution for sustainable financial success.

Increased visibility for you and your customers -

TMS provides a comprehensive overview of your business workflow. Businesses gain the ability to track shipments in real-time, monitor their fleet, track compliance and attain greater visibility into their supply chain. In case of issues, swift resolutions are possible with all the information centralized onto one system, and not hidden away in paper diaries, spreadsheets or people's heads. The software consolidates all data into a central database, enabling data-driven decisions for optimizing schedules or diversifying delivery options.

Improved customer service -

Customers can be demanding, and providing them with visibility and automating away any errors due to manual data entry go a long way to improving your relationship. Offering customers access to tracking information and the flexibility to book shipments using a webportal enhances their experience and positions your business as an essential and reliable partner. If you don't have transparency and visibility into your operations, what hope do your customers have? Access to real-time shipment tracking or email notifications empowers customers, allowing them to adapt to unexpected changes. Such options and flexibility contribute to a higher level of customer service.

Scalability as the business grows -

As your business expands, managing a larger operation can become intricate. A TMS adapts to the growth of your business, supporting operations as they expand without the concern of outgrowing the system. Procedurisation and centralisation are key for growing your business, both of which are provided by a fully featured TMS like Stratum.

Drawbacks of adopting a TMS

Teething problems with a new system -

Introducing a new system may pose challenges in getting your team accustomed to the change. The transition from manual processes to a TMS can be disruptive initially, requiring time and resources for setup and training.  Familiarizing drivers, team members, and customers with a new system takes time. At Stratum we offer multiple days of 1 to 1 training with our TMS experts to help get new users off the ground, as well as giving them access to our online knowledgebase of tutorials and guides. When deciding on a TMS, be sure to understand the providers approach to training and onboarding.

Set up costs -

Spreadsheets are practically free, while any system is going to incur some set-up costs. While a TMS can lead to long-term savings, the initial investment might be significant and is something to consider when choosing the right TMS for you.

Need for suitable integrations and industry tools-

Each business is unique, and finding a TMS solution that integrates seamlessly with existing systems can be challenging. Considerations should be made regarding the compatibility of a new system with other software currently in use. Some TMS systems, such as Stratum, offer pre-built integrations, simplifying the import of customer data and accounting processes, and industry specific tools to ensure you get the right system for your workload


While initiating a TMS solution may seem daunting, it ultimately adds substantial value to your business in the long run. Beyond automating administrative tasks, it offers heightened visibility, substantial cost savings, and liberates time for your team to cultivate stronger relationships with customers. If you believe a Transportation Management Software could be the next step for your growth or wish to explore further, book a demo with one of our logistics experts – as a top-rated TMS provider, we're here to assist you!

Daegan Finlay
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