Maybe you’re still using Excel spreadsheets to manage your trucking operation. Or maybe you have a patchwork of different software solutions that aren’t working together in a unified way.
If so, it’s time to consider an all-in-one trucking management software solution (TMS). A good trucking management platform has been known to reduce staffing needs by as much as 60%.
One way to gauge the value of trucking company software is to take advantage of its free trial. This gives you a full-fledged run of the TMS without having to commit financially. One caveat: Don’t sign up until you verify that you aren’t locking yourself into some kind of fee. Some platforms have sneaky fine print. Make sure your free trial is indeed free.
Beyond that, here are a several steps for getting the most out of your software trial:
- Most TMS systems will provide you with a live demonstration. Watch that demonstration or, at the very least, watch videos of the software in use.
- Start using the software on day 1 of your trial. That way, you can use your trial period to its fullest.
- Start the trial when you have time to enter your data into the system. This will make the trial more useful. If you need help transferring your data, ask for it. Many companies will guide you through this process.
- Ask for free training. A lot of companies offer this after you purchase their product, but that leaves you with a steep learning curve during your free trial. Some companies will offer you complimentary unlimited training during the trial.
- Ask questions. Your account representative will be motivated to sell to you and will usually get right back to you with answers.
- Try running your whole business on the software. Some people hold back during their free trial, but this is the time to lean on the software 100% so that you can see how it functions in every capacity.
- If your free trial period is up and you’d still like a little more time before you commit, most companies will extend your free trial, especially if they see you are using their product.
Now you know how to maximize your free trial, let’s talk about the specific things you should be looking for in the software.
1. User-friendly Interface
Start by evaluating the intuitiveness of the TMS interface. It should make life easier for users across the board—those tech-savvy and not. During the trial, assess how straightforward it is to locate information and execute tasks and decide whether the software simplifies or complicates daily operations. An intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface can speed up adoption within your team, saving valuable time and enhancing productivity.
2. Real-time Visibility
As you know, there’s currently a high need for supply chain visibility. To ensure your business operates efficiently and stays competitive, the TMS software needs to deliver end-to-end visibility, accurately tracking shipments from their start point to their final destination.
In the trial phase, verify the TMS’s capacity for tracking progress and making quick adjustments in response to changes or delays in shipments. The software you select should amplify efficiency for you and your customers, who rely on receiving their orders as promised.
3. Seamless Integration
The TMS software you choose should foster efficient collaboration with carriers. But it doesn’t stop there. Seamless onboarding of all partners involved in your supply chain—such as suppliers and customers—is equally essential.
The aim? Every stakeholder in your supply chain should navigate swiftly, locating what they need without stumbling over errors or getting held up by system inefficiencies. That’s why we advocate for the unification of necessary elements within a single dashboard. Here, all platform users can join forces, sharing and communicating effortlessly.
4. Reliable Mileage Tracking
While evaluating the TMS software during the trial, take a close look at the mileage tracking feature. This is a key aspect, particularly when it comes to planning routes and managing fuel consumption. Can it accurately track miles traveled by your fleet? Is the data easy to interpret and implement in future strategies?
Precision is vital—it’s about making the most out of every mile driven. Don’t settle for anything less than a TMS that offers real-time, accurate mileage tracking that feeds into a clear and comprehensive reporting system. This way, you’ll have a reliable tool to optimize routes, manage costs, and boost your business’s efficiency.
5. Efficient Freight Settlement
Your TMS software must be a robust solution, addressing every challenge that the supply chain throws at you. Ensure that the trial version of the TMS software allows you to test its freight settlement capabilities—its success here is a guarantee that your company gets what it needs.
Some of the standout benefits to look out for include:
- Generating payment vouchers
- Assigning billing codes for easy tracking
- Allocating costs accurately
A top-notch TMS can help you consolidate all the paperwork, replacing piles of invoices and bills with just one comprehensive invoice, one bill, and one payment to process.
6. Comprehensive Reporting
Put the spotlight on the reporting features during your TMS software trial. Detailed, clear reports are indispensable—they provide insights into your operations and highlight areas for improvement.
Ensure the software can generate a variety of reports, from cost analyses to performance metrics. Can it drill down the data to offer granular insights? The TMS should transform raw data into actionable insights to help drive strategic decisions.
Examine the scalability of the TMS software… your business will grow and change, and your TMS should match pace. Can it accommodate increasing volumes? Can it equip your business to branch out into new areas or services? A truly scalable TMS caters to your current demands and gears up for future requirements, effectively supporting your growth trajectory.
The success of your business can often rely on using new tech and keeping up with the latest trends. These new tools can give you better solutions than you might expect. For example, using cloud trucking software has been shown to help businesses save money and work more efficiently.
9. Data Security and Compliance
Protection of data stands high on your business priority list… it’s simply too critical to disregard. During your TMS trial, make sure to:
- Assess if the TMS software can effectively guard your business and customer data against potential breaches.
- Verify the software’s compliance with industry regulations and up-to-date data protection laws.
A secure TMS is not merely a safeguard for your business—it’s an investment in maintaining customer trust.
Efficiency should be the heart of your TMS software. Top-tier providers not only offer real-time alerts at every stage of shipment to keep you updated but also save you countless hours that would be otherwise spent manually checking statuses. The software should make sure the invoices reflect correct payments and also provide additional features that streamline cost and time. Your ideal TMS is one that doesn’t just work, but works smart!
Streamline your trucking business today
If you’re in search of these features and more, while also seeking budget-friendly, simple, and cloud-based software, we’d be delighted to offer you a trial run. Experience first-hand how AxisTMS’s solution can fuel your growth and efficiency while erasing all the roadblocks you might be experiencing due to lack of automation.
Explore Trucking Management Software (TMS) features in this infographic. Prioritize user-friendly interfaces for universal adoption and ensure end-to-end visibility with real-time shipment tracking. Choose a TMS with reliable mileage tracking and efficient freight settlement, fostering collaboration and seamless integration. Emphasize comprehensive reporting for actionable insights and scalability for future growth. Stay updated on technology trends, prioritize data security and compliance, and make efficiency the core of your TMS with real-time alerts and features optimizing cost and time.