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How a DMS Can Put Your TMS on Steroids

Jonathan Cowie 2019-01-14 09:18:48
Jonathan Cowie on Jan 14 2019

Steroids unlevel the playing field so dramatically that no one can compete.

Using steroids is how you win the Tour de France seven times in a row, or hit 48 more home runs in your career than Babe Ruth. With steroids, Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds didn’t just compete with the best, they dominated the field.

Steroids create an unfair advantage and in business that kind of advantage is invaluable.

Your TMS on Steroids

On steroids your TMS is capable of doing the following things:

TMS steroids

  • Eliminating manual, repetitive paperwork tasks that add little to no value
  • Posting transactions directly to your general ledger
  • Reducing time-to-bill from weeks to days, or even hours
  • Eliminating missing paperwork forever
  • Automating the collections process to poke and prod outstanding receivables
  • Empowering staff to handle exceptions, relieve bottlenecks and improve customer service
  • Improving visibility into cash flow, profitability, and financial standing
  • Integrating seamlessly with accounting, ERP, and SAP packages

In short, your TMS on steroids is capable of doing more. It can grow bigger, faster and stronger, and drive inefficiency out of your business.

Are These Roids Legal?

The steroids I’m talking about are a Document Management System (DMS) with a powerful workflow automation engine.

Now, before you write this off as an exaggeration, let me give you two good reasons why the power of a DMS (also known as an imaging system) is underestimated and why it truly does possess the ability to give you an unfair advantage similar to steroids.

1. Trucks are part of the business, not the hub.

The imaging system is the primary ingestion point for any transportation company. It’s where all of the information you need to run your business is taken in.

The imaging system and workflow engine are the connective tissue that connects your TMS with every other part of your business, from Billing and Payroll to Accounting and ERP. The right engine can integrate your stand-alone packages into a powerful, automated machine.Diagram

The problem is that without an automation engine, it takes a lot of work to get every piece of information to where it needs to be. Your systems are connected only by your people, so countless hours are spent taking information from BOLs, PODs, rate cons, invoices, and accessorials, and moving it to the right people in the appropriate places.

These are manual, repetitive tasks that, quite frankly, robots can perform faster and more reliably than humans.

A powerful Document Management System gives documents the appropriate attributes and metadata to be worked throughout your entire organization, automating the flow of information and allowing you to conduct business at a faster rate of speed.

The right engine automates a tremendous amount of work and generates lift throughout every level of your business. It takes the burden of performing time-consuming tasks away from employees and allows them to focus on exceptions, bottlenecks, and finding greater efficiencies.

Register Now: How to Supercharge Your TMS with a DMS

2. Truck-centric thinking can only take you so far.

Asset utilization is the name of the game, I get that.

If you can improve fuel efficiency in any way possible, do that. If you can cut maintenance costs and lower total cost of ownership with a robust preventive maintenance schedule, that’s great. If you can leverage advancements in telematics, route-planning, and predictive analytics to further optimize your assets, fantastic.

But at the end of the day, truck-centric optimization is too limited in scope. It misses a big part of the complete business picture.

You and I both know that the transportation business isn’t just about moving goods. It’s about moving money.

This is a cash flow business and if you’re not spending just as much time optimizing the flow of cash as you are the flow of freight, you’re missing out on enormous efficiency gains.

If you haven’t spent time driving inefficiency out of your operation from a cash flow perspective, you’re bleeding time and money every day. And in today’s business climate, wounded animals suffer swift deaths.

A powerful engine has the ability to stop your back-office bleed, almost overnight.

Of course, I’m not telling you to quit optimizing your asset utilization. Those gains are significant and new ways to reduce deadhead miles, optimize drivers’ HOS in the ELD era, and further improve MPGs are happening all the time.

All I’m saying is that cash flow optimization can be equally valuable to your bottomline.

Why not invest some time, energy and money into making your head office run just as efficiently as your trucks?

The Results Speak for Themselves

If you still think I’m overstating the case for a powerful imaging system and workflow automation engine, let me give you some hard numbers from companies we’ve worked with here at Microdea.

logo_royal_148Royal Trucking’s invoicing is now paperless and automated. Billing takes less than a day, down from over a week. Unbilled revenue is now $25-50k, down from $500k-750k. Missing paperwork is no longer a problem and they’ve increased capacity without adding headcount.

challenger2Challenger is now able to issue 4,700 invoices each week with a time-to-bill of just four days. Retrieving documents takes seconds, not hours.

logo_Big_G_ExpressBig G Express’ time-to-bill has been cut in half. They’ve added just one admin staff while growing from 250 to 467 trucks.

JBSJBS Carriers saved $63,000 in two years when they made the move from TRANSFLO to Synergize (our proprietary imaging system). Leveraging OCR technology, 80% of BOLs are now pushed through workflows and indexed automatically.

Logo_Koch_LogisticsKoch Logistics streamlined receivables, allowing them to double their transactions with no increase in headcount. Bottlenecks have been relieved, billing happens faster, and with increased visibility, paperwork no longer sits or goes missing.

Importantly, these results aren’t outliers. They’re typical.

A positive ROI in three-to-six months isn’t just possible. It’s expected.

Conclusionswimming tech advancements

Tech advancements are changing the game in almost every industry and field.

At the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome, twenty world records were broken.

How? Whole-body polyurethane wetsuits.

By reducing water resistance, these suits unleveled the playing field. If you weren’t wearing one, you couldn’t compete. Within eighteen months, they were banned from the sport.

But here’s the real kicker: if you had to guess, by what percentage would you think they reduced drag?


A mere 8% gain in efficiency and world records began toppling like dominoes.

This is the power of efficiency gains. The percentages are incremental, but the impacts are game changing.

That’s why they’re so easy to underestimate.

Who would’ve thought a better wetsuit could allow world records to be shattered like glass?

Who would’ve thought steroids could allow a man to dominate the Tour de France for over half a decade or a 43-year-old to take the homerun crown?

When you first started this article, you probably thought putting your TMS on steroids was an exaggeration.

If anything, it’s an understatement.

With the technology available today, you have the power to gain an unfair advantage over your competition, an opportunity to dominate.

And that starts with upgrading your imaging and automation power, the real engine of efficiency.

While a TMS can be strong and powerful in its own right, combining it with a powerful Document Management System and automation engine is the key to unlocking its true potential. The efficiency gains are awesome in every sense of the word.

Today, you can legally give your TMS steroids. So do that.


If you'd like to learn more about how a DMS can put your TMS on steroids, we're hosting a webinar on January 23rd where we'll diver deeper into the details and answer any questions you might have. Sign up today! 

Register Now: Webinar: How to Supercharge Your TMS with a DMS

Originally published June 19, 2018, updated January 14, 2019

Jonathan Cowie

As the VP of Sales and Marketing at Microdea, Jonathan Cowie is passionate about building high-quality teams and selling market-leading services and solutions. In his free time, he enjoys time with family at the cottage, and a good cigar. He never misses an opportunity to use a good metaphor.

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