My brain needs a recharge this weekend before I can jump back into the ongoing topics I am covering around globalization and the impact the U.S. stimulus will have on supply chains. I am in the middle of getting my head wrapped around implementing a Transportation Management System (TMS) versus a Warehouse Management System (WMS). Because we use a common implementation methodology at Manhattan, most of the key tasks and milestones remain the same. The differences become clearer in the following respects:
- WMS implementations focus on the nodes (warehouses and distribution centers) of a supply chain
- TMS implementations focus on the modes (land transport, ocean vessel, airplane, railway, etc)
- The organization and culture built around a these two distinct products tend to be different
- TMS is more network oriented and outside the four walls of a warehouse or DC, driving very different rollout considerations
Although I worked relatively briefly for a 3PL transportation provider in Japan, managing this implementation is really starting to ingrain in me the key pain points for a transportation provider and how systems should be built to manage those, if not completely eliminate them.
What is particularly exciting is foreseeing the point where I can begin to more fully understand the integration points between a WMS and TMS in providing a more total solution for a customer's supply chain. I already have a conceptual feel for what is required in this integration, but to actually develop the ability to successfully and competently create and execute an implementation that seamlessly integrates the modal and nodal aspects of a supply chain is someting I look forward to achieving.