Should I buy or build my TMS Platform?
Choosing a TMS software is a large decision. You want to choose a system that will be cost effective, meet the needs of your business, and also grow with you as your business becomes more complex and evolves.
Searching for that perfect TMS solution that meets all your business needs might start to feel like a hopeless pursuit, as you look at option after option, and none seem to be your ideal solution. You start to think more and more about how your team works and realize that your team does things a bit differently and they have specific workflows — you start to wonder, Is there a TMS solution out there that can meet my needs? Should I just build my own TMS?
Building your own TMS platform is a huge undertaking. Here at Rose Rocket, we sometimes get asked why a trucking company should buy an out-of-the-box TMS versus building their own TMS platform. While building your own software is definitely something you can do, there’s lots of elements that go into it that can take away from what matters most — running your trucking business.
If you’re thinking about building versus buying a transportation management software, here are some things to consider:
1. Time, Resources and Money
Transportation software development time
Buying or choosing to build software is a big decision. Learning about the various softwares on the market that can help bring your business operations to the next level does take time, as you want to make sure that whatever software you choose can meet your core business needs.
As you think about all the time it might take to research a software, you might start to wonder, should I just redirect this energy and time to figuring out how to build our own in-house TMS? While sometimes buying software does seem time consuming, it is nothing compared to the time that is needed to build your own in-house software from scratch.
Buying a TMS that already exists in the market means that once you make the decision to buy, you can begin to implement it immediately in your business and onboard your team onto it. If you were to build your own TMS, you’ll have the building period where you’ll still have to operate as you are — this could easily take at least a year, if not more. Then after an early stage product is built, you’ll have to live through the adjustments that will need to take place (which always happens with any new software).
You’ll also be investing a lot of time trying to figure out what you want your TMS to look like and what capabilities you want it to have. When you purchase a TMS like Rose Rocket, we’ve already done all the hard work of figuring out what capabilities the TMS needs to have to help a trucking company operate well. When you first start with a TMS, there might be some features that you don’t immediately use based on the size of your business — and that’s ok. Those features will be there for you when your business gets to the point when you do need them. Implementing new features into your TMS as you grow is another thing you won’t have to worry about if you were to buy versus build.
Transportation software development resources
Besides the time that it takes to build a new software versus buying one, you also have to think about the resources you need to put into building a new software.
Do you have the staff in-house that could take on a development project? Do you need to outsource building the new software? Do you hire an IT team? Unfortunately transportation software development isn’t a skill you can just pick up and be an expert in. If you don’t already have in-house developers, you’ll need to determine who you’re going to get to build this software. Besides developers, most software builds have other people like designers and product managers that also assist.
In addition, you’ll also have to determine who is going to maintain the TMS platform once it’s built. Software doesn’t automatically run by itself once it's built. Software needs to be maintained and also updated to ensure that it’s keeping up with your business needs and advancing technology.
With an out-of-the-box TMS like Rose Rocket, you’ll be able to jump into the software right away without having to worry about hiring an IT team to get you up and running and to then maintain the software. On our podcast Freight Famous, Michael Melwicks from Moto Transportation Services, told host Justin Bailie, “We don’t have an IT department. We choose [Rose Rocket] for our IT department.” That’s the beauty of purchasing a TMS like Rose Rocket — our software developers worry about maintaining the software, so you don’t have to.
Besides being your IT department, Rose Rocket also helps companies onboard to the TMS through a variety of resources like our Customer Support Team, Help Center and the Rose Rocket Academy. If you were to build your own software in-house, you’ll also need to assign someone to act as the onboarding expert, so that they can train all your employees on how to use the software and help troubleshoot if an employee is having a problem.
Transportation software development cost
In addition to the time and resources building a new software consumes, it’s also expensive. Building a new software can easily cost upwards of hundreds, upon hundreds of thousands, of dollars.
When buying an out-of-the-box TMS you won’t have the same large costs you would with building your own TMS. Since out-of-the-box TMS softwares are subscription based, you’ll only be paying for what you need — you’ll never pay for something that doesn’t bring you value. In addition, when you need access to more capabilities from an out-of-the-box TMS because your business has grown, you also won’t break the bank.
The other thing with buying software you won’t need to worry about is the cost of maintaining it, while if you were to build your own, you will continually be sinking money into maintenance costs.
2. Diverts focus away from what really matters
As a trucking company you want to spend your time and energy on improving your business. If you choose to build your own TMS, your focus will be diverted away from the running of your business and instead will be focused on how to design, plan, and build a software.
When building a custom TMS, you’ll find that there can be a lot of distractions, not only for you but for the rest of your team members. Staff from different departments may have to be interviewed to note down their current processes. They will be called back to test the features. You may have to spend a lot of time with development teams, who may not be local, in order to ensure you have the right feature set and workflows in place. Distractions like these will often start small, but evolve into taking up a good chunk of your team’s time — time they can use to actually run your business better.
Here at Rose Rocket, our core purpose is building our TMS. We put all our time and energy into making sure that we have the best TMS on the market. From quote to cash — our expert team focuses on making sure that our TMS has all the capabilities you need to run your trucking business on it.
To help our team stay focused on our mission — building a great TMS — we purchase software to help keep our business operations running smoothly and our team’s focus at the task at hand. We buy our Customer Management software and every other software that isn’t core to our business. Since we’re not experts on knowing all the capabilities that need to be a part of our Customer Management software or our marketing software, we rely on our software providers to know what capabilities and features are needed to help us be more efficient. Since we also choose cloud-based softwares to run our business on, we know that all the software that make up our team’s tech stack work together to ensure that our team is aligned and can stay focused on building the best TMS for you.
3. Planning for the future
The software you need today is not the software you’ll need five years from now.
When considering building a custom TMS, the beauty is that it can do exactly what you need it to do with the right time, resources and money. However, we’ve seen customers coming to us having spent a lot of all of the above resources, and then when the software build was complete, a new requirement came up that wasn’t needed 6 months ago. It can be a new customer who requires more visibility, or suddenly you’re taking on building a small brokerage within a trucking company (or vice versa) — the thing is that trucking never stops moving, and neither will your needs for your TMS system.
As the trucking industry changes and technology changes, you’ll constantly have to be working on how you can make your in-house software better, to keep up with the demands of the world and your customers. You’ll continually have to innovate the features your software has to adapt to your changing business goals and priorities.
When purchasing a TMS like Rose Rocket, our job is to ensure the TMS you’re using will adapt and grow with your business in the next five years and beyond. We ensure that you don’t have to worry about your software not keeping up with your growth and the industry.
In addition, a modern TMS needs to be able to integrate with the other softwares you use in your business and also be able to adapt to any changes that happen with those integrations. If you build your own TMS platform, you will have to add this to the list of things you need to worry about. Custom integration costs can sometimes be more than buying an out-of-the-box solution, and is often not a cost that was considered when taking on the project of building a custom TMS.
If you choose Rose Rocket as your TMS, we ensure that our TMS integrates easily with the other softwares you need to run your business.
Why purchasing is the way to go
Building a TMS platform is a huge endeavor that will occupy a lot of time, people, money, and distract you from what really matters — running your transportation company.
Buying a TMS software like Rose Rocket will let you focus on running your trucking business and will save you a lot of worry and money. In addition, once you purchase Rose Rocket, we’ll also help you onboard, so that you and your team can get up running right away
We’ve built a TMS platform that successfully streamlines the operations of a trucking company — from automating manual tasks to our integrations marketplace that lets you connect all the software you use to the TMS. With world class technology available for an affordable price, buying a TMS software is the way to go.
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