Spreadsheets vs. On-Premise TMS Systems vs. Cloud TMS

TLDR - Here's what you need to know:

  • Excel spreadsheets make it difficult to scale, collaborate, and organize documents, as there is no document management
  • On-premise TMS systems require physical servers located at your office, which are often costly both to purchase and maintain. You also need to worry about security & privacy
  • The Rose Rocket TMS is cloud-based, secure & private, helps streamline collaboration, and future-proof your business. Learn more about cloud-based TMS software.

Something needs to change, now. Things can’t keep running like they are. As you start researching transportation management softwares that can help you streamline and automate your business operations, you start to wonder, what’s the difference between all these softwares?

There are many options on the market that can run your business — like building out an extensive Excel spreadsheets or an on-premise TMS. There’s also cloud-based TMS systems, which is what we, Rose Rocket, are.

In the below video, our Key Account Lead, Rob Doherty explains the pros and cons of using Excel spreadsheets, an on-premise TMS system, and Rose Rocket to run your business. Prior to joining Rose Rocket, he worked in trucking for many years and was the General Manager at a trucking company, so knows first hand how important it is to have the best tools for your business to help optimize efficiency and productivity.

Rob does a great job of explaining the pros and cons between Excel spreadsheets, an on-premise TMS software, and Rose Rocket in the video but if you’d prefer to read, we’ve pulled out some of the key points below.

Watch it

Read it 

There are pros and cons to most things in life – including the technology you use in your business. As with many things, there’s often an option that has quite a few more pros to it. This also applies to the software you use to run your transportation company. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using Excel spreadsheet or an on-premise TMS to run your business versus Rose Rocket. 

TMS Excel 

We’ll be the first to admit that we love a good spreadsheet. Excel (or Google Sheets) is a wonderful tool. It’s low-cost, easy to use, very customizable, and it’s better than using pen and paper to run your business on. 

Although there are many great things about Excel, there are some limitations to it, especially when you’re trying to run an entire business on it. 

Difficult to scale 

One of the largest limitations of Excel is that it’s not going to scale with your business. As your business grows and you add more customers, trucks, and loads, it’s going to get harder and harder to keep track of everything on a spreadsheet — something is going to fall through the cracks, which could result in costly errors. 

Although you can create multiple spreadsheets to try and keep track of it all, you’ll then have to worry about trying to maintain all these spreadsheets. Your staffs’ focus will then be on managing spreadsheets instead of higher priorities activities. 

Difficult to collaborate

Trucking is a collaborative effort and no one moves freight alone.  You have partners and customers that you work with to ensure the freight gets to where it needs to be. 

With Excel, collaborating with customers and partners becomes that much harder because you manually have to share information from Excel to your partners. This could be in the form of copy/pasting a spreadsheet into an email or having to pick up the phone to call a customer to provide status updates on where their freight currently is. 

These additional manual tasks your team has to perform to try and keep communication open with your customers and partners, takes them away from doing other tasks that could add more value to your business. 

No document management 

When moving freight there are documents and information that you need, that you won’t be able to store in Excel, unless you manually enter that information. 

For example, you can’t store proof of delivery in Excel or integrate your ELD with Excel, so that you always know your drivers’ current available hours of service. Instead, your team will have to jump from system to system to find the information they need. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and energy. 

On-premise TMS 

Next, let’s look at an on-premise TMS. These systems have been around for quite a while, so have added a lot of the bells and whistles you might need in a TMS. While bells and whistles are great, on-premise TMS systems also have quite a few drawbacks that make them difficult to use and also drain your bank account. 

Server management 

‍One of the largest downsides to an on-premise TMS is that it is on-premise. Why is the system being on-premise a downside? It means that when you purchase this kind of TMS, you will have to buy servers that physically live at your office. These servers will need to be maintained — they’re not a one time item that you buy and then can forget about.

So if your TMS needs servers, and the servers live at your office, can you access the TMS offsite? The answer is yes, but it’s complicated. To be able to access an on-premise TMS in a location where the servers aren’t located, you’ll need to purchase a VPN connection. Like servers, this is not a purchase that you buy and then forget about — it also needs to be maintained.

‍The management that goes into buying and maintaining servers adds up, and ultimately it ends up distracting you from your core business — running a trucking company.

Expensive costs 

We’ve talked about how you have to worry about server management. Unfortunately, server management comes at a high cost. 

You’ll first have to buy the servers needed for the software, which is a large upfront cost, and then you’ll have to sink money into maintaining the servers. These maintenance costs include upgrade fees if you want to have the newest version of the software. 

Security and privacy 

Another thing you’re going to have to worry about with an on-premise TMS is security. You’re going to have to think about protecting your servers from bad actors who might want to hack into your TMS and hold your business hostage. 

You’ll also need to think about what you’re going to do if your servers go down. In the video, Rob tells this crazy story of how the servers at a trucking company he worked at caught on fire and the TMS went down, making them revert to pen and paper. He claims it was the “worst week of his life.” Although not a fun memory for Rob, the story is quite wild — jump to 3:00 minutes in the video to hear it. 

Difficult to integrate

Many trucking companies use a variety of softwares, such as ELDs or an accounting platform. In addition, your customers also use tools that you should be able to integrate with like a customer’s ERP. 

On-premise TMSes can integrate with other softwares but it’s often very difficult and costly. It usually takes a long time to get the integration set-up and once set-up you’ll also have to pay for maintaining the integration. 

Rose Rocket TMS 

So now to us. What makes us stand out from Excel spreadsheets or an on-premise TMS? Read on to learn a few things that make us really stand out and also make us one of the most popular TMSes to use. 


Rose Rocket is a cloud-based TMS software. As a cloud-based software you are able to access the Rose Rocket TMS from wherever you have an internet connection.

‍When you choose Rose Rocket as your TMS, you don’t have to worry about purchasing any servers or then maintaining those servers — all you need is access to the internet and you’re good to go.  ‍

Secure & Private

‍Besides being able to access Rose Rocket from anywhere, another advantage to being cloud-based is that you don’t have to worry about security and reliability.

‍As the software provider, we take on the responsibility to ensure that the TMS is secure and reliable. We're committed to providing the highest level of information security and as part of this commitment, we've become SOC 2 Type 1 compliant.

In addition, when it’s time for an update, we deliver it to you seamlessly over the internet.

Single-source of truth

One of the large benefits of Rose Rocket is that your team is always going to be aligned because the Rose Rocket TMS is the single-source of truth. This means that all the information you need to efficiently run your business will be located in Rose Rocket. 

Thanks to our integrations marketplace, we’re able to easily and seamlessly connect with any other software you use — such as a shipper portal, or ELD that tracks drivers’ hours of service, or trailer tracking software. This will optimize your team’s efficiency, as they won’t have to be jumping from system to system to find what they need. It’s all consolidated within the Rose Rocket TMS. 

Streamlines collaboration

Being able to easily work with your customers and partners is key for the successful and easy movement of freight. 

With the Rose Rocket TMS we have features like customer portal or the partner portal that you can extend to your customers and partners, enabling you to empower your partners to work more easily with you. Working together in our portals will mean fewer emails or phone calls about the status of an order. 

Future-proofs your business 

Lastly, Rose Rocket is here for you for the long-run. As your business grows, and the complexity of it grows, and your team expands, Rose Rocket will keep up with you without breaking the bank. 

While Excel or an on-premise TMS might have gotten you through the last five years, Rose Rocket is going to get you through the next five years and beyond, thanks to our flexible architecture and pricing. 

Final thoughts

We hope that we’ve been helpful in pointing out some of the pros and cons of using Excel spreadsheets, on-premise TMSes and Rose Rocket to run your business. 

While Excel and an on-premise TMS can help your business for a while, we believe that our cloud-based TMS will help you better collaborate with your partners and easily grow with you into the future. 

We’d love to show you a demo of Rose Rocket and how we can help streamline your business operations to be more efficient and productive. Book a demo below! 

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