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10 Tips for Improving the Utilization of Your TMS: (#2) Shortcuts to Success

August 29, 2023

KSMTA has developed a series designed to assist carriers in extracting the most value from their existing Transportation Management Software (TMS). The suggestions shared assume that the TMS you have today is the best TMS for your organization. KSMTA recommends that carriers leverage their existing TMS technology stack to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness.

This article focuses on tip number two of 10 in the series.

There is no shortcut to success.

– Malcolm Gladwell


Work smarter… not harder.

– Allen F. Morgenstern

In today’s fast-paced trucking landscape, time is of the essence and efficiency is a crucial key to success. One of the most effective ways to streamline workflow and maximize productivity is by harnessing the power of shortcuts within a TMS. By mastering these shortcuts, TMS users can navigate through tasks swiftly, saving time and energy for more important endeavors.

There are three key strategies for using shortcuts within a TMS to become a more efficient user.

1. Hot Keys: A Gateway to Swift Navigation

Hot keys are like secret passages that lead to instantaneous actions. They allow for performance of various functions without having to navigate through menus or click multiple buttons. Every TMS has them, but do you know what yours are? Most subject matter experts (SMEs) know some of them. The hot keys might open a dispatch window or change a date field. Common examples from Windows include Ctrl+C for copy, Ctrl+V for paste, and Alt+Tab for switching between open applications.

Many of these hot key combinations allow users to keep one hand on the mouse and one on the keyboard. By committing a handful of these hot keys to memory, users will experience a noticeable reduction in the time it takes to perform routine tasks. This efficiency boost is particularly valuable during high-pressure situations, such as last-minute planning, dispatching, and load saves.

2. Order of Operations: Sequence Is Key

Another essential aspect of using shortcuts effectively is understanding the optimal order of operations. Think of this as a strategic game plan that minimizes wasted motion. Most TMS software provides multiple ways to accomplish an action, such as assigning a tractor to a load. However, it may be much quicker to use a specific sequence of screens to do so. For instance, one screen may give you all tractors, but another gives you only available tractors and includes the driver linked to that tractor. By knowing your business process and TMS capabilities, you can streamline workflow and prevent the need for backtracking or re-entering data multiple times.

3. Minimum Keystrokes, Maximum Impact

The cardinal rule of using any program shortcut is to achieve a goal using the fewest keystrokes possible. Every unnecessary tap or click contributes to inefficiency. To master this principle, take time to explore advanced shortcuts specific to your TMS. It may allow for building driver schedules, master orders, or load tours (multiple dispatches) in sequence. Sometimes, it’s as simple as knowing it’s only necessary to type the first two letters into a drop-down list to get the correct value. By focusing on these power moves, the time reclaimed over the course of a day can be significant.

Unleashing TMS Potential: Harnessing the Power of Shortcuts

Honing TMS skills by using shortcuts is a surefire way to supercharge productivity. By embracing hot keys, mastering the order of operations, and minimizing keystrokes, it’s possible to navigate your TMS with finesse and speed. Start small by incorporating a few shortcuts into the daily routine and gradually expand the repertoire as these actions become more comfortable. With consistent practice, expect to transform into a digital efficiency maestro, accomplishing tasks in a fraction of the time it once took. This newfound productivity prowess will not only impress colleagues and superiors but also provide the invaluable gift of more time for the things that truly matter.

Our next article in the 10 Tips for Improving the Utilization of Your TMS series will highlight Tip #3: Customize the User Experience.

To learn more or discuss any of the ideas shared above, please contact a KSMTA advisor or complete this form.


David Dunst Director, Carrier Intelligence, KSM Transport Advisors

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