In freight auditing, freight audit advisors work with freight shippers to ensure that all charges are accurate and to prevent wasting money. With the volatility of 2021 still in mind and uncertainty heading into 2022, the whole industry feels a bit apprehensive. Cost control must take priority to combat such volatility. Shippers can ensure they are getting the best possible rates from their carriers by working with a freight audit consultant. In addition, freight auditing consultants also help identify potential loss leaders to reduce carrier costs. According to GlobalTranz, the average audit in 2019 found up to 8% in savings. But that value could be significantly higher with expert-guided help in managing invoicing and payment. Freight bill auditing service providers help shippers determine the cost of shipping services and what to pay for those services.
Freight audit providers and consultants at Intelligent Audit help companies of all sizes to:
The list is endless! , Shippers need to understand how working with an auditing service that provides advisors is much more valuable than a tech-only offering. But first, let's take a closer look at what a freight audit is and how it forms only the first step toward maximum savings in data-driven freight management.
Freight auditing is a way to check invoices from freight carriers to make sure that all the charges are correct. As rates change, like those at USPS or new UPS fee structures for international shipments, the risk for errors increases. uditing catches those changes and keeps an accurate record to help save money. Freight auditing consultants help businesses get the best freight rates and make sure they are not overcharged for shipping services.
This is extremely valuable, especially for businesses that ship many packages, regardless of shipment dimensions.
A dedicated account manager is a valuable resource for companies that perform their own freight audits or those using software to get the basics of freight audit data compiled. In the same way that you would not attempt to manage all your parts and labor on a new vehicle yourself, an outside auditor can help offer valuable insight into potential savings opportunities.
To get the most value from freight audits, it is important to have a dedicated account manager who helps put the insights gleaned from the audits into practice. This account manager should be someone who has a deep understanding of your business and is vested in helping you save money on your freight costs. With a dedicated freight audit provider account manager in place, you can be sure that you're getting the most out of your freight audit program with truly actionable analytics insights.
For example, Inbound Logistics reported that freight audits resulted in 12-16% savings in 2019. So why the difference between GlobalTranz and Inbound Logistics data?
The answer rests in knowing more about what's happening and using that information to make informed decisions. Thus, working with a dedicated account manager can make a world of difference — literally doubling savings from what some might experience. And those savings could scale as freight management grows more troublesome and detailed.
A dedicated account manager for freight audits is a real asset to your company, especially as the complexity of freight continues to grow. But many companies don't realize what they're missing out on without having a dedicated account manager for their freight audit program. This dedicated person can do more than help you create a plan for cost savings — he or she can help you clearly communicate the plan to your team, put processes in place that will continue to save money into the future, and provide ongoing verification of those results. Meanwhile, advisors can help you understand the causes of anomalies and what to do about them.
Many companies want to improve their freight audit program but the importance of having an account manager solely devoted to freight audits. Each department might have one or more dedicated account managers, but freight audit is just one of many tasks on their plate.
When you have dedicated account managers from your freight audit provider embedded in your organization, they understand the company's business needs. They can help create plans that will be sustainable in perpetuity. This is why people matter most to generate a stronger ROI of freight audit software. In turn, shippers realize the benefits of increased shipment throughput, including:
A freight audit advisor is a god-send for shippers that need to rapidly identify and do something about loss leaders. Loss leaders are items the freight carrier has priced significantly lower than they usually would. They will use this loss leader to get you (the shipper) to act on the problem, and then rebalance your strategic goals across your transportation network.
For example, freight carriers may offer a price that is too good to be true, especially during periods of high volatility, such asthe holiday shipping season.
Freight audit advisors specialize in auditing your different business relationships (carrier, 3PL, or warehouses, among others) to ensure that you are charged correctly, regardless of season. They also help to ensure your team can maintain consistency in all operations.
A consistent process ensures that charges are neither underlisted nor inflated. Account managers achieve this because they know what the correct charges should be. It also ensures that your network partners are not double-billing for the same freight or undercharging, lowering transport spend along the way.
Ensuring that the payment postings are correct when audit advisors go into an accounting system will also effectively avoid double entries in a general ledger (GL). Remember that such issues will cause errors further down the line when it is time to close the books at year-end but working with an expert reduces that risk. Yet, the hustle and bustle can lead to multiple mistakes for thousands of shipments. Now, suppose the systems are correctly integrated and capable of recognizing these anomalies in data early. In that case, it's easier to turn that fact into a positive change in your freight management strategy. Then, correcting those anomalies reduces shipping costs in 2022 and beyond.
For instance, ongoing issues and errors may indicate a higher anomaly rate for a given carrier. A freight audit advisor can use that information to reset expectations with a carrier or perhaps attempt to get a reimbursement from the carrier for their shortcomings. Regardless, the key is to see these issues and do something about them.
One of the most important aspects of freight payments is ensuring a high degree of traceability of freight activity and spend,, common in any list of e-commerce best practices. This traceability allows for clear visibility into the entire process, from when the goods are picked up to when they are delivered. With a freight auditor provider's insight, this visibility can help resolve disputes that may arise and ensure that all payments are handled on time and accurately.
Freight carrier auditing should be an important part of any transportation management system, and it also plays a role in compliance. Noncompliance to regulatory and contractual provisions can result in fines, penalties, and adverse publicity. The FMCSA holds freight carriers accountable for their errors and requires them to pay reparations for freight damages or underpayments related to those damages. Under this responsibility, the FMCSA monitors the performance of motor carriers through audits conducted by both federal agents and freight audit companies who specialize in motor carrier audits. That same data applies to your overall freight strategy.
Now, remember that a significant source of freight payment mistakes is improper invoicing and weight declarations by truckers and 3PLs (third-party logistics). Carriers bill customers based not only on shipment quantity but also cargo weight, can result in overcharges if incorrect. When shipments are not weighed at pick up but simply estimated by the driver or 3PL, there is an increased risk of invoice mistakes.
Often, carriers will use equipment such as portable scales to measure weights and adjust their billed rates accordingly. But there is another problem in this operation; that equipment may lead to variances in data. They can lead to inaccuracies due to road vibrations and high traffic volume. Working with freight bill auditing services helps to identify these problems, what caused them, and how to avoid them in the future.
Another common source of freight payment errors is an incorrect application of fuel surcharge rates, particularly when carriers do not have standard rate agreements with shippers/receivers or the shipment length spans multiple rate zones. E-logs provide detailed records of previous deliveries made by a carrier; however, carriers often make manual adjustments to these logs. Fortunately, automation in e-logs is increasing and reducing the risk, but overarching supply chain trends indicate that errors will still happen.
Any 3PL partnership comes with risks that arise from limited oversight, loss of control over operations, inability to know what freight is moving, limited transparency into cost structures with carriers, and other factors. These risks are significant issues. When you cannot oversee all aspects of the process, it can be difficult to maintain quality control and ensure that your goods are moving safely and securely. Additionally, it can be hard to get an accurate view of what's happening with your freight when working with a third party, making it difficult to keep track of costs and identify inefficiencies.
But working with an advisor can help to make this process more seamless. Since a quality freight audit platform is based on integrated systems, the chances are good that an expert can help you truly benchmark your rates, regardless of whether their compared to major carriers or independent 3PLs. Freight audit metrics will also give you greater insight into your freight spend through core key performance indicators and actionable insights.
An experienced provider has many resources, including tech and experience, at their fingertips. The use of those resources gives rise to more visibility into cost structures with carriers across various lanes and industry classifications. This level of oversight is exactly what shippers need to successfully navigate the constantly changing world of supply chain management.
Errors can cost companies millions of dollars each year, and the most common mistake is using the wrong freight carrier for an order. However, the demand for more means the errors go overlooked until it is time to pay an invoice.
Another common error is not including the correct hazardous materials information on a shipment's paperwork. When this happens, it can be difficult or impossible to ship certain types of goods because they are too dangerous for transportation, leading to penalties or fines if authorities discover them.
Expert freight auditors use the data that they collect to identify poorly performing freight carriers and their 3PL partners. This information can help businesses keep costs in check and ensure they are getting the best possible rates from their freight carriers. In addition, freight auditing consultants can help businesses understand and avoid surcharges.
Freight audit advisors are a valuable resource for shippers of all sizes, especially those with larger and more diverse transportation networks. Here are a few ways a freight audit advisor also helps shippers thrive through disruption and market change.
With so many different freight options and prices, it can be difficult to determine which is best for your company's needs. Freight audit advisors help with this by taking over the task of researching the market and making recommendations based on what they find.
For example, as the industry starts to see the total landed costs following parcel general rate increases across all carriers for early 2022, having an outside view is critical. This relieves companies from spending time and resources doing their own research and lowers risk of making an arbitrary, assumption about which service level is right for each shipment.
Freight audit advisors are well-versed in the transportation industry, so it's important to be specific with your needs and requests.
DIgital systems have created a much more effective means of engaging with advisors. Yes, you can speak with them over the phone or via online video conferencing, so there is no traveling involved on either side. However, the whole process can occur with minimal interaction and be used to tailor your shipping strategy at any time.
This leaves you free to attend to other obligations without being tied down to a meeting that doesn't take into consideration all your company's needs. The goal of a freight audit advisor is always to find solutions that work best for everyone involved, including your company, customers, and employees who will be transporting the product.
Once customers have had their freight bills looked over by a freight auditing consultant, they will be able to know how much money they need to save for the freight audit services to pay for themselves. Shippers can ensure they get the best possible rates from their carriers based on data from automated auditing processes.
Consider this. Freight audit consultants will regularly check rates for your freight shipments to ensure that the carriers are not trying to bill you above average market prices. Second, freight audit advisors will study freight invoice data metrics across both forward and reverse logistics cost management to see what opportunities exist. In turn, they then use that information to create recommendations based on data to reduce landed spend and avoid waste.
An expert freight auditor or a dedicated account manager can help validate the findings of an automated audit. An embedded account management auditor continues to improve your freight billing process by identifying discrepancies between invoices and freight bills.
Freight carriers have been known to send inaccurate freight invoices and freight bills to their customers in many more cases than believed.
The changes aren't malicious, but errors inevitably result in higher costs. In turn, freight customers have been known to lose money because they were not receiving accurate freight invoices from carriers. Even if the costs were higher, there could be errors within the GL. Such errors could also result in additional problems managing inventory or planning distribution. Ultimately, errors that do not add to current costs have the potential to increase costs down the line. Protecting the bottom line must begin with a high-quality audit, an expert to help you make sense of data-driven insights, and a plan for driving errors and added costs into retreat.
Freight audit assistance can help save your business money on shipping costs by helping you identify loss leaders to better negotiate freight rates, avoid high-cost markets, and ensure all insights derived from your FBAP solution are put to work in the best fashion possible. Expert guidance from a freight audit software expert at Intelligent Audit also ensures that you are getting getting the most from your integrated, automated auditing platform.
Freight invoice errors will always happen, and they're going to keep getting worse. Even if customers and carriers both do their best to provide accurate invoices and information, there is always going to be human error. Some customers may not understand the rates they are being charged for freight shipments, while some carriers simply do not know how much money a particular load is worth.Regardless, a freight audit allows you to know exactly what's going right and wrong in your network. However, your team may simply lack the time and resources to act on that information. That's where working with an expert advisor and account manager can help your team. Connect with Intelligent Audit to get started today.
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