What do Freight Audit Services Providers do for Shippers?

It’s easy to minimize the importance of freight audits and relegate them to a tedious task for team members to take care of by hand when they can get to them. But that way of thinking about freight audits is a wasted opportunity for shippers. In actuality, freight audits can include a significant number of mistakes, so they're worth double-checking for any freight billing discrepancies. In addition, they hold a wealth of information that can be used to reduce transportation spend and create smarter shipping.

Freight audit service providers can take over the auditing process and utilize technology to provide intelligent insights based on the data gleaned from these audits. Freight audit services become a continuous process to provide real-time insights that are data-backed and actionable. Shippers gain benefits ranging from real-time visibility of parcel shipments to identifying  anomalous spend spikes.

Beyond Freight Audit, Pay, and Recovery: The Evolution from Saving on Transportation Spend to Smarter Shipping

Looking for ways to save on transportation spend is an integral part of shipping, yet the focus shouldn’t only be on cutting costs. This step won’t work on its own when it’s not also combined with strategies for shipping items quickly, consistently, and at the highest quality. That’s why the focus should shift to smarter shipping, which allows you to ship effectively while also saving money wherever possible.

Freight auditing services are crucial to giving shippers the power to gather data and transform it into powerful business insights. These insights help shippers make smarter decisions supported by data and can be used to optimize shipping. This is why it’s essential to prioritize audit,continually carry them out,use their data, and utilize technology to collect and track everything in real-time. Not only can you optimize shipping with real-time auditing, but you can also identify and address problems right away before they worsen.

What Is Included in Freight Audit Services?

Freight auditing may seem like a task that can be given to a team member to take care of from time to time among other duties. However,handing off freight auditing to a provider, such as Intelligent Audit, makes a lot of sense because of the many additional services, support and expertise they  provide beyond periodic data entry.

Catching Mistakes and Anomalies

It’s essential to check invoices through audits because carrier invoices commonly hold mistakes. They often include errors like duplicate invoices, accessorial charges, incorrect shipment weight, and other problems. If these invoices are not checked consistently and thoroughly, it’s easy to miss these problems and simply pay unnecessary charges. Even if you do catch the mistakes, you may not catch them in time to file a claim and recover the discrepancy amount. Carriers often have short windows for submitting claims, so it’s easy to miss the problem until it’s too late. Different studies show companies reporting anywhere from 3% to 25% of their invoices containing errors that resulted in profit loss. According to Redwood Logistics, “In addition to the error correction savings, freight auditing can also help your bottom line by cutting labor costs. The average cost of labor to verify, process and pay an internal freight invoice is $11. But outsourcing this activity is only approximately 5 to 10% of that internal cost.”

Quickly Finding and Solving Problems

Freight audit solutions can automate the process of identifying issues from freight invoices. Through technology, providers can continuously collect and analyze data from invoices, and machine learning  catch anomalies in real-time from massive amounts of relevant data.

Intelligent Audit’s services track invoice data to automatically catch overspend. Machine learning technology identifies discrepancies that shippers should not be paying for. You quickly know the exact problem to address, whereas it may have taken significant resources to determine the problem on your own. You may not have even realized there was a problem for some time. By catching the problem right away, you can address it before it gets out of control, which prevents significant overspend.

Maximizing Resources

It’s extremely difficult, time-consuming, and human-error prone for team members to keep up with large numbers of invoices, and people simply cannot achieve catching invoice anomalies, particularly at scale, as some companies sift through thousands of invoices per week,  to the degree that artificial intelligence can. The larger your shipping operations, the more important it is to turn over freight audits to technology, which providers can manage for you.

. Instead of dealing with having to hire and train a whole team on invoice auditing,  a service provider will give you all the support you need with the technology and expertise in this area. Another added benefit will be it allows your employees to focus on their strengths and assignments E while auditing is given the proper attention necessary to be done well..

Expert Support

Providers accomplish the following:

  • Augment and provide technology to optimize the freight audit process.
  • Provide actionable insights and manageable data so you can have better visibility. 
  • Provide immediate recovery solutions in response to problems found.

Help with Recovery

The data and insights gathered give you the necessary information to solve the problem. Sometimes, you may need to address a mistake with the carrier. In other cases, you’ll have the information to help you compare carriers to find the best rates. You’ll see when you’re spending unnecessary fees, such as on a certain carrier or service, and may be able to make a switch to save money. There may not always be a mistake, but you may find the data needed to uncover important savings and cut operating costs overall.

It becomes easy to identify problems, submit claims, and recover cost discrepancies when you rely on Intelligent Audit’s freight audit and recovery solutions. Catching issues in real-time simplifies the process of submitting claims within the designated window and recovering any lost money. If a claims process is not the right way to address a specific situation, you can take a different action, such as switching carriers or broadening your carrier network.

Smarter Shipping

Not only can you work toward the goal of reducing spend, but you can also use freight audits to create smarter shipping. Intelligent Audit’s services can provide insights and guidance to help you find better strategies for shipping optimization, create better internal business processes, and strengthen your shipping network and the relationships within it. Our industry knowledge and  technology use help find opportunities that improve shipping and business operations.

Intelligent Audit provides a thorough audit of more than 150 data points. These include:

  • Dimensional rates
  • Residential surcharges
  • Duplicate billing
  • Lost packages
  • Damaged packages
  • Other service points

The Freight Invoice Audit Process

This is what you can expect as part of a freight audit process:

  • Collect invoices.
  • Enter the data from the invoices into a spreadsheet or auditing software.
  • Carry out a freight invoice audit that includes checking for errors, matching the invoice to the contract, and looking for inefficiencies that can be improved going forward.
  • Submit claims forms when applicable, according to the situation and the carrier.

This process is manageable when you have a limited number of invoices, although it still takes time and resources. As the number of invoices and the complexity grows, it becomes more challenging to carry out these numerous steps. You have a large number of invoices to check, and it becomes easy to become complacent or make human errors. Once the number of invoices becomes too large, it’s impossible for people to keep up with them, not to mention the amount of data they include.

It’s also difficult for a person to predictpatterns within the data and compare across various carriers, contracts, and shipping services. These are steps that freight audit service providers like Intelligent Audit can manage. We use technology to support our processes of continually collecting data, analyzing it, and finding helpful insights.

What Else Does a Freight Audit Service Provider Offer Shippers?

Through Intelligent Audit's auditing and recovery services, you gain these important benefits: 

Machine Learning

A freight audit service provider can give you access to the high-tech capability of machine learning. In particular to auditing, this technology provides anomaly detection. Rather than relying on people going over invoices and data by hand when they get the chance, machine learning can constantly watch the data from a variety of sources and notice anomalies when they occur. This process works much faster and better than people and allows people to focus more on their other work and less on the tedium of data. It can also provide anomaly detection in real-time, allowing for quick solutions.

 In contrast, people are likely to find the problem much later and then take time to understand the source of the problem fully. Anomalies in shipping contribute to unnecessary spend and stand in the way of shipping optimization. Machine learning quickly identifies data that seems abnormal or a problem in some way, allowing the human team to review it and determine if they need to take action.

What kinds of anomalies does machine learning find in shipping? This technology locates these kinds of shipping issues:

  • Excess shipping fees
  • Surprise charges
  • Detention fees
  • New accessorial fees
  • Invoice or data-entry mistakes

Machine learning identifies an anomaly, and then the team can determine whether it is really a problem and, if so, the best way to solve it. Sometimes, the company simply needs to adapt to an unexpected fee. In other cases, a mistake, such as a costly typo, must be addressed before it snowballs into a huge problem.

Real-Time Freight Spend Visibility

You can gain increased visibility into freight spend as it’s happening, which allows you to catch mistakes or make changes as needed. Poor visibility is a roadblock to optimized shipping and instead creates problems like high costs. Better freight visibility allows shippers to deal with anomalies in real time, find the best carrier and service for each load, and so on. Good visibility will enable shippers to manage the many working parts of logistics. Freight audit service providers can offer visibility into freight spend, so shippers have a clearer idea of the best carriers and shipping options, can fix inefficiencies and problems, and can set up ideal contracts.

Business Intelligence

The data and insights that audits can provide help shippers make better business decisions. A freight audit service provider collects relevant data and turns it into actionable insights for shippers. Rather than see audits as a pain or an afterthought, shippers can continuously use their data to make informed business decisions that improve shipping and operations as a whole.

Real-Time Shipment Visibility for Better Exception Management

In addition to freight spend visibility, audit services provide improved shipment visibility. Shippers can better manage exceptions and gain a host of benefits, like having data to prove claims, being proactive about issues, and offering real-time information to customers to create a better experience. Freight audit service providers can track shipments live and normalize data on exceptions to provide helpful insights for shippers to move to proactive management by exception.

Loss and Damage Claims

Shippers can file claims with the carrier when a package is damaged or lost. In these circumstances, you need to file a carrier claim within a designated window that varies by the type of claim and the carrier. Technology and professional auditing services make it easier to catch problems and file claims as soon as possible, increasing the likelihood of a favorable response. In addition, freight claim data can be included in audits to provide insights into patterns with specific carriers and other problems.

Logistics Network Optimization

Freight audits provide crucial information that shippers can use to optimize their network. The data collected can be insights into the best carriers, services, availability, and prices for each shipment. Freight audit services can collect a vast amount of data and normalize it to compare carriers even when carriers have incompatible fees, services, and charges. The information and insights gained allow shippers to create an effective logistics network.

Guidance and Account Management on Industry GRIs, Surcharges, and Other Market Changes

A good freight audit service provider keeps up with the industry and can provide information on changes to carrier GRIs and surcharges. Through account management, they can offer customized advice on which changes impact you and how. In addition, they can use ongoing freight audits to catch surcharge changes that are already occurring and provide insights and guidance on adapting to those changes or making changes to counteract them.

Prioritize Freight Audits With the Support of Providers

With the support of technology, freight audits bring together valuable shipping data that can guide shippers toward reducing spend and creating smarter shipping. Intelligent Audit uses processes and technology to keep up with your freight data in real-time and uses that data to develop actionable insights toward critical business decisions. Learn more about how our freight audit services work.

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