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Surprisingly, invoices are still largely processed by hand in the ocean shipping sector. Considered the most tedious and costly step in the shipping process, manual invoicing can take days to complete and is often riddled with disputes and errors. And the amount of time it takes to manage disputes is more than anyone is comfortable admitting - knowing each delayed payment impacts carrier cash flow and creates dissatisfied shipping customers.
With electronic invoicing, there is a potential 50-percent to 80-percent cost savings, according to the E-Invoicing/E-Billing 2012 Report from the international e-billing firm, Billentis. In addition, the payment process is significantly shortened with days sales outstanding typically decreasing by up to 10 days. Error rates are also greatly reduced, and customer satisfaction increased.
Although e-invoicing as a trend has picked up rapidly in government and commercial sectors in the past three years (growing at a rate of 20 percent last year, according to the Billentis report), many in the ocean shipping sector are just catching wind of the benefits. Popularity among players is expected to grow this year - both on the biller and payer sides.
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Keywords: value chain IT, supply chain solutions, e-billing, e-payments, Billentis, electronic payment systems
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