Reducing costs and balancing cost with service are always at the top of business agendas. Increasingly, companies are focusing on visibility as a means to achieve these goals, says Erickson, global transportation product director for Syncada, a Visa company.
"Visibility is the key word these days with shippers" in many areas, including transportation spend, he says. Research shows why: only 36 percent of companies have centralized, integrated spend data "so the rest are scrambling to get that information from business units across the world," he says. "Then they have to try and quickly assemble that data to support strategic business decisions."
What is needed is a freight payment and audit solution that consolidates all the relevant information from disparate systems into one single view, says Erickson. "Silos are a problem in spend management just as they are in other aspects of the supply chain. Shippers are continuing to grow internationally and having data spread out in disparate locations prevents them from making decisions on a global basis. Having that single view is crucial."
Centralized data also enables greater analysis, says Erickson. "It is really about getting to business intelligence that is able to drive critical decisions," he says.
Miner, president of C.T. Logistics, a freight payment and auditing company, agrees. Analyzing transportation spend data enables shippers to understand trends and capabilities so they can better leverage their transportation partners, he says. He notes that C.T. Logistics has a product called C.T. Lion that is an intelligence optimization network. "We delivered this to one large client, who was able to take all of their partner capabilities, pricing and sourcing opportunities from the Far East to the U.S. and create a total solution at the lowest possible cost, combining multiple legs and multiple partners," he says.
These advantages are in addition to the direct benefits of comprehensive freight bill auditing. "A good freight payment provider will take any contract or tariff, put it into an intelligent data base and audit every transaction to the penny," says Miner. "The client will always pay what he owes and nothing more; that is the bottom line for a freight audit and payment company."
If shippers try to handle freight bill audits internally they generally only spot check, says Erickson. "They just don't have the resources to audit each invoice," but to ensure fiduciary integrity the audit goal should be 100 percent of transactions, he says.
To view Rick Erickson's video in its entirety, click here
To view Allan Miner's video in its entirety, click here
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