4 Ways To Optimize Freight Bill Administration & ReportingWritten by Paul Forand
How much are you spending per quarter on your freight billing administration and reporting systems?
Do you know? If not, there are a lot of companies in the same situation. A growing business that's still using paper-based shipping processes from the 90’s or 2000’s is creating a lot of headaches for themselves... and not the least being that they usually don't even know how much all that paper work costs!
"A modernized freight billing administration system" might not set hearts beating at a boardroom meeting, but there are few investments that could yield more long-term benefits for a company that's transforming itself along with evolving technology.
Shipping touches every area of your business, and processes as simple as ordering office pens can be optimized to yield lower costs, quarter after quarter. Additionally, modernized freight billing systems can be highly beneficial to your customers as well. You could potentially make freight as simple and transparent for your clients as an Amazon order.
If an upgrade can save you money while simultaneously bringing better service to customers, it's hard to argue against.
Four Ways To Optimize Your Freight Bill Administration
1. Electronic Data Interchange
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) reports are extremely common in the transportation industry, and they allow for rapid shipment information flow with a high degree of transparency. There are multiple EDI reporting options, including shipment status, rating and billing, and these can all be tailored to suit your particular need or application at virtually any point in your system, from front end ecommerce shopping carts to back end office accounting software.
For example, through EDI linkage freight quotes can be obtained within your accounting software, making shipment billing and rating information readily available at all times to your accounting staff.
2. Custom Data Files
Custom data files can be used when shippers need certain shipment information presented in a specific format for both internal and/or external use. These files are normally pushed to shippers through emails, and are typically received or sent at regular intervals. Depending on the carrier, the files can be provided monthly, weekly and sometimes even daily. Some may also make the files available for shippers to download online.
For example, a weekly shipment summary report sorted by location may be useful for an accounting department to help them allocate weekly freight charges to each corresponding location’s general ledger account.
3. Document Imaging Systems
Some carriers offer online access to scanned images of shipment documents, including copies of bills of lading, delivery receipts and even weight & inspection documents. A copy of a delivery receipt would allow you to see who signed for a shipment should there be a problem, or it may simply serve as proof that a shipment has been delivered. You don't get all the benefits of EDI, but it's an affordable compromise in many situations.
4. Leverage Your Accounting Software
Most financial software packages can be used to provide detailed reporting on freight costs. Creating a general ledger structure in your accounting package can allow for highly detailed shipping data that can be used in ways very similar to shipment EDI information.
Looking For More Advice?
Modernizing shipping services can be a daunting task. For more perspective on your options, just contact ReTrans Freight with any questions you might have. As one of the top 3PLs in the country, we have the technology and the experience to revolutionize your shipping processes.