Advantages of Freight Bill AdministrationWritten by Neal Willis
What is Freight Bill Administration?
Freight bill administration is the consolidation and handling of all the freight
billing in one place for all carriers, which enables total visibility and control of
all freight related activity.
Beyond the freight payment service to the carriers, when you employ a freight bill administration service you can benefit from: 1) Financial Cost Savings, 2) Time & Process Efficiency Enhancements, 3) Analysis, Reporting, & Monitoring Capabilities, and 4) Enhanced Customer Service.
Financial Cost Savings
- Most freight carriers issue a bill immediately after each and every shipment is processed. They do not mail invoices weekly, which means you could be receiving freight bills every day for which payment will typically be due within 15 days of receipt of the bill. A freight payment and audit service acts as an intermediary between the carrier and the shipper to receive and process your freight bills. They will consolidate these bills, usually on a weekly basis, and send them over to you at one time, which allows for a more controlled environment when it comes to handing the payables.
- A freight payment service usually has extended terms with the carriers, so instead of Net 15 days, your payment terms can be stretched to Net 30 days, and sometimes even longer, allowing you to hang on to your money longer.
- A freight bill administration service can also afford a shipper the opportunity to take advantage of payment consolidation, which translates into the shipper being able to cut one check or wire transfer for disbursement to all carriers for all weekly invoices in lieu of multiple checks and multiple transfers. This reduces costs by cutting down the time needed for writing and mailing numerous checks and making numerous ACH or money transfers.
- Additionally, savings on individual freight bills are captured when the service detects any errors where rates were applied improperly or where a particular service was requested but not performed. Chances are the person in your AP department who is looking over freight invoices isn’t as seasoned at spotting errors in freight billing as an auditor with a freight payment service. A reputable freight bill administration service has auditors who are trained to catch costly billing errors, and they will check each individual bill for accuracy to ensure the proper discounts, base rates, fuel surcharges, accessorial charges, etc. are applied to every bill.
Time & Process Efficiency Enhancements
- Paying individual freight bills as they are received can get confusing and, if you are using multiple carriers, it can be a real nightmare to keep up with. A freight bill payment and audit service will electronically consolidate all of the data from every carrier invoice in one easily accessible place. This means that you can go to one central location for multiple document images, such as delivery receipts and bills of lading, rather than having to go to multiple carrier websites for this information.
- In addition to making information more easily accessible and less prone to errors, the freight payment service normally has an extensive network of carrier contacts they have worked with for years, so they are able to escalate issues and resolve any disputes much faster than most companies can do on their own. Simply put, they know who to go to when a problem arises and get it resolved quickly.
Analysis, Reporting, & Monitoring Capabilities
- Centralized documentation means you have numerous analytical capabilities at your fingertips. You can run historical reports for analysis and trend spotting with regards to opportunities and weaknesses, perform a benchmarking analysis, and use historical data as leverage when it’s s time for carrier negotiations. Consolidated reporting gives you complete visibility of your operations, which can give you valuable insight and forecasting abilities.
Customer Service Enhancements
- With a freight bill administration service, a shipper has the ability to quickly pinpoint and access information for themselves and their customers. You can easily provide rates, historical service and financial data, and you can sort that information however you need it - by specific lanes, customers, time periods, etc. The possibilities are almost endless. You can pull the reports you need and/or have them pushed to you via email electronically on a set schedule. For example, damages may seem to be out of control but, in reality, the problem might lie with one particular carrier terminal. With consolidated data, that terminal bottleneck can be more easily identified, allowing you to more quickly address the problem before it gets out of control. Without consolidated data, putting the pieces together to figure this out might be really difficult.
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