Parcel shipping makes up a major portion of the total transportation and shipping industry, and the volume of parcel invoices coming into even small shippers can be overwhelming. In addition, parcel shipping can be a cost center filled with instances of double billing, inaccuracies, and problems. As a result, shippers need a dedicated way to ensure this multitude of invoices is correct, but creating and managing an in-house parcel invoice auditing team can be complicated at best.
Up to 50 percent of shippers opt to work with an outside vendor for parcel shipment auditing, reports Parcel Magazine. Outside auditing vendors leverage the power of modern technology to optimize the adulting process. This only represents a fraction of how auditing software can improve your bottom line, so you need to understand why it is paramount in your logistics technology stack.
Problems With Manual and Internal Parcel Invoice Auditing.
Manual parcel invoice auditing needs additional, internal auditing too. Traditional auditing by workers is simply unrealistic with the volume of today’s parcels. Moreover, a single approach to auditing countless invoices increases the risk of errors in the process. Did someone overlook something, and if not, how does the process handle refund requests and ensure compliance with expectations, like overnight and on-time delivery. This is where parcel shipping auditing software from an accredited vendor, like Cerasis, comes into play.
Cerasis Small Package Auditing service can check past packages for late delivery, incorrect manifests, verification of addresses, validation of addresses, weekend pickup and delivery, dimensional weight costs, duplicate billing, lost packages and much more, which go back to its primary processes and benefits.
Gain Control Small Package Process Through Metrics, KPIs and Enhanced Accounting Features.
Parcel auditing gives shippers control over small package processes by putting relevant data together to define metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and advanced accounting features. In other words, the auditing process becomes data-based, letting shippers focus on shipping, not auditing.
Auditing Software Increases Visibility, Allowing for Real-Time Corrections.
Another benefit of parcel invoice auditing software lies in its benefits to shipping visibility. Knowing where a parcel is located is tantamount to keeping or losing customers. In addition, customers will not look favorably upon delays caused by incorrect labeling or shipping data. Fortunately, auditing software can recognize these issues and make real-time corrections. As a result, delays are reduced, and the level of customer service increases.
Embedded Resources Increase the Professionalism and Experience of Your Team.
Speaking of better customer service, adding more experience to your team naturally contributes to better levels or tiers of customer service. Working with a third party logistics provider (3PL), like Cerasis, for auditing needs puts the power of an auditing team to work in improving the accuracy and timeliness of your shipments. While the carrier has the responsibility in getting packages to customers, auditing services can ensure your carrier is meeting those responsibilities, including keeping shipping costs down.
Auditing Software Providers Work Directly With Carriers to Ensure Maximum Compliance, Sending Reports to You.
Auditing software and service provides also work directly with carriers to ensure compliance. This is achieved through a series of sending and delivery reports that reflect weekly, if not daily, compliance and delivery data. In addition, auditing software and services that work directly with carriers mean less time spent chasing refunds. The auditor processes the refund request or claim for the package, and the carrier sends the refund directly to your company.
Carrier Invoice Reports and Summaries Increase Budget Accountability.
Carrier invoice can be extremely complicated and may contain inaccuracies in billing. While some billing practices, like prepaid shipping, can help eliminate billing inaccuracies, parcel invoice auditing is the only way to ensure invoices are fully reviewed and tracked for accuracy. More importantly, reporting on carrier invoice issues can help identify problematic trends among carriers. For instance, shippers working with regional carriers may expose a problem with the carrier’s EDI or API system, after multiple incidents of double billing are found. Of course, exceptions and corrections should also be tracked in tandem. This prevents auditing systems from incorrectly requesting a refund on a shipment that meets exception criteria. Shippers should also need to know the number and frequency of corrections made. This will help prevent other problems in the future. This results in shippers having better control over their budgets and shipping expenses.
3PL Billing Report Ensures Visibility Between 3PL and Partnering Shippers.
3PL costs are not excluded from auditing either. All 3PLs that a shipper works with should be monitored and tracked for costs, services and returns. While it may seem to overlap the purpose of 3PL-based auditing services, this benefit encourages the continuation of auditing in your company and additional cost savings. Furthermore, it increases the level of visibility within your operation.
Quarterly KPI Reports Reduce “Bookkeeping” Work.
Auditing software can be leveraged to reduce the labor and material costs incurred in bookkeeping too. This is especially important for shippers involved in international trade.
For example, bills of lading and importer/exporter of record information for international shipments must be kept for a set period, typically five years. Auditing systems can track this information, as well as problems that occur during the import and export process on behalf of carriers. Therefore, shippers can adjust carrier selection as necessary to save the most money.
A Multi-Step Approach Creates Redundancy.
One of the last pieces of the puzzle in parcel invoice auditing software is redundancy. The system should have the capacity to check and recheck its own work. This is comparable to the three-pronged auditing approach used by in Cerasis Small Package Auditing Services to prevent invoices or details from slipping through the proverbial cracks. Shippers using a multi-pronged auditing service tend to see higher savings as well, explains Chris Lewis of Inbound Logistics, up to 10-percent higher than when using single-approach auditing or an internal auditing program. Furthermore, your auditing provider should take other steps to ensure you are kept in the loop, like follow-up discussions through email and phone.
Auditing Software Can Review Past Transactions Too.
Auditing software can even do more for shippers than just auditing transactions going forward. Some software providers audit time tables before start date, finding additional savings. Shippers should consider back-auditing service offered by potential auditing software and providers. For example, Cerasis goes back 180 days to find additional savings, which may have been overlooked by your company’s previous auditing service or software.
The Big Picture.
As parcel shipping grows, the need for intense parcel invoice auditing programs will increase. Paired with the changing world of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping in conjunction with use of parcel shipping, auditing becomes even more important. Parcel shipping auditing software is essential to keeping your shipping costs down and encourages repeat purchases and shopping trips by consumers. If you lack parcel auditing, you are leaving money on the table.