Transportation Payment Trends Part 1: Technology

Being the best in your business means constantly staying on top trends. At Trans International, we make a point of consuming all of the industry research we can get our hands on, so that we can serve as knowledgeable advisors for our customers. This blog post is the first of what will be a three-post series inspired by a study we recently received from American Shipper.

American Shipper’s Transportation Payment Benchmark Study surveyed nearly 190 payers (shippers and 3PLs) to provide insight on trends in freight payment technology, auditing and strategy. We’ll share highlights from the study on each of these topics in the coming weeks, starting with freight payment technology.

Below are some of the survey’s most interesting findings about trends in freight payment technology:

  • The Finding: More than a quarter of customers don’t use any technology to pay freight bills.
    What It Means: A fair amount of shippers are not comfortable using an automated payment system, or have not found one that fits their needs and budget.
  • The Finding: When dealing with international payment, large shippers are twice as likely to handle it manually, where as small and medium shippers are 50% more likely.
    What It Means: Automated freight payment platforms are more available domestically and many companies are likely expecting the platforms they currently use to extend their services internationally.
  • The Finding: About 40% of domestic payment and 25% of international payment is outsourced.
    What It Means: With a large amount of payment being outsourced, companies need the ability to monitor transactions to a higher degree to ensure accuracy.
  • The Finding: The number of respondents using one freight payment system for all of their needs was lower this year than last.
    What It Means: Companies are becoming more interested in using payment systems for a variety of specific needs, but are struggling to find one system that fits them all.
  • The Finding: More than three times as many systems-based respondents are planning to extend payment terms this year over last.
    What It Means: Using an automated shipping process provides respondents with the free time to fully analyze their own strategies and tactics, such as payment terms.

Overall, this data told us that today’s shippers are looking for payment systems that are very user-friendly and offer international services, customizability, and an easy way to monitor transactions. All of these components are currently included in Trans International’s Freight Bill Payment options and software products, meaning we offer all of today’s most-desirable payment services through one provider.

This is something we’re very proud of, but it’s not enough to just be on top of the trends – system providers need to be able to fulfill your specific needs, too.

That’s why we want to know: Is there any technology you’d like to see from an automated shipping payment system that wasn’t on this list? Tell us in a comment below or contact us directly and we’ll do whatever we can to provide the system you’re looking for.

Why Should Freight Audit Be On Your Radar?

Paying a freight invoice without auditing it is a lot like blindly reaching into your wallet and handing a cashier everything you have in there without counting it.  Now, you wouldn’t do that would you?  No, you wouldn’t; that is why freight audit should be on your radar. Including freight bill auditing in your business model can recover anywhere from 10-12% of your annual transportation spend initially and 3-5% for long-term annual savings.

There are, of course, options for freight audit providers. Some businesses choose to audit their freight bills themselves, either manually or by using an electronic system. Others see the benefit of outsourcing their freight bills, cutting costs and saving time.

To help visual the cost differences of each auditing choice, here are the costs of processing bills as of 2012, according to American Shipper:

Domestic International
Average Shipper $6.97 $7.44
Outsourced $3.38 $4.39
In-house Systems $5.07 $6.47
In-house Manual $14.17 $15.26

As shown by the data above, the lowest cost option, for both Domestic and International invoices, is to outsource your freight payment process to companies that make Freight Audit their business. By outsourcing your freight bills you will be cutting head counts and spending substantially less while gaining a lighter workload.

TI offers multiple payment models, so that clients can choose the option best suited for their business.  We offer a “no float” option for the less risk tolerant but have maintained our float pricing option for clients looking to keep costs down.  With 6 different types of processing structures, the client has the opportunity to completely tailor their experience to fit their business model.  Trans International makes it our business to save your business time and money while still giving the process a customized feel.  When you pass off your freight bills, your business is still a part of the auditing process, sans the responsibility of doing the actual auditing.  We don’t want to leave you in the dust, we want to take you along for the ride, keeping you informed every step of the way.

Not only do our Freight Audit and Information Reporting (FAIR) services save you time and money, we also use the data from your freight invoices to create robust, ERP compatible reports so you can track and optimize your freight spend.  Your data is immediately available throughout our entire audit process.  Transparency is as important to us as it is to you.

Here are a few points to summarize why freight audit/Trans International should be on your radar:

  • Pre-audit saves you from issues with overcharges and duplicate payments, an audit will ensure you pay only what you owe.
  • We also recommend going further than just freight audit, we recommend outsourcing your freight bill processing to Trans International.  We have zero ulterior motives when handling your data and money.  Our goals are to save you money, time, and to keep you informed.
  • Using the services provided by Trans International, your company can expect a 3% to 5% recovery of your total transportation spend annually.  That’s cash back in the bank that you would not have had you not partnered with us.
  • In the last year, we saved our clients a combined $15.5 million.

Freight Audit is not a “should”, it is a “must”.  It is a time and money saver.  Freight Audit should be on your radar.