Time in Business. There is something to be said for how long a company has been in business. It indicates there is a level of competence that the group you are talking with has been able to find its niche and do well with it over time. This should not be the highest ranked item, but worth noting. Under this heading, I would add that you should look for up and comers that are operating on the fringes that may have found a new mousetrap. Customer Service & Satisfaction. We would consider customer satisfaction and reputation with carriers in the industry as a top 5 category. You want to know that the company you are working with cares about your business and will be there both in the easy and difficult times. Reputation with Carriers. There are many companies in the freight invoice processing and settlement business that are notoriously difficult to work with and pay slowly because of this fact. We all know their names and you should make sure you learn them too because they will impact your ability to work with carriers and gain the freight capacity at the best price for your business. Audit Process. Not all companies audit bills the same, so request a demo and take the time to visit the company to ensure they are a good fit for your business requirements. Data Capture, Recording, Retention & Document Management. This is another area where not all freight settlement companies operate in the same manner or have the same retention policies, so don’t let yourself be surprised and ask the questions. Also, check with how you and others within your organization can access your data and documents. Funds Transfer. This is a big topic, as the freight audit and pay industry history is based on using a company’s float to make its money versus working on a transaction fee. The reason this is important
is any delay by your freight payment company is a direct reflection on your business and its standings within Dun & Bradstreet ratings structure. With that in mind, validate how long it takes for your payment to them to get to your carriers. Make sure you ask if they pay via check, ach or wire and see what drives their decision to use the various payment methods. Reporting & Analysis. What are the reporting capabilities? Freight payment data has so much more to offer than just reports on carrier payments and cost allocation, so ask questions on: • Ease of pulling data down in a form that can be used for analysis. • Are there capabilities to benchmark your exact freight lane information with other companies. • The benchmark should not be averages-of- averages, but actual lane information to help you validate your competitiveness in the market and help manage your next request for quote process (RFP). Incredible savings can be had by running this analysis monthly. • Can the data be worked through an optimizer that is supplied by the freight audit and pay company to review supply chain execution and strategy validation? Insource or Outsource? Does your company have the technology and expertise to manage the process internally, or will you either have to outsource the entire freight audit and pay process or bring in top tier audit software that would not only audit the invoice, but create them and send the customer bill instantly off the freight audit? The decision process will be different for everyone. The key is to do your due diligence and find the best fit for your company.
-Rick LaGore, co-founder and CEO of InTek Freight & Logistics
30 Inbound Logistics • June 2022
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