Inbound Logistics | September 2022

Savings In the Ba

expand, including fuel surcharges, high- cost delivery areas, and storage fees. “Carriers are nding more creative ways to add fees for services that historically might have been included in their rates,” he says. T IC O LR Labor shortages are also prompting more shippers to seek the services of freight bill audit and payment rms. “A lot of companies are short-handed and don’t have the staff to perform freight audit and payment in-house,” notes Tracy Meetre, chief commercial ofcer with logistics provider Sunset Transportation. The limited reinstatement of money- back guarantees for parcel carriers also impacted the freight bill market, as it required freight bill audit and payment (FBAP) providers to support new carrier transit times and revised service guide rules. “There has been a signicant drop in on-time performance among integrated carriers, and as a result an on-time delivery audit can result in signicant savings,” says George Kontoravdis, president of Fortigo, which optimizes and audits logistics decisions. As more companies ship via parcel and internationally, in addition to truckload and domestic shipments, they’re also looking for outsourced freight bill audit and payment services, says Allan J. Miner, president of CT Logistics, an FBAP provider. Another shift is the growing market prevalence of consumer and pharmaceutical companies. A YS I DN With freight bills growing increasingly expensive and complicated, shippers are seeking advanced analytics about their costs. “The settled freight bill is a single source of truth,” according to Jeff Carlson, vice president, global sales and marketing with Cass Information Systems, a provider of payment management solutions. Many shippers are trying to understand not only where cost

The freight bill audit and payment and transportation spend management sector continues to evolve and to provide technology, software, and services that extend beyond the traditional audit o‰ering.

increases have occurred, but also how they can rein in expenses and improve their supply chains. For example, they might assess whether sending a different type of truck to pick up their goods will help to reduce their costs in the rst place. Along with data to decipher what has already happened, shippers are seeking predictive analytics and “what-if?” scenarios. “Actionable information takes the guesswork out of company decision making,” says Jeff Pape, general manager, transportation, with U.S. Bank. The push to digitize and eliminate— or at least reduce—paper-based processes also is gaining momentum. “Companies today continue to demand digital DIY capabilities from their providers,” Pape says. This includes streamlined processes, human and articial intelligence-driven insights, improved data outputs and more. FG M €E S ‚Iƒ„E While the recent challenges and disruptions aren’t disappearing, the freight market appears to be steadily stabilizing. “We’ve gone from triage mode to out of the emergency room and into the regular hospital room, where we can do some recovery,” says Cameron of A3.

The market is transitioning away from spot quotes to more contracted freight rates. At the same time, the freight market continues to improve, a result of strong consumer demand, e-commerce activities, and retailers’ need to replenish inventories. Freight costs are starting to come down, and we are moving to more of a shippers’ market. Yet industry insiders are still trying to gure out where the market will land. “It’s not likely we’ll return to pre-pandemic norms,” Meetre says. Even amidst the pandemic and supply chain turbulence, the freight bill audit and payment and transportation spend management sector has continued to evolve and to provide technology, software, and services that extend beyond the traditional audit offering. “While shippers are tasked to do more with less, freight audit and payment rms are poised to provide robust outsourced solutions that offer year-over-year, veriable, bottom-line results,” says Keith Snavely, senior vice president, global sales, with nVision Global, a specialist in freight audit services. These are some of the freight bill audit and payment rms providing quality services that can help shippers save money and optimize their transportation operations and spending.

74 Inbound Logistics • September 2022

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