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Shippers and forwarders alike could win significant cost savings through new technology to automate the auditing of freight payments and invoicing.

According to a new white paper published today, How Automated Payment Processes Will Cut Costs for Shippers and Forwarders and Create Healthier Relationships, as much as 70% of invoice processing costs are wrapped up in document handling, auditing and payment processes.

This drives the cost of invoice processing to $15-$50 per invoice, which could be almost eliminated by automating freight invoice auditing.

In some cases, such is the level of invoicing inaccuracy that shippers may be charged between $1,600, and $4,980 for a shipment that should have cost $1,000.

For a long time, forwarders relied on transport management systems to manage invoicing processes, while shippers were either reliant on reports from their forwarders or forced to deploy complex, and often hugely expensive, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

In response to both growing demand and new technological solutions such as cloud-based systems, a new firm, launched this week and led by freight forwarding veteran Steve Walker, has developed a web-based auditing platform that can be used by both shippers and forwarders to increase invoicing accuracy and efficiency, and significantly reduce costs for both.

SWG says its platform gives shippers with independent supply chain overview meaningful reports, with assurances of 100% accurate freight invoices, and freight forwarders will not only see reduced staffing costs, but it will enable staff to be redeployed to more valuable roles.

Mr Walker told The Loadstar: “Why on earth do some forwarders have staff manually checking invoices in 2017?

“Our platform lets a freight forwarder create openness of billing that secures an agreed profit margin, releases staff from ‘checking’ invoices, handles invoices electronically for earlier or on-time settlement and everyone has assurances that every invoice is correct or will be corrected.

“This enables freight forwarders to compete with multinationals and respond to the new threats coming out of Silicon Valley, and allows forwarders to also create new revenue streams and help bring transactional business to a semi-contractual relationship and release staff to new roles.

“Equally, it means forwarders can begin to impose the same process on their suppliers, such as carriers, and after decades of working as a freight forwarder, I’m only too well aware of how many carrier invoices are incorrect,” he said.

You can read the white paper here.

Comment on this article

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  • Neha Goyal

    February 13, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Is there any software available in the market to automate it ?

    • Alex Lennane

      February 13, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      Yes, I believe there are a few on the market. I would suggest contacting the author of the report, here