US ocean freight forwarders are dealing with a lot of headaches right now, with soaring freight rates, rapid price changes, premiums to secure ship loadings, and new surcharges, all making their daily lives more challenging.
The first half of 2021 kicked an already messy world of reconciling contracted freight rates into overdrive. The heightened importance of document accuracy and sense of the impact of incorrect freight billing only underscored the need for technology to solve these chronic pain points.
In a recent webcast with the Journal of Commerce: ‘Freight Payment: Technology and the Race to Improve Billing Accuracy’, Expedock’s CEO and Co-founder, King Alandy Dy addressed these challenges and the increasingly important role AI solutions will play going forwards.
Inaccurate billing is costing the freight forwarding sector millions of dollars each year and technology is going to play a key role in meeting the challenge. By automating the reconciliation process, forwarders can free up their teams and streamline their day-to-day operations, relying on solutions that provide 100% accuracy gains.
“There is a huge issue in handling the sheer volume of documents and data that exists around a single shipment,” King said, “whether that’s inbound or domestic traffic. No one wants incorrect billing, of course, but getting to the root cause of why it happens remains a challenge."
“Covid has exacerbated the problem of shipment data sitting in silos, where forwarders are trying to use information effectively that might be stored across multiple systems. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to bring all of that together and generate meaningful insights from it, however. It makes calculating the actual profitability of each shipment very difficult and creating the reports requires a lot of time and manual work to bring that data together, clean it and transform it into something useful.
“With AI-powered data extraction, automation and reconciliation, all of that is done for you and amalgamated into a central source of ‘truth’ that they can then reference before making the strategic decisions for their business.”
“The volume of documents forwarders handle is growing and, with the complexity of today’s global supply chain, they need to implement an effective solution.
“Forwarders and shippers face a growing array of digital tools on offer from a market that is increasingly competitive. This means selecting the right technology can be daunting in a sector that itself is maturing into providing more sophisticated AI solutions."
“With increased scale, companies face increased administrative burden and with it increasing likelihood of errors. Going through every single line item is difficult and time-consuming, working with documents from various systems and then needing to identify where the discrepancy lies and who is best to raise with the vendor without creating even more friction. It takes its toll on the productivity of the entire team and eventually vendor relationships.
“By providing line item visibility, Expedock can provide an enhanced level of accuracy over other platforms and certainly beat any possible accuracy over manual process. Many forwarders do not yet have line item level analytics on their invoices and that lack of visibility is becoming a much bigger pain point that they need to address.”
There’s no doubt that the freight forwarding landscape is changing and technology will have an increasingly important role to play. Technology will be used more and more to automate the mundane parts of the sector and those that act sooner will benefit faster.
Hear the ‘Freight Payment: Technology and the Race to Improve Billing Accuracy’ webcast in full here. If you would like to speak to someone on addressing the accuracy challenges in Freight Bill Audit and reconciliation, please email our contact form.