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  • Freight audit and payments may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of ways to reduce freight costs. The cost of manually reconciling freight invoices is one expense that remains hidden and silently affects your bottom line.  Industry studies estimate that manual invoice processing costs around $5 to $12 per invoice. Moreover, the process is time-consuming, prone to error, and stifles the productivity of your team.  This article explores various factors associated with freight invoicing and how automation technology is transforming invoice reconciliation.  What is a freight invoice? Freight invoice is a document issued by the carrier. It has information such as the description of the freight, point of origin, name of the shipper, the shipment’s weight, charges applied and more.  Typically, logistics managers and the accounts team deal with invoice processing regularly. With invoice reconciliation, on some days everything works out well while on most days invoices don’t match the original quotation and lead to laborious person follow-ups for rectified invoices.  However, today there’s a way to ensure accurate invoice matching and save your team from accounting nightmares.  Here are some freight invoice facts that you should know if you still rely on manual freight invoice processing:  Industry studies show that approximately 75% of logistics leaders believe that there are negligible discrepancies between the final quotation they get and the freight invoice. By merely considering the sheer volume of freight invoices that your logistics teams receive, you can gauge how costly mistakes can, and do, happen. From our data and experience working with leading organisations, we have discovered that up to 60% of freight invoices do not match the final quotation. Besides, in about 20% of the cases, these discrepancies go unchecked and lead to mistakes such as:  Duplicate payments: There are times...
  • As a shipper, one of the best ways to minimise risks and unpleasant surprises when shipping your goods is to keep a close track of your shipment’s movement. Undoubtedly, the key to running a smooth supply chain is to have real-time and end-to-end visibility over the location of your cargo.  Earlier, logistics managers had to manually visit websites of shipping lines or make calls to their freight forwarders and key in the booking number for every container, each time to keep track of all the shipments.  Besides, the intervals at which these sites would update their data were not known and often led to inaccurate information about the container’s location.  Fast forward to the present day, and technological advancements have simplified the process by a thousand folds, making it possible for companies to track sea shipments in real-time effortlessly.  New Age Container Tracking Systems The emergence of state-of-the-art container tracking systems has made it possible to get timely, live updates on the exact location of your freight. The market is flooded with online tracking tools that allow real-time container tracking and enable you to deal with any rerouting or delays proactively. However, when choosing a container tracking system, you should choose one that auto-notifies you about the different changes in your shipment’s status. Such a tracking system will give you timely updates every time your shipment achieves a milestone in the logistics and transportation process. Some of the most critical status changes that you should look for are: When the container leaves your facility When the container arrives at a terminal and is ready for the customs clearance process When the container is loaded onto the carrier at the port of origin When the carrier carrying the container departs the port of origin When the carrier arrives at the port...
  • Digital transformation in the field of Accounts Payable has been tough to carry out, given that invoice operations are inherently complex and place a lot of dependency on human effort. As with any other technology, this is just another hill to climb in the right direction.  Reducing the burden on manual labour, minimising errors, identifying fraudulent claims and avoiding duplicate/missed invoice payments are some of the advantages of automated invoicing. Studies suggest that up to 60% of invoices do not match the final quotations, which leads to further delays in payments. The time has come to automate and digitise your freight invoice processing and profit from it. Automated freight invoice processing Automated freight invoice processing involves matching invoices with the original quotation and sending them for payment with zero human help.  Automated systems instantly notify the vendor in case of any discrepancies found in the invoices, saving a significant amount of time as a manual follow up is not required.  GoComet’s innovative software solution – The invoice reconciliation module, makes it possible to auto-approve invoices, reject duplicate invoices and improve the auditing process. It provides a unified dashboard where the vendors can upload their invoices, and from there on, the entire process is automated.  The module guarantees accurate matching with the help of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. The adoption of a smart solution hence helps streamline existing processes and maximise the efficiency of operations. Why is it essential to move away from manual invoice matching? Not only is invoice matching a painful process but also a tedious one. It is document-intensive and takes up a lot of manual resources to get the work done. In a traditional scenario, invoice processing involves the following steps: While Accounts Payable (AP) teams handle invoice processing, there are times when invoices are sent...
  • With tightening capacity and ever-soaring rates in the face of COVID-19, managing logistics and shipping goods has become a turbulent experience. Investing in the right TMS can streamline your operations and boost business.  However, with so many options to choose from, how do you identify the TMS best-suited for your organisation and your budget?  What does a TMS do? A good TMS should simplify your shipping process by helping you plan, coordinate and track your shipments. It should also be designed to process data and generate insights that can assist you when making decisions. An efficient TMS should automate your freight management, improve your communication with vendors, save time and help you reduce costs.  Check out Sailing Schedule – a smart tool to make smart decisions while planning the movement of your freight. Key factors to consider when buying a TMS The true cost of the system Be aware of companies offering you a low-cost solution as chances are further hidden charges lay in wait. Choose a system that caters to your business needs without having to rush to vendor’s support services or costly code changes every other day.  A low-cost system may appear attractive at the time of purchase, but over time, you may find your money going towards maintaining the system- instead of your bottom line.  Easy integration with existing systems A TMS is only as good as its functionality. Make sure that the TMS you choose is designed for easy integration with your existing systems and quick onboarding. A mistake here can affect you for the life of the system you select.  Scalability Ensure your chosen TMS is able to handle the depth of your existing requirements both in your jurisdiction and throughout your organisation.  Server-based systems are best avoided as these quickly become outdated. It is...
  • With cost-saving strategies more important than ever, companies around the world are facing a situation where faltering contracts and a widening gap between container demand and supply is forcing them to turn to the spot market to fulfil shipment orders.   For organisations with hundreds of shipments per month, suddenly having to manually create, compare and negotiate each and every rate to ensure they have secured the best deal is straining many beyond breaking point.  To ensure the best deals, your vendors need to be engaged in a series of negotiations to shrink their rates. For many, however, relying on the traditional system of negotiation is simply no longer an option.    Automate to win, with GoComet’s spot RFQ software  Quickly and easily strengthen your supply chain resilience through GoComet’s automated spot RFQ software. Deploying the power of our unique Recursive Rate Reduction system, you can ensure that you receive the very best rates from your vendors, every time, by automating freight negotiations and driving double-digit savings and efficiencies. Create and share inquiries with all of your logistics service providers in seconds and then sit back and relax, as our automated software takes care of the rest. Every time your vendors submit their quotes, the module instantly calculates the net landed costs of their quotation and reveals their rank as compared to their competitors. Crucially, however, the identity and price of their competing vendors remain concealed.  As your vendors battle to secure the coveted first rank to increase their chance of winning business, with each bid, your rates are squeezed lower and lower.  Low-touch, but high-tech GoComet is the most user-friendly logistics resource management software available in the market today. Whether combined with your existing ERP or as a stand-alone platform, our team will have this up and running for you in...
  • In today’s fast-paced freight world, more and more businesses are looking for a way to redesign their distribution methods. After dispatching your shipment, there are a lot more forces involved in getting your freight from point A to B—Freight forwarders, shipping lines, port handlers, marine insurers, inland transportation and others. Although, real-time tracking is an integral part of this process, having so many players moving your freight effectively takes the control away from your hands. The question here is—What exactly is going wrong with your distribution and how significant a role does tracking play in this picture? Manual tracking of freight and 3PLs are hurting your business The pressure associated with meeting delivery deadlines is quite high. This responsibility falls on your logistics team and the logistics team goes a long way to ensure that your freight reaches on time and in full (OTIF). This is where tracking plays an important role:  Lack of knowledge on delays in exports can spoil your relations with your customers and affect future business. In imports, lack of knowledge can result in you incurring extra detention charge and ground rent. But tracking freight is not easy. At present logistics teams deploy both or either of the following ways:  Manually visit each shipping line’s website or agent and track shipments using the consignment number. Outsource tracking to Third Party Logistics (3PLs) and let them take care of the freight. The former process is time-consuming and riddled with inefficiencies. A rough estimate states that the manual process of tracking takes nearly 133 hours. Being updated with the location of freight is almost impossible in this case. Any delay or carrier failures push the expected time of arrival even more. The challenges of the latter process of outsourcing the implementation of IoT visibility solutions to 3PLs outweighs...
  • May 11, 2020

    Optimising your Freight Negotiations

    Today’s dynamic logistics and supply chain environment requires strategic planning; execution of strategy; measurements to goals; analysis against industry benchmarks; and continuous improvement. However, negotiating quotes for your freight remains a static process. Freight procurement via an RFQ (Request For Quote) is plagued with inefficiencies when done manually. With logistics operations accounting for nearly 95% of your time, a lack of a single platform as well as a pre-existing bias in the marketplace and sub-optimal rates, are combining to damage the revenues of your business.  Limitations of Manually Negotiating Freight As soon as your RFQ is issued, your logistics team has to engage in a plethora of emails and calls to negotiate with your LSP (logistics service provider) to receive an optimal quote. This situation becomes increasingly complex with spot contracts. The logistics team has to manage to get all the vendors onboard, inform them of the RFQ, and start negotiating the quotes while facing constant time constraints.  Your LSPs have very little motivation to drive their prices lower due to the absence of competition. Shipments might get delayed for days until you find a fair quote. This process puts the vendors in the driving seat and leaves your logistics team with little to no control: the result – you pay more.  Due to this increased freight spend, the onus falls on the finance teams to compensate for these losses. There are three major takeaways from this process: The sheer volume of time, effort, and resources wasted on this can be allocated to other projects. The process has been in place, unquestioned, for so long that companies seem to have trivialized the need to change it. The pressure to execute is so high that expecting your team to negotiate and win the best deal at the best price is unfair....
  • A lot has changed in the freight ecosystem over the last few decades – From regulations to carrier technologies. The way we look at international freight procurement – The Request for Quote/Price/Tender (RFQ/P/T), however, has been the same for decades. RFQ is the first step towards freight procurement and the one that decides the cost of your freight. This is where with the help of the right tools, you can drive significant cost savings. While signing long-term rate contracts is effective in curbing costs to some extent, it’s often not possible for enterprises to employ them. The demand-supply entropy in the real world leads to unprecedented shipments and poor predictability. That essentially brings more spot contracts to the table for the enterprises.  Your spot RFQs limit optimization by design Over time, enterprises develop trust with select vendors. These vendors receive an RFQ and return a rate to the vendor. This transaction typically happens over emails and phone calls. The same media is employed when enterprises want to negotiate on the rates shared by the vendor.  The logistics team reaches out to vendors every time there is a new lowest bid and tries to negotiate the offering. In every instance, the team needs to reach out to all vendors and try to negotiate a better price.  For the logistics team, we have –  A short deadline to close the RFQ with an offer, where a single negotiation is slow, manual, and unconsciously affected with vendor biases. Engage multiple vendors using tedious mediums (phones, calls), repeatedly. The efforts increase in multiples for every new vendor you engage with – essentially making it difficult to engage with a large number of vendors. This typical manual process is plagued with inefficiencies and designed for suboptimal freight rates.  To improve this process, we need to...
  • April 30, 2020

    Data-driven Freight Management

    The lack of data in your freight management process is disrupting your supply chain and leaving your logistics team in the dark. Read this blog to find out the benefits of integrating data and freight analytics into your freight process.
  • As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, our reliance on supply chains has never been more starkly illustrated. From medicine to medical supplies, facemasks to foodstuff, manufacturers and their logistic teams are working round-the-clock to ensure that essential goods are being delivered.   Many though find themselves close to breaking point, as country lockdowns and chronic container shortages cripple their ability to keep the world’s goods moving. It is here that technology can help. GoComet’s Logistics Resource Management (LRM) platform makes it possible for companies to comprehensively transform the way that their supply chains operate, creating process resilience and driving double-digit cost savings. Cloud-based, our easy-to-use software is quick to set up and can be rapidly extended across organizations and is simple to integrate with existing systems. Automated Spot RFQs – the best deal at the best price  As freight contract rates across the world lose their competitiveness, organizations are rushing to the spot market to keep their goods moving. For companies with hundreds of shipments per month, the traditional practice of manually contacting each and every vendor, and comparing each quote becomes impossible. GoComet’s Freight quote platform offers an innovative solution to this problem, by automating the negotiation for you and allowing you to create and share inquiries with all your vendors simultaneously.  RFQs can be created and submitted to vendors in seconds, who can then submit their quotes and see their rank compared to their competitors but crucially, not their price or identity.  Through compound negotiation via vendors’ efforts to secure the first rank and increase their chance of winning business, the rate you pay keeps shrinking, ensuring that by the end of the bidding process you can win the best deal at the best price.   Track & Trace on a single dashboard Knowing exactly where your...
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