The ABCs of Frictionless Freight for the Back Office
“Easy” and “logistics” are two words that historically do not mix, like oil and water. Truckload, finished vehicle, and all other transportation logistics is anything but simple. Yet technology advances are making complexities more manageable for fleets and brokerages across industries.
Most technology investments target driver productivity and operational efficiency but overlook an important element of any freight transaction — the back-office work.
No number of front-end improvements can make up for delays in billing, missed accessorial charges, or bad data that create friction in the order-to-invoice process. Trucking and logistics companies seeking better performance should not ignore the back office. Luckily, a focus on the “ABCs” can make the back-office team a significant contributor to frictionless freight transactions.
Separate systems within a company create unnecessary work and data silos. This often leads to redundant data entry, information delays, and an inaccurate assessment of business performance. Companies benefit when they align their systems.
Integrating the transportation management system (TMS) and accounting platform creates the best of both worlds. Each side receives the specific functionality needed while accessing critical data more quickly without extra work.
APIs make real-time data sharing possible to improve billing speed and accuracy. This is important, especially in a sluggish economy when shippers tend to increase their days payable outstanding (DPO). The move often creates significant cash flow issues. By aligning the accounting and TMS platforms, back-office teams can create invoices quicker to accelerate the due date clock.
Flowing billing data directly from the TMS to accounting eliminates the wait for paper copies or additional information from the operations team. A real-time connection will automatically publish the data to an invoice as soon as the load is delivered. The information can be validated and submitted to the shipper for payment in a matter of minutes.
Building and Brokering Loads
Back-office integrations also offer huge benefits when it comes to building and brokering loads. Leaving individual dispatchers or customer service representatives to price loads can end up costing the company money from low rates or lost freight opportunities.
By automatically feeding up-to-date pricing information to the operations team through system integrations, office teams can quote loads quicker and more accurately. For hot loads, shippers often select the first submission rather than wasting time shopping around. That offers vehicle haulers a distinct advantage in securing more loads at rates that work for both sides.
An advanced TMS that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning for load planning can use automated pricing information as well. The data influences how much deadhead is acceptable, which driver is best for the load, the pick-up/drop-off order in a route, and if the load should be brokered out.
Information from back-office teams can directly contribute to the frontline’s ability to drive profitability on every load. The business benefits from a swift, seamless process from order to invoice.
The quickest way to delay an invoice or miss an accessorial charge is a breakdown in communication. This often happens when: a) drivers do not upload signed BOLs for proof of delivery; b) carriers pay drivers for detention but fail to charge their customers; c) dispatchers cancel loads rather than recording billable truck orders not used. These all-too-common scenarios affect accounting, payroll, and finance.
A FreightWaves editorial estimates that every year fleets and brokerages are not being reimbursed for as much as 60% of their accessorial charges. This leaves thousands of dollars on the table that could benefit their business, drivers, and the bottom line.
One solution is implementing a mobile driver app with a step-by-step workflow. Scanning documents becomes part of managing the load. This can include key pieces of paperwork such as BOLs, PODs, lumper receipts, and scale tickets — whatever each unique shipper requires to pay for the load and its associated charges. Now the back-office team automatically receives digital copies of the paperwork without having to bother drivers.
Improving connectivity between the back-office and operations teams through system alignment also increases accessorial collections. Contracted accessorial fees can feed directly to the TMS. When a billable charge occurs, such as detention, the system can capture the times and automatically feed the data to accounting. Not only does the back office have a record of the event; it also has data to justify the charge to the shipper. The team can bill more without any additional work or delaying invoice payments due to disputed charges.
Frictionless Freight from A to Z
These are just three examples of how simple changes can help the back office contribute to frictionless freight. With Magnus, an entire alphabet of opportunities exists.
Simplicity in the back office is a unique attribute that is difficult to define but easily recognizable. The expression “I know it when I see it” applies. Are you ready to see how a TMS can deliver a frictionless freight transaction for transportation and logistics companies? Let’s connect.
Magnus Technologies Group is the most mature and scalable enterprise-grade TMS solution for fleet operations, offering unlimited integration and expansion possibilities and a solid foundation of best-in-class cloud computing technologies and services. The system integrates with all major accounting platforms while also coming standard with business intelligence software for data-driven decision-making. Whether you dispatch 50 or 5,000 trucks, the Magnus SaaS-based TMS has a full suite of features and connectivity to streamline your order-to-cash cycle in a way that maximizes business performance and growth.