An increasing number of freight carriers are turning to outsourcing partners for their freight invoicing. Outsourcing offers many benefits, namely cost savings, which can be significant in many cases.
Outsourcing freight invoice creation isn’t just a trend amongst the larger shipping companies. The numerous advantages have prompted many smaller freight carriers to outsource this highly-specialized billing process. But finding the right outsourcing partner is essential for a carrier because errors or slow turnaround time hold the potential to snarl operations.
Examining the Complexity of Freight Invoices
Freight invoices or freight bills are essential documents that must be generated in a timely and accurate manner. Freight invoices contain a number of important facts and figures — information that is critical to the shipment process.
Shipment Details – The freight invoice will contain a number of facts concerning the shipment, including the type of freight, weights and dimensions, the number of parcels and the shipment date.
Shipper, Sender and Recipient Information – Freight invoices always specify addresses and contact information for the carrier, the sender (consignor) and the recipient (consignee.)
Point of Origin and Destination – A freight bill will include detailed information about the point of origin and the delivery destination. Info on the latter is often referenced by the carrier’s delivery team to ensure a prompt and successful delivery. Any special instructions for delivery will also be noted.
Transfer Points and Route – The intended route of travel is typically specified, in addition to any transfer points. You will also see name and contact information for other shipping companies in cases where a freight shipment is relayed by multiple carriers. If a transfer is planned, the timing and location will be indicated on the freight bill.
Additional Charges – It is not uncommon to see miscellaneous charges related to weight, fuel or other special charges. For instance, if the delivery team was forced to wait for a period of time to complete delivery, additional fees may be assessed.
Often, a shipping carrier will require a signature on the freight bill before it departs its point of origin. This serves as a verification that everything on the document is correct. Once the freight is successfully delivered, the recipient or a designated representative will sign the freight invoice to indicate their formal acceptance of the shipment.
Freight bills are packed with mission-critical data, which underscores the importance of finding a reputable partner for outsourcing freight invoicing processes.
Considerations and Benefits of Outsourcing Freight Invoicing for Carriers
Freight carriers face a myriad of challenges as they work to transport shipments from point A to point B; a freight invoice should not be one of those challenges. Outsourcing freight invoicing is a great option for many companies, with benefits that can include the following.
Cost Savings – Cost savings are perhaps the most significant benefit of freight invoice outsourcing. The per-invoice cost should be far less than what can be achieved in-house. Many service providers have the latest and greatest software technology, allowing for rapid, efficient and cost-effective processing. Carriers may also lack the in-house resources to oversee freight invoicing in a fast, efficient manner. Errors and slow processing can have an adverse financial impact too. By outsourcing freight billing, carriers benefit their bottom line by improving efficiency, reducing errors and improving processing speed.
Quality – A service provider that specializes in freight billing can deliver exceptional quality documents, often surpassing what a carrier can achieve in-house. For example, accurate, detailed bills of lading (BOLs) with data that is easy to find and extrapolate can help avoid triggering audit processes. The quality of a service provider’s freight invoicing must be carefully evaluated, so it is prudent to request samples of the service provider’s work.
Turnaround Time – For many carriers, outsourcing freight billing translates into access to far more resources than the company would have available in-house. This allows for expedited freight invoicing, which translates into faster shipments and ultimately, faster payments. The end result is a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
Flexibility – Outsourcing freight invoicing processes will free a company’s in-house staff so they can focus on other tasks. This provides far greater flexibility from an operational perspective.
Scalability – By leveraging a third-party service provider to oversee freight invoicing, a carrier has the freedom to scale their operation without the hassles of having to hire (or fire) employees.
Freight bills go far beyond a typical invoice. For instance, a freight invoicing service provider must know where to find and apply charges, such as a fuel or weight surcharge. Freight invoices represent a specialized type of billing. Any time you are working with a specialty, you tend to see more challenges in the process of picking an outsourcing partner. But with knowledge of what traits to seek and what points to consider, carriers can feel far more confident as they work toward outsourcing freight invoicing processes.
Next-generation technology drives today’s most efficient freight invoicing service providers, driving down costs, ramping up speeds and allowing for exceptional quality. At iTech, we know what it takes to succeed with machine learning-driven invoice indexing, freight bill data capture automation and RPA-driven freight bill auditing. We invite you to contact the iTech team today to discuss your freight invoicing needs.