Managing Logistics and Audits in Freight Companies
From labor shortages, scarce resources, port closures, delays, and more - the supply chain has been at the forefront of conversations for the better part of three years. And the conversation isn’t over. Now more than ever, supply chain leaders are asking essential questions. For example, what are the current supply chain’s conditions? What are the supply chain’s most prominent threats? How can we mitigate risks and improve supply chain resiliency?
Published in February 2022, the US Department of Transportation completed the Freight and Logistics Supply Chain Assessment which addresses current vulnerabilities and challenges in transportation and logistics while also developing strategies to build more resilient supply chains.
This assessment provided key market-wide insights and may serve as a model for supply chain leaders conducting a thorough logistics audit.
Read on to learn how enterprises can manage logistics and audits efficiently.
Trax offers a unique approach to transportation spend management, focusing on end-to-end visibility into the supply chain. By leveraging the right freight audit and payment (FAP) software, companies can scale and ultimately become more resilient.
Types of Audits
The Freight and Logistics Supply Chain Assessment was a holistic evaluation centered around the challenges faced by shippers and carriers, mainly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to note that this assessment covered multiple audit areas, including the following:
A logistics audit aims to measure a company’s performance in terms of logistics operations. This includes collecting data related to staff and productivity, inventory management, warehouse planning, layout, and operational efficiency.
Data availability and security were major areas of focus for the February 2022 assessment conducted by the USDOT. When conducting an internal logistics audit, these must be considered.
For example, looking at the Transportation Spend Management (TSM) system in place and understanding if analysts can access all the data they need to derive meaningful insights is key in measuring performance. Likewise, assessing cybersecurity risks and inventory issues contributes to the overall assessment of a freight company.
A risk assessment is necessary to determine specific vulnerabilities in a supply chain. The USDOT report found that bottlenecks related to a limited supply of chassis served as a major risk for shipping delays.
McKinsey & Company emphasizes the importance of looking into known and unknown risks. While managing known risks comes down to early identification and documentation, unknown risk management relies on strong defenses and developing risk-aware culture.
Freight Invoice Audit
When the supply chain is disrupted, transportation costs inevitably rise. Therefore, having the right freight invoice audit and payment software in place is one way to remain resilient in the current market. A modern FAP audit covers the following components:
- Data integration
- Data management
- Digital Auditing
- Allocating costs and sending payments
- Analyzing and reporting on relevant data
Other Internal Audits
Some internal audits fall outside of pure logistics or freight invoice audits.
Additional components of an internal freight audit include more long-term audit planning, standardized reporting and communication of results, and timely follow-up on findings.
Supply Chain Brain identifies five core tenets of achieving supply chain excellence, which can be summarized in the following areas.
- Remaining Customer-centric: Remembering that the purpose of the business is to serve the customer guides the operations and logistics.
- Market Segmentation: Treating different market segments appropriately ultimately improves ROI.
- Business Agility: Being ready to adapt to any market volatility is an asset that cannot be understated.
- Data-driven Optimizations: Optimizing inventory, spending, and other resources come down to having enough data to support business decisions.
- Leveraging Technology: While AI and ML aren’t replacing humans, it’s essential to leverage technology that can help automate basic tasks and increase efficiency.
Looking at each of these areas and evaluating what a company is doing right or wrong adds another layer to the internal audit.
Outcomes of Freight Audits and Other Audits
The key to freight auditing is developing a structured approach to risk assessment. Rather than completing an audit when a problem arises, companies need to be proactive in scheduling logistics, freight invoices, and other internal audits to remain competitive in the market.
While there are many positive outcomes of freight auditing, the areas below represent the largest opportunities for enterprises.
Data compliance is at the core of freight auditing, which spans all invoices, shipments, and rates. This results in a thorough audit of charges, liabilities, and duplicates to achieve settlement and payment. Business compliance, including compliance with routing guides, also plays an important role in freight contracts because without the ability to prove compliance, buyers refuse to sign a supplier agreement.
Freight audits empower supply chain leaders to take control of the entire billing process. Having control of freight audit functions frees up internal resources that could better be spent servicing customers. Ultimately, this control over transportation performance and spending is what sets a company apart from its competitors.
Data governance practices and policies impact the FAP process, including how information is collected, structured, and maintained. Employing the right technology for FAP processes results in more comprehensive data for strategic business planning.
With the right FAP software, companies can automate freight audits for liability, tax accuracy, duplicates, and contracted rates. By removing some of the manual processes, supply chains optimize all operations. This allows companies to cut costs, streamline processes, and reduce errors.
Tools for Freight Invoice Audits and More
Similar to the comprehensive assessment conducted by the USDOT, the outcome of a Trax freight audit gets to the root causes of issues. Trax freight audit differentiates itself from traditional freight auditing systems by helping supply chain leaders work towards becoming proactive in their transportation spend management.
To speak to an expert in transportation spend management solutions, contact Trax today.
Trax is the global leader in Transportation Spend Management solutions. We partner with the most global and complex brands to drive meaningful optimizations and savings through industry-leading technology solutions and world-class advisory services. With the largest global footprint spanning North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, we enable our clients to have greater control over their transportation performance and spend. Our focus is on your success.