Automated invoice-checking delivers savings

Here at Polygon, our invoice-checking service has had a busy start to 2012.  The service validates freight invoices for an ever growing number of customers.

Checking freight invoices is notoriously complicated and, regardless of whether the LSP is a “major global logistics service provider” or a “local hero” freight forwarder, freight invoicing errors occur much more frequently than you might expect.

It is not uncommon for a weekly or monthly freight invoice to have 500 pages or more. The paper copy, if you were to print it, would be more than 5 centimeters high!   To use manual-based checking of these invoices is of course both expensive and time-consuming. But it’s also not likely to be thorough enough to identify and manage some of the complex over-charge problems that occur.

Freight invoices can contain the freight costs and surcharges (or accessorials) for hundreds or even thousands of shipments. Here are some examples of the typical errors or billing issues that we regularly find “hidden” in our customers’ freight invoices:

The same shipment number is invoiced twice. It happens much more often than you might expect, and is very difficult to identify unless very thorough checking-algorithms are used. Manually identifying double-billing is effectively impossible.

Incorrect rates used:
The negotiated rates are not used for a shipment. This may be due to delays in the LSP loading new tariffs into their billing system. Or maybe they have been loaded but are not yet being applied correctly.

Surcharges or accessorial charges:
Each carrier has a long list of surcharges that they are entitled to apply, to compensate them for exceptional circumstances. For example, additional handling, out-of-area or address correction.
Manually extracting and analyzing this information is labour-intensive and error-prone. So, most companies just do not do it. Even though major savings can be achieved when these costs are efficiently analyzed and controlled.

How streamlined are your current processes for invoice-checking? Do you check all your invoices?
If so, how do you do it? And if you have a system, how do you keep the tariffs from all your different carriers around the world up-to-date?

Polygon’s comprehensive invoice checking process is based on your latest agreed tariffs and uses your own in-house defined business rules. This enables cost-effective checking of 100% of your invoices and shipments and 100% of your surcharges. Meticulously checking freight invoices at this level of detail enables us to find the hidden errors. And that can lead to major reclaims or even changes in operating procedures to avoid incurring them in future..

Like all the POLYGON services, it is easy-to-use and very quick to implement. It is purpose-designed so it can be easily aligned to your existing business processes, and so it can be adapted quickly when your logistics network or your business requirements change.