6 steps for retooling your freight audit setup
How to implement freight audit without flaws and delay's
An interview about best practices in the industry with Olena Shulgach - Implementation director ControlPay Global Freight Audit & Payment.
What are, according to your experience, the key factors to achieve the desired success after the selection procedure of a Freight Audit & Payment provider?
To successfully implement an outsourced freight audit & payment solution, it is imperative to execute a project-based implementation strategy, existing of 5 phases. Before anything, the most important thing from our side is to fully understand the client’s needs and designing the best solutions to meet client’s needs and fit client’s possibilities. At ControlPay, we'd like to call this the design phase of the FAP-project. During this step, it is imperative to set-up a solid communication network with the client.
The second phase is the data collection (logistics data). Quality is key here. From a client's perspective, valid complete data should be provided to the freight audit provider. This data is often available throughout the organization. Make sure you don't overlook your finance department!
From our side of the process, a complete customer understanding must be pictured in order to create the perfect FAP-setup.
Moving on the third phase. This is where the implementation is to be executed, correct?
Yes indeed. This is an internal process. As a global freight auditor, we always work with a dedicated team-approach to find the best possible solution for our clients. Inside our organization, we have solution engineers (SE), project managers (PM) and IT specialists working together with our implementation department. These 4 divisions work tightly together to work out the 6 following steps:
- Analysis of raw data from the scratch
- Meetings with SE and PM the best ways to implement (global) shipper solution efficiently. (Client co-operation with CP is vital)
- Regular implementation status reviews on the project
- Pro-active set up with carriers and forwarders
- Full visibility and track of the logics, confirmations, procedures
- System and process trainings (clients and carriers)
After the implementation is completed, and before we go live, there are two phases. First, we’re going to test the quality of our solution. This is where we, internally foolproof the whole process from A to Z. When completed, we take our project which is still in draft, one step further. Our system (FRED) is then ready and in the last phase before we go live we will run a last test drive. This is called a shadow mode approach. We will be processing and checking logistics data for some period to review the implemented results and decide upon implementation goals achievement.
Which parties should be actively involved in the freight audit and payment implementation process?
Transportation: These people are your experts that have all the know-how and detailed information and about your shipments. From the FAP’s perspective, it’s vital to get a clear picture of any complex shipment flows.
Purchasing: To provide the freight audit provider with valid rate cards, explain calculation methods and confirm exceptions management.
Finance: This department might not be the first one to come to mind, but the finance department is most certainly of crucial importance. We work closely with his section to enhance financial coding, the explanation of the logics of work and to track shipment flows and payment.
- Learn more: Hidden benefit alert: financial consolidation of shipments
IT: To automate the logics, non-standard exceptions via Freight Audit System.
Project Management: We are always very focused on keeping a close eye on our projects, its development, signal of threats and to ensure it is finished within the agreed deadlines. This is why we always have a dedicated project team leading and updating our clients on the status of any project.
What are the usual implementation challenges and how do you overcome them?
This is something that I can not stress enough, because the implementation of a large scale freight auditing project requires a lot of attention. And from many different people throughout multiple departments. Make sure that everybody works as a team. If you do not have all the noses pointing the same direction, this is what possible will occur to the project:
- Incomplete / missing data from carriers, forwards and clients
- Lack of willingness to cooperate from Carriers side
- Lack of streamlining of the process
To Overcome and prevail these 'pitfalls, we always strive to:
- Communication with Client on a weekly basis to review the bottlenecks and agree on actions to have project running uninterruptedly
- Involvement of SE, PM, QA to design exceptions and the best solutions for improper data
- To keep the project according to the planned deadline and be in time with the best process (when some party is not cooperative)
- Handling exceptions per client specific needs
How do you measure the progress and success of the implementation?
- Feedback from carriers and client
- End result > timely processing and payment of invoices, no delays occur (data verifying)
- No complaints and errors found by the specialists during testing data and logics
- Weekly report on freight invoice processing
When the implementation process is finalized, how do you ensure ongoing success and continuous improvement?
The project is transferred from the implementation department to the specialists whom:
- Review the implemented logics critically (dedicated process)
- Look for the ways to constantly improve the solutions and always keep them efficient and less time consuming for all parties involved
- Periodical trend analysis and results reporting to client to define next actions
- Summarize of issues, repeated problems for scheduled review with clients to give full scope overview of inefficiencies, overbilling and possible causes
- Constant training possibilities open for external users
- Documented step by step process/video tutorials
About ControlPay Global Freight Audit & Payment
The best approach is a customized approach taking into account the structure of the client’s organization, the level of automation within different business units, the processes that are possible, and how carriers are organized. In any way, it will be managed during Implementation by a Project Manager and a Solution Engineer, with the support of the IT team and the Implementation Team.
During processing, the client operations will be managed day to day by an Audit team headed up by a Team Leader and overseen by an Account Manager. We like to keep our core teams together and that is why they are all located in 1 Freight Audit center. For specific regional or language skills we do have people in satellite regional offices.
However we focus at a high level of automation which makes our work quite virtual and very IT-driven, this is what we focus on most. For more information about our implementation process, please visit our contact page.
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