How AI-powered billing & settlements can boost transportation management

Optimized transportation management is the key to fuelling rapid national and enterprise growth. However, how do you ensure that this transportation management, made of multiple stakeholders, stays healthy? It’s simple. Deploy a robust AI-powered billing and settlements solution, preferably in-sync with a ‘complete TMS’.

Billing and settlements: The challenges and bottlenecks

A normal supply chain has multiple stakeholders including the manufacturers or suppliers; the logistics service providers (LSP); the carrier partners; the freight forwarders; the consignees; etc. The final stakeholder is the consumer.

The interplay of all these stakeholders creates the downstream movement of goods and the both-ways movement of information. Part of this information is bills, invoices, claims, discrepancies and the resultant settlements.

The supplier or the LSP settles the invoices (through their accounts payable) on receipt of proof of deliveries, settled claims, and audit-cleared discrepancies. However, this billing and settlements process can take many days. This delay can hold the proper cash flow of multiple stakeholders in limbo.

Here are a few challenges with billing and settlements in transportation management.

  • Improper invoice generation (erroneous, duplication, multiple invoicing formats, and lack of interoperability) delays reconciliation.
  • Manually recorded proofs of deliveries take time to reach the proper authorities.
  • Claims and discrepancies are stuck in audit due to lack of proper time and location stamped data.
  • Un-verified service level agreement (SLA) violations delay the invoice audits further.
  • Billing/invoicing inaccuracies and exceptions delay settlements.

All these elements reduce the transparency and cash flow in the system that, eventually, affects current and future rate and contract negotiations.

This is where Fretron’s AI-powered billing and settlements have a far-reaching impact.

Fretron’s artificial intelligence-powered billing and settlements

Fretron is a complete transportation management software. It covers everything from order planning, in-yard visibility, load building and dispatch, in-transit freight visibility, and electronic proof of deliveries. All this happens in a single ‘control tower’ like platform. This means that the client has complete visibility of their supply chain. This is a critical factor for the billing and settlements solution.

Right from the get-go, at the order creation stage, the client can see the shipment history of each partner with previous rates. The system plays-in this historical ‘intelligence’ to help build an ideal smart contract. The client can check the partner’s previous SLA adherence and compliance and format the contract.

Common platform for suppliers, carriers and partners

The system synchronizes the rates and contracts in real-time with the concerned partners. They can negotiate or confirm it in the same system. This cuts down the decision lag and the need for confusing email or call exchanges.

Full in-yard and in-transit visibility

The SLAs define the timeliness and the delivery conditions (special, cold, hazardous, etc.) for the shipment. As the supply chain adapts to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the SLAs can also mandate proper safety gear and precautions.

Fretron’s full and live in-yard visibility ensures minimal yard detention and timely dispatch. Fretron’s load builder helps optimize fleet capacity and in-scans each sales keeping unit (SKU) in every pallet or crate. The system records all this live to sync with the centralized control tower.

Read more: Top order planning mantras to boost your logistics management

Fretron’s in-transit freight visibility gives 24×7 and metre-perfect tracking of the shipment as it moves through checkpoints. It marks all delays, detention, route deviation, and violations occurring in-transit.

Read more: End-to-end freight movement visibility | The Catalyst

Electronic proof of deliveries

Fretron tracks the initial dispatch and shipment movement to give an estimated time of arrival (ETA) (at the destination). The control tower syncs docking or unloading related detention if any. The delivery personnel and handlers out-scan all units. The system then generates an electronic proof of delivery (EPOD). Once the consignee approves this EPOD, the delivery is marked complete.

Digitization and modernization: Claims, discrepancies and penalties handling

Fretron’s complete TMS helps digitize and modernize the traditional supply chain. It brings all stakeholders on a single platform with live shipment tracking, violation detection, instant alerts, live delivery status updates, etc.

Read more: 4 pillars of a complete transportation management system

The system tracks and optimizes every event in an order or shipment’s journey. This means that the system can trace every issue, claim or discrepancy back to its origin. The supplier, carrier, vendor partners, consignee, etc. know exactly where the ‘deviation’ or anomaly occurred.

Since the system centrally records each event with accurate time and geo-stamps, the billing and invoice audit is fast-tracked. Fretron’s billing and settlements, hence, enables quick claim and discrepancy resolutions. The system also tracks each SLA violation in real-time. This helps streamline all penalties and reconciliation, with proof, within the settlements.

Fretron’s billing and settlements help lower disputes and discrepancies while increasing overall visibility, transparency and accountability.

Total systems interoperability: Faster invoicing, billing and settlements

All stakeholders can benefit from Fretron’s complete TMS’ billing and settlements system.

  • Automate (accurate, error-free and fast) purchase orders, invoices, and expense receipts generation.
  • 30-50% reduction in billing cycles (infusing higher cash-flow and better channel relations).
  • Reduce the cost of billing and settlements across the board.
  • Induce ‘smart decision’ making and better rate and contract management.
  • Induce faster payments/settlements for drivers through in-sync (Fretron’s) smartphone applications.

This complete TMS goes beyond billing and settlement automation. Instant violation and detention alerts help initiate immediate intervention and resolutions. This, in turn, helps mitigate risk within the supply chain that benefits the entire network.

Read more: How the only complete TMS would 10x your logistics efficiency

Fretron-enabled AI, ML, and Automation in Billing and Settlements

To close this off, let’s talk about the artificial intelligence part of the billing and settlements system. If you followed the context and the process closely, you would have noticed that the system applies artificial intelligence and machine learning at every stage. However, let’s focus on the iterative improvement process for a moment. The intent of AI, ML, and automation is to ensure that the system improves and learns from every ‘run’.

The system records and processes all partner history in terms of SLA adherence, rate comparability, detention and discrepancies, and overall satisfaction rating. All this adds to the intrinsic performance management system. This gives the ideal shipment-partner match for all future orders. Furthermore, it streamlines the history to better ‘match’ the rates and contracts. This means that over time the client reduces not just their cost of billing/settlements but also their overall supply chain costs.

This, along with increased transportation management efficiency, is the Fretron Impact.

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