Getting in shape is something most of us have grappled with at one point or another. Who knew that having so many solutions for such a widespread problem could yield such futile results?
“Take this pill, pop in this DVD, plug in this contraption and watch lard literally fall from around your waist directly onto the area rug!” they tell us.
“It’s easy,” they say.
Of course, we all know it doesn’t quite work that way.
So, from time to time anyway, we pony up and commit to some sort of regimen that’s going to make it happen.
“For real, this time,” we tell ourselves.
And yet between the diets, the distance running and the yoga classes, many of us invariably fall short of our goals to trim the fat, to become more lean, to run more like a well-oiled machine.
Yet there are a few who always seem to have it figured out. They jog each morning, walk the dog every evening, choose salad over steak and even drink beer. Nothing seems to faze them. Never mind how they convinced themselves to shed pounds in the first place, they, we perceive, must have the magic bullet.
Time, money, willpower, whatever it is, we wish we had more of it. Then we promptly chase that wish with a few gulps of Cabernet and get on with our lives.
Technology vs. Experience
If you think about it, the same problem plagues the parcel audit industry.
Finding a good company to conduct an ongoing small package audit of your carrier invoices has become increasingly difficult during the last several years. Not long ago, the concept was still relatively new, and the industry was somewhat fenced in around companies that pitched industry experience as vital to the equation.
Now the barriers to entry have been lowered by the new fad of “tech-first” companies that leverage their ability to discern the complexities of the invoice process through online platforms that translate aggregate data into reports, charts and dashboards.
What remains is largely a commodity-based industry. The sheer number of providers leaves many consumers with the false impression that one parcel auditor is as good as the next.
Companies with industry experience and those that lean more heavily on technical acumen each bring a lot to the table. As with most choices, though, the best decision for an organization typically boils down to somewhere in the middle.
There is one universal truth, however, that many consumers in this niche B2B space regularly overlook: that no parcel auditor can perform better, from a cost-recovery standpoint, than the market will allow. And the market is solely dictated by the carriers whose services are being audited. Simply put, even the best technology can only capture the amount of credits that there are to be captured. That amount, of course, is a finite number.
Paying Less Isn’t Always More
So where does that leave the consumer?
Well, to start, it illustrates that cost recovery has indeed become a commodity. So long as a parcel auditor has all the rules scripted correctly, no single party is likely to vary much from the others.
It is more important, though, to realize that there is far more value within the data intelligence provided by a parcel auditor than any of the hard-dollar savings your company will recover. And that’s where much of the parity within the industry ends.
A company’s ability to combine an airtight credit-recovery strategy with user-facing technology is what separates vendor from value. It’s no secret that buyers across all industries are quick to jump at low-cost solutions. Still, the you-get-what-you-pay-for adage can be dangerously hard for companies to fully understand.
That’s because the tangible value of the credits recovered by a parcel auditor are only fractional relative to the overall value of the right solution. If all things are equal, the choice is obvious between two companies that can find you $20,000 in credits in a given year. You should choose the one that takes the smallest share, which currently ranges between 25 and 50 percent — a $5,000 difference in the example above.
However, the most overlooked part of the value that a parcel audit brings an organization is the back-end support and solutions that a company provides a buyer to identify and secure harder-to-find savings. Credit recovery is nearly 100-percent automated. Therefore, if that’s all you’re getting from a parcel auditor, you’re not getting nearly enough. The eye-catching charts and reports on the dashboard? Yep, those are automated, too.
What you should be looking for isn’t a parcel auditor, but a partner.
Forming a Parcel Audit Partnership
The best parcel auditors in the industry (and there are several very good ones) will offer a mix of revenue recovery, technology and live support. Used effectively by the buyer, the right parcel audit partnership can yield significant results that are both measurable and surprisingly cost-effective. Companies that invest in effective small package audit partnerships increase productivity by outsourcing grunt work to their parcel auditor and using the data they receive on the back end to make important business decisions, like changing behavior or reallocating resources.
Rather than becoming bogged down in the minutia of day-to-day cost drivers, they trust their small parcel auditing partner to perform due diligence and notify them proactively of any issues they should be aware of. Often, this represents a perfect partnership, since the parcel auditor is paid based on performance. The customer can rest assured that the parcel auditor is doing its job and will happily pay for the results, since the costs are covered by resources that before were going unnoticed.
Furthermore, optimization opportunities can quickly become huge wins for companies that are invested in the power of the right parcel audit platform. For the same reasons companies outsource their negotiations to teams with more information and experience, companies that build a rapport with a quality parcel audit partner achieve far more financial benefit than those looking for a plug-and-play solution to recoup credits for late deliveries and billing inaccuracies.
In the end, counting on a parcel audit to get your supply chain into shape comes with similar pitfalls to setting the bar at “beach bod.” A gym membership is a logical place to start, but the card they give you to hang on your key chain isn’t fooling anyone into thinking you know what time spin class starts.
And even though you might have to pay a little extra to for a membership that includes a personal trainer, you will be much happier with the results.
Transportation Impact offers industry-leading parcel audit technology. We own our Supply Chain Intelligence Platform; we don’t blind label our parcel audit service through a third party like most other companies. Not only does our parcel audit engine sweep your weekly small package carrier invoices to ensure a maximum return on credits due back to your company, our developers, analysts and customer service representatives are fully dedicated to making constant improvements to our already robust web-based platform.
Click here to receive an instant download with more information, or call one of our friendly in-house experts to schedule a web demo today at (252) 764-2885. Or, if you have 86 seconds to spare, check out this short video: