Managing giant amounts of data is nothing new for the transportation and logistics industry. It’s always been a part of their day-to-day operations and that trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. However, these firms need to be prepared to not just stick with business as usual but instead, invest in digital capabilities and improved technologies to continue driving and delivering growth. Read this blog and learn why AP automation may be the next best step in your T&L company’s digital journey.
Bring AP out of the dark ages with automated accounts payables
The transportation and logistics (T&L) industry traditionally has been driven by an emphasis on operational excellence, process improvements, and a focus on cost minimisation. Margin pressures and increasing commoditisation of services are creating a need to transform the business from a set of standard transactions to a flexible array of solutions-based offerings.
However, modern, back office technology is now allowing transportation and logistics companies to rid their accounts payable teams of inefficiencies and streamline their operations. This is especially critical for roles responsible for keeping cash flowing, securing cost savings, and reducing risk. So why are so many finance and AP operations still relying on paper invoices and antiquated systems?
As the technology around us continues to evolve and introduce new solutions to our personal lives, doesn’t it make sense to transition these same tech-savvy behaviors to back-office processes and tasks? Reliance on paper-based and time-consuming manual AP processes exposes an increased opportunity for errors, exceptions, and lengthy invoice processing cycles. These result in late payments and lost discounts—two things not feasible in a world where cash flow visibility and spend control are vital.
Forbes revealed that in order for T&L businesses to keep up with the demand of growing e-commerce channels and consumer demand, they’ll need to invest in their warehouses and distribution centers and increase the development and implementation of advanced supply chain and logistics processes.
By implementing a centralised platform that consolidates all your data and provides 100% visibility, your AP staff can focus on more value-added activities such as analysing spend patterns, strategically managing supplier relationships, and developing a roadmap for AP and Finance based off 100% of your transactional data.
Touchless processing, increased efficiencies with Basware AP automation
There’s a lot your transportation and logistics business can gain from automating and digitising finance and AP operations. Without having to depend on outdated AP processes and paper invoices, operations keep flowing as usual – regardless of what’s happening in the global economic climate. From a compliance standpoint, it’s easy to keep all your information organised and safe for any potential audits in a secured but easy-to-access digital, invoice repository. Automating processes and bringing AP into the digital era for all opens the door to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and a conversational UX.
By automating AP processes with Basware, a business could process nearly all their invoices, 95% or even higher, without human intervention.
For example, these invoice processes can be fully automated to get your organisation well on its way to a touchless utopia.
1. INVOICE RECEIPT: Consolidation of the receipt of all invoices in any format from suppliers – including EDI and XML electronic invoices, emailed PDFs, and even paper – in a central system, with support for attachments such as proof of delivery, bill of lading and any accessorial charges.
2. DATA CAPTURE: Processing of all invoices to extract the needed information by leveraging advanced technologies like machine learning (including OCR for paper invoices, as needed) and store the data in your centralised system.
3. INVOICE MATCHING: Increasing touchless process of invoices and minimising exceptions through the use of advanced matching functionality, which can also handle additional costs not on the original purchase order, such as all accessorial charges.
4. CODING & APPROVAL: Automating the coding and approval process through the use of intelligent routing and SmartCoding (leveraging historical invoices to determine the coding of even non-PO invoices).
5. SETTLEMENT: Issuing of payment to supplier or raise an issue (like a duplicate charge) for correction before the release of payment.
(Read more in our report “Backing In’ to Improve Procure-to-Pay (P2P) ROI”)
How Basware customer, Star Track Express, achieved greater agility and speed
Star Track Express is a leading Australian Transportation and logistics business that has grown rapidly over the past 30 years. Because of their size and complexity, it was taking them an average of 23 days to move invoices from its 30+ branch offices to the National Office, and a disturbingly high number of invoices were lost in the process. This resulted in high levels of frustration for suppliers and staff, time wasted on inquiries, fixing errors, and manual document tracking. The delays and errors resulted in the company being unable to meet its service level agreement of invoices being paid on time.
That’s why they decided to automate AP with Basware. Now, all invoices are mailed or emailed directly to the accounts payable department, where they are scanned and matched to purchase orders. They are then instantly available to branch employees for exception handling, checking, and approval, and then to the National Office for review and payment.
Thanks to Basware, the purchase-to-pay paper trail has been eliminated. Filing cabinets that once held over 400,000 purchase orders and invoices have simply disappeared — And with the data now centrally located and available at the click of a mouse, AP departments can make more strategic decisions and use insights to drive their operations.
Why DHL chose Basware to automate processes
When DHL chose Basware to reduce team workloads and simplify reporting on a global scale their goal was to standardise and automate their full AP processes across more than 100 countries.
"We wanted to look at the global process to follow and global policies to adhere to, and what systems need to support that process" – Gabrielle Philippens, BPO Consultant, DHL
To date, they have successfully implemented Basware in 50 countries, with anywhere between two and six more countries being switched over each month.
"These rollouts are happening quite smoothly and always on time." – Gabrielle Philippens, BPO Consultant, DHL
Not only has Basware managed to help them make their whole payments process simpler, but they can also now instantly extract reporting data globally, meaning that like-for-like comparisons between countries are now easier. All the KPIs are measured and are comparable across entities, which helps decision-makers improve their processes even further.
DHL is just one example of Basware’s ability to deliver solutions that span the full procure-to-pay process on a global scale with all the associated benefits including full visibility, improved reporting, and the value of having data at decision-makers’ fingertips.
Download the full case study to find out more about:
Why the close working partnership between DHL and Basware has been critical to success
What lessons have been learned throughout the process
How it has been possible to roll out Basware hand-in-hand with an upgrade, or while moving to another ERP.
Download Brochure: Basware solutions for Transportation and Logistics firms
Automating your AP and procurement processes with Basware means lower processing costs, fewer exceptions, fewer manual tasks, and the ability to redirect limited resources to more strategic activities. Read more to explore the benefits of Basware solutions.