The invoice matching process is typically associated with accuracy. A supply chain business partner performs a service, and the invoice they submit should correctly reflect what was delivered in that agreed upon service.
While it sounds simple enough, times have changed. In today’s complex, global supply chain, operations don’t always go as planned. Logistics service providers frequently encounter delays and unforeseen events that incur charges and ultimately alter the scope of the original estimate of costs.
Current technology enables supply chain software to move beyond simpler paradigms, helping shippers save precious time and already thinning margins.
Let’s take a look at the difference between static and dynamic invoice matching, which can offer shippers a 10 – 15% boost to the bottom line of freight and logistics cost.
Static Invoice Matching Perpetuates Hidden Costs & Poor Performance
When outsourcing logistics, shippers might contract a 3PL or carrier to handle delivery services to a customer, agreeing on basic elements such as freight and fuel. Once the service is complete, the shipper’s finance department will receive a bill and typically use an ERP or general ledger system to process the invoice.
Sound simple enough?
When all goes according to plan, yes. These systems check accuracy in terms of amounts and volumes: If those figures line up, the invoice is deemed valid. But what if unforeseen factors arise and the actual movements don’t go as planned?
What if, for example, the 3PL or carrier incurs detention and other accessorial charges?
ERPs are not designed to accept these line level detailed charges, so they usually require customization and typically incur a lot of manual work. Shippers must collect the data on these various different charges, enter the information into spreadsheets, then transfer that data into the ERP. Data collection and repeat transfers are not only time consuming, but it’s also where errors occur, leading to mismatches between the expected payment on the invoice and what the shipper believes they should be paying.
Static systems are not equipped to handle today’s dynamic supply chain ecosystem where uncertainty and unexpected events in logistical operations are the new normal.
Dynamic Invoice Matching Helps Boost Revenues & Operational Excellence
A Control Tower platform built for supply chain orchestration provides shippers with valuable financial capabilities, like dynamic invoice matching. Because the Control Tower digitally captures every cost at every touch point, it can check invoice accuracy with incredible speed and precision.
No customization and manual intervention needed.
While most Control Towers only span the logistical side of execution, a Control Tower for orchestration spans the entire supply chain ecosystem beyond logistics. As a holistic system, it provides shippers with a more comprehensive picture, including previously hidden costs.
Because events and costs are meticulously tracked and recorded throughout the course of the operations, all expenses – dimensions, payloads, tariffs – are already itemized and can be matched quickly. Afterward, the invoice is released as payable at the ERP level.
Shifting from intensive manual labor to smart, automated processing will save shippers substantially on their overall freight spend, reducing as much as 15% through dynamic invoice corrections.
Since charges are itemized and can be reported by charge type or cost type, shippers can also better navigate cost-efficiency. If shippers spot that a particular category, like fuel, is high or notice trends, such as regular invoice errors by a specific 3PL, they can shift their approach, negotiate rates with those third parties, and continuously improve their supply chain planning, execution, and carrier selection.
Beyond Invoice Matching: Achieving a Full Cost-to-Serve Picture
For a comprehensive, cost-to-serve picture, your supply chain software should provide a unified view of all supply chain operations costs. A Control Tower that spans the entire supply chain ecosystem (from sourcing through execution) will be able to capture different types of rates and report on all elements of supply chain costs, including handling, logistics, customs, and storage.
In addition to continuously enhancing the quality of their logistics network through accountability, scorecards, and KPIs, shippers with a real-time, holistic view of costs can drastically improve their decision-making about where to source a product from, how to optimally fulfill an e-commerce order, or the best way to route a shipment.
As part of a Supply Chain Orchestration Platform, MPO’s Control Tower empowers shippers to control costs, improve operational excellence, and dynamically and intelligently partner with their network to stay resilient, adaptive, and better mitigate risk and impact. Download the white paper to learn more.