Streamlining workflow processes is a top priority for businesses. Many companies opt-in for automation to make the most of their time and redirect team members to concentrate their efforts on strategic business-oriented tasks. The inability to incorporate an effective workflow to track business-critical processes is a challenge facing many businesses and logistic operations. When it comes to the shipping world, a good parcel audit workflow will dramatically increase productivity, shift the focus of employees to other priorities and cut costs. Do the following six steps align with your current shipment audit workflow?
Retrieval of carrier invoices
The best auditing service starts with the retrieval of carrier invoices. The process for retrieval of the carrier invoices is company specific. Large companies, multinationals, and Fortune 500 companies, with existing EDI integrations, can open an FTP data pool to pass invoices electronically. This is one way to retrieve the invoices. Another, more common, method is that the shipper provides the parcel auditor with the username and password for the carrier accounts, and the carrier invoices are retrieved by the parcel auditor directly from the carrier websites. Both setups work. The key point is the retrieval of the invoices is 100% automated and that a good parcel auditing service provider, like Share a Refund, supports both options.
Assessment of each shipment
With the carrier invoices in hand, the next step is to audit each shipment. A good audit includes assessing each component cost assigned to any shipment, validating both the application of that component cost and the amount of the related charge, relative to any negotiated discounts. When it comes to residential surcharge fees, Share a Refund analyzes the ‘ship to’ address on each shipment to be sure that the address is indeed a residential address and that the discount on the residential surcharge fee is properly applied. The residential surcharge audit is just one analysis example out of forty which are applied on each shipment during an audit. Once all of the billing mistakes are identified, attention is given to each to ensure that a maximum refund is achieved on each shipment, and sent to the claim submission service. This process is completely hands-off for your business as Share a Refund does all the work behind the scenes.
Filing the claims
The claim submission service involves filing dispute and claims with the carriers for refund. Claims must be submitted almost immediately, as the number of days to submit a claim are limited by each carrier. Any delay can result in lost dollars during this step. The claims must include the proper context within which the carriers have to approve the claims. That means the correct type of claim must be filed, and the amount requested must be for the amount of the billing mistake observed. Going back to the previously mentioned residential surcharge example, if the correct discount was not applied on the residential surcharge then the credit amount request should be for the net amount of the refund reasonably expected. In contrast, if the residential surcharge service fee was applied on a commercial delivery, then the entire amount of the component cost is expected as the credit amount, and the dispute filed includes the amount of the refund requested as such. Put simply, speed, type of refund, context, expected refund amount and also priority are all important considerations when filing claims. And once claims are submitted, they’re sent along to the claim verification service.
Verifying the claims
The claim verification reads the responses of the carriers about the claims submitted. While simple, there are multiple ways that carriers can deliver a response, making the processing of verifying claims increasing complex depending on the scenario. A good auditing system captures all possible response types and handles exceptions intelligently. For example, if dispute for a service failure is rejected, then submitting a dispute on an invalid address correction might be the next appropriate step in one case, whereas in another case, resubmitting the service failure dispute again on that same shipment is better next step, and in yet another case, the best action is to take no further action at all. The intelligent decision engine built into the claim verification system chooses the next appropriate action to take on a shipment. The claim verification system also reconciles each credit or refund to the disputes and claims on that shipment, both to validate actions taken by Share a Refund to get refunds, and to feed the results back into the system for statistical analysis. The claim verification service built into to Share a Refund is a big driver of how refunds are maximized and is a big part of what makes us unique in our approach.
Interactive reporting on robust data
The reporting service distills (collates) all of the recent shipping, auditing and refunding activities into easy-to-read charts. The current and best format we’ve found is to present this information in charts embedded into emails that are sent weekly to the notification contacts listed for a customer. Interactive reports, formatted pdfs and data dump exports for more in-depth reporting and crafty excel work (documents) are available on a reporting dashboard. All of reporting built into Share a Refund is included as a free part of the service. And any refunds reported are the basis for generating invoices as part of the online billing service.
Invoicing made easy
Every online billing system has the basic features. See and pay invoices, See recent payments and download PDF and CSVs. Of course, all of that is built into Share a Refund. Some points worth noting is AutoPay is incorporated into Share a Refund, making payments on invoices easy. Also, each line item on an invoice includes the tracking number where a refund was secured, and hyperlinks to the details page for shipment, where all information, including the actions taken to secure the refund are listed. It helps in the process of verifying refunds and the actions taken by Share a Refund to get those credits. Unlike our competitors, who charge for all refunds that are delivered, even the ones that they took no action on, Share a Refund only splits for refunds on shipments where actions were taken by our system to secure refunds. This results in lower service fees. Check out the video on How to tell if your small parcel auditing company is overcharging you for more information on this topic.
Downloading invoices, the shipment auditing service, the claim submission service, the claim verification service, the reporting service and the online billing service are the core parts of any winning parcel audit. Now you know the signs of a good parcel audit workflow, but are you convinced that you have the right auditor? Check out our recent blog outlining 8 signs you’ve selected the best parcel auditor for more information. Visit Share A Refund to learn more about shipment auditing or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with news about Share a Refund.