By Melissa Forman, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer at TriumphPay
For such a fast-moving industry, trucking has traditionally been slower to embrace new technologies. But the tides are turning, and the days of the same old, same old are waning.
The past decade has brought about a technological renaissance of sorts to the trucking industry, gaining even more momentum in 2017 after the ELD mandate went into effect. What was once a contentious debate over the move from paper to electronic logs has ended and has since fueled the industry’s potential for technology adoption in other functional areas.
There’s no better time than now for trucking to embrace technology. Never before have all stakeholders, including drivers, had such an impressive amount of visibility available to them daily.
It’s hard to gain an advantage of any kind in this current environment, as COVID-19 and subsequent labor woes have rendered routine strategies ineffective.
What’s more, driver and warehouse labor shortages and increased costs for materials have throttled supply chain productivity. At a time when logistics needs continue to reach unprecedented levels, including record-setting rejection rates and per-invoice amounts, today’s constrained capacity is unable to keep up to scale.
But industry leaders are finding new ways to gain an upper hand; logistics battles are now being won at the micro level. Technology isn’t only helping companies overcome short-term challenges but is also providing the ability to scale more effectively and efficiently.
In a recent survey on best invoicing practices conducted with FreightWaves, TriumphPay found that close to 52% of respondents have adopted various levels of automation in their paperwork approval and carrier payment process. Approximately 65% are using automation to eliminate paperwork received.
API and secure file transfer integrations, for instance, are now mainstream practices across many industries. The sharing of data across enterprises allows companies to automate a considerable amount of its manual processes.
Choosing not to innovate will likely spell trouble for your operation down the road. Operating inefficient processes are expensive and effectively eat away your bottom line. What’s worse, having fragmented or outdated solutions will detract from your carrier and client experience, likely driving them to your competitors.
Technology, when uninventive and hard to use, can handicap and possibly stunt growth. If a freight broker can’t charge the least amount to the shipper and pay the highest margins to the carrier, then it is going to start losing businesses to the broker next door. That is why it’s evident to embrace innovation.
It’s no longer enough to have just basic technology on hand to manage load and payment transactions. In fact, a great deal of transportation management systems are highly customized or built in-house, which may sound good for your specific operations, but the reality is that it severely limits your ability to communicate with systems or parties outside of your networks.
If everyone else is leveraging technology and automation, but you’re still in the war room with a hundred people out there trying to do it manually or without business-to-business integrations, then you’re not going to be able to cover the load fast enough, operate effectively and ultimately lose the ability to compete.
The same goes for the industry’s factoring companies. The fast pace of logistics today has no patience for paperwork; it’s evident that the future is digital. But similarly, many factoring companies haven’t fully converted to this new way of record keeping as unstructured emails and paper stacks pile up around them. What’s worse, any delays incurred by the factor are felt by its clients too.
In this $75 billion industry, in which validity of data is of the utmost importance, many factors continue to verify invoice data with phone calls and emails to the broker and handle cash application at the invoice level by hand. But access to insightful data allows factoring companies to see a client has been assigned a load and automatically validate the information needed to make purchase decisions. Carriers can easily submit their paperwork, thus giving factors more information to make smarter decisions. Access to ACH remittance data allows the factor to automate the cash application process.
TriumphPay connects brokers, shippers, factors and carriers through advanced solutions to process, settle and manage carrier payments. The frictionless service makes efficient auditing processing for brokerages and factoring companies, amalgamating a source of truth from load data to service carrier clients with increased credibility.
Automation is at the core of the payment platform, making the back office more efficient and less prone to fraudulent activity as it does away with many manual tasks. Its features enable brokers to pay their carrier invoices faster, driving growth and carrier loyalty in the process.
The back office can’t be eliminated entirely, but the work that goes into it can be drastically reduced through automation. Paperwork, often numerous and tedious, no longer needs to bog down post-load activities, as supply chain finance has never been easier. TriumphPay continues to gain market share among brokers, managing carrier payments and providing value to factors along the entire payments journey.
The fast pace of logistics is only going to get faster, rendering paperwork and other back-office processes even more obsolete. With automation through integration attainable for the entire industry, there’s no better time than now to embrace technology.