by Cheryl Garcia, regional vice president, Global Transportation Relationship Management, U.S. Bank Freight Payment
In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, organizations were intrigued by the idea that a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) system could meet virtually all of their financial needs. As companies flocked to sign up with the major ERP providers, there was hope those systems could help manage every step of the financial supply chain process. In practice, one size did not fit all, and the promise of a universal solution eluded most organizations.
I see a parallel with today’s transportation management systems (TMS). The market offers a host of TMS products that promise to deliver a complete transportation operations solution. From contract management to route optimization to financial settlement, a TMS can offer dozens of supply chain management tools. Trying to successfully address all needs with one system is a big order to fill. As a bank freight audit and payment provider, we can help fill the gaps and provide unique functionality to improve the productivity of your TMS and maximize your investment.
A freight audit and payment (FAP) system complements and enhances a TMS in many ways. It provides robust, detailed, and specific audit functions to ensure payment accuracy. It enables collaborative, Web-based invoice management with carriers, which expedites processing and payment. Shippers can offer their carriers accelerated payment, while extending their days payable outstanding. Both parties benefit from maximized cash flow.
When a bank freight audit and payment system supplements a TMS, only one EDI connection is needed. Shippers save time and money because the bank connects with individual carriers, eliminating a shipper’s need to build a technical interface with every carrier.
Shippers analyze TMS data to improve spend efficiency. A bank freight audit and payment system can improve the quality of that analysis because payment is made on audited and authorized invoices only. Payment data transmitted from a bank system to the TMS and shipper Accounts Receivable is 100% accurate, and accurate data drives better decision making.
When it comes to transportation management, the decision shouldn’t be a choice between
a TMS and a FAP. The decision should be how to leverage the strengths of both
to enhance your supply chain from beginning to end. If your TMS does everything you need it to, that’s fantastic. But sometimes you can’t get everything in one neat package. That’s okay. Don’t be afraid to seek out complementary solutions that will improve your business.
My advice? If you’re considering a new TMS, bring us into the conversation sooner rather than later. Our customers rely on us for trusted advice as well as payment solutions expertise. We can help you consider solutions that provide the best value to your organization.
Cheryl Garcia leads the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Global Relationship Management team, providing international payment solution expertise to both public and private sector customers. Cheryl combines more than 25 years of global transportation and supply chain optimization experience with MBA and BBA Finance degrees, and is a CPA and a Project Management Professional (PMP). Thoughts to share? Email Cheryl or connect at linkedin.com/in/cherylgarcia1/