The Inefficient Supply Chain: Phoned Pickups, Mailed Invoices, and Paper-Driven Processes

Today, most supply chain managers don’t run just a single factory or organize only a few monthly shipments. Modern managers are responsible for thousands of micro-interactions at every stage of the supply chain. And in order to help their company maintain its strategic edge, they need to know what’s happening in real-time to make strategic decisions that maximize efficiency.

The problem? Many supply chain managers are stuck using outdated management and communication tools and processes that hard-wire inefficiencies into their supply chain.

With modern, cloud-based transportation management systems and automation growing more accessible by the day, there’s no longer a reason to just grin and bear it. In fact, most companies can cut costs and increase efficiency in days, not months, by upgrading just three simple procedures—phoned-in pickups, mailed invoices, and paper-driven processes. Here’s how.

Don’t pick up the phone to schedule a pickup

Scheduling pickups over the phone or via manually written emails means introducing multiple points of contact into the process. This always slows things down. And when more complex approval procedures—like customs compliance issues or less-than-truckload shipments—are involved, phoning in pickups can cause the entire supply chain to grind to a halt for days.

But most sluggish pickups aren’t actually caused by complex compliance rules or difficulties ensuring accurate shipments. They’re caused by the phone call itself.

Staff spend precious minutes on the phone, trying to get hold of the right person. Miscommunications happen. Multiple calls are often required. Delays and aggravation are inevitable.

The solution? Get off the phone! Replacing phoned-in pickups with intelligent automation immediately eliminates a cascade of unnecessary steps that can each lead to costly errors and wasted time. And when pickup requests are electronically dispatched, staff are freed up to spend their time on more valuable tasks.

Stop mailing invoices

Paper invoices create some of the most persistent inefficiencies along the supply chain—both internally and with suppliers. But trouble receiving payments is just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is the manual way that invoices are created, sent, and tracked.

Does this sound familiar? Staff frequently have to waste their time mailing invoices to one location for audit and approval, then to another location for payment. The accounting team is overburdened. And as a result, a mountain of invoice exceptions piles up.

It happens at countless companies. And manually created and mailed paper invoices don’t just take longer to process. Often, they also lack validation and compliance information. These common types of invoicing errors then require dozens of back and forth communications to fix—each of which results in delayed carrier payments and frustration on both sides.

Fully automating freight invoice auditing and payments solves all these problems. It also improves accuracy, compliance, visibility, and processing speed—all while building a comprehensive freight invoice database that supply chain managers can use to leverage best-in-class rates on future shipments.

Embrace a paperless process

Just a few years ago, most freight shipments were handled with manual, paper-based systems. Driver logs, bills of lading, manual inspections, signatures in triplicate, and boxes of receipts created procedural backlogs that companies and suppliers had to track, audit, and reference.

These paper-driven procedures create countless errors and inefficiencies. Once upon a time, everyone used to have to operate under the same constraints. But that’s simply not the case anymore, and companies that are sticking with this outdated way of working will struggle to remain competitive in the long run.

The biggest problem with paper-based procedures isn’t just the higher rate of errors, inaccurate shipment, and escalating costs (although they are certainly big problems). What really stings is the fact that companies miss out on the strategic insights and competitive advantages they stand to gain from having a massive pool instantly accessible, real-time data.

Purchase orders, supplier invoices, and inventory receipts are three of the most common places where paper-based procedures cause errors and inefficiencies. Automating each of these steps by embracing a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) not only reduces the potential for errors, but allows companies to gain competitive insights and visibility across the supply chain.

A smarter, more seamless supply chain

In the age of automation, it’s never been easier to create a more reliable, efficient, and competitive supply chain.

CTSI-Global’s industry-leading, web-based TMS platform helps companies upgrade and automate the systems they depend on to regain their competitive advantage. Intelligent automation is baked in, taking repetitive manual tasks out of employees’ hands—so they can focus their energies on more important things.

Don’t let outdated manual systems grind operations to a halt. Contact us today.

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