How Modern Logistics Companies Are Turning COVID Chaos into Long-Term Business Efficiency
Running an efficient supply chain these days takes more than simply getting a customer’s order to a specified location in the shortest amount of time. There’s always the paperwork to consider. If shipments flowed the same way as the associated paperwork flows, we’d all be hurting for business. But as it is, many firms still manage finances the good old-fashioned way: manually, with some bit of automation thrown in.
According to a 2021 report published by Beanworks (by Quadient), “79% of organizations say that manual data entry and inefficient processes are their biggest challenges. From data entry to chasing approvals, managing accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) can be time-consuming and costly.”
The Struggle is Real
Factor in the mess created by 18+ months of COVID, and a lot of companies still struggle to adapt. With employees working from home, paper-based freight billings mailed to customers often delay payments, incurring penalties and disrupting cash flows. Well-intentioned employees try to pick up the slack by applying personal interpretations of how charges should be coded into the GL, often negatively affecting departmental budgets. If working from home did anything for us, it exposed the gaps and disconnects in the way finance departments typically manage their AP/AR and general ledgers (GL).
Navigating the Shift to TMS
To level set, a transportation management solution (TMS) is a digital platform that helps companies manage and optimize logistics using centralized data as a single source of truth. It works together with core enterprise and warehouse management solutions to synchronize load planning and execution, freight tracking, settlements, and reporting across the full lifecycle of any given load.
Already Have a TMS?
If you have a TMS, you may find that it comes with some basic financial accounting functions that can be integrated to communicate with your finance department. If not, integrating your financial software with your TMS may offer relief. Alternately, your TMS provider may have a finance module you can add that can sync up with finance. Either way, the goal is to get your TMS and financial accounting systems talking, so that billing workflows can automatically recognize rates and invoices for minimal, manual audits and reconciliation.
If you’ve never been through a TMS implementation process, it can be a good idea to find an experienced implementation partner to help you manage the transition.
Need a TMS?
If you decide you need a TMS, we’d begin by mapping your current state of operations to ensure that your TMS communicates effectively with related internal and external systems and matches your financial workflows to minimize disruption upon system launch. We then help you migrate any data currently associated with your operation, including contracts, spreadsheets, historical data, and other details, to ensure that everything flows as expected. Once the software testing and training are complete, we launch the solution. Throughout the transition, business carries on as usual; after the launch, Open Sky Group remains on board to assist with any issues.
The Benefits of a Synchronized Transportation-Finance Workflow
Companies that complete the experience typically report noticeable increases in efficiency, processing speed, and cost savings. Contract rates and other logistical details associated with carriers, customers and shippers need only be input once. All details, including shipment orders, invoices, proofs of delivery (PODs), payments, and other associated information are stored in the TMS for improved access and visibility. Using this model, financial personnel can begin to focus on more relevant business matters, rather than manually tracking errors and exceptions from invoice to payment to GL.
While COVID persists, supply chain operations are not expected to break from the current mode of remote workforce operations. Smart operators are creating new opportunities by adopting forward-looking TMS solutions as part of their technology stacks. Open Sky Group offers the experience and proven methodologies to get you up and running quickly. Why not make your customers and users happier and your life easier by automating your AP/AR/GL workflow with a state-of-the-art TMS?