Closing the Information & Payment Loop in LTL

When you speak to any executive that has been in the LTL market for two years or more, they will likely tell you that of the top five pain points in the industry, two are the following:

  • Getting accurate information from customers 
  • Getting paid for services in a timely manner

These items also happen to be two of the key problems that Navix solves for.

Carriers send invoices via various methods, including email, snail mail, and EDI, but disputes, payments, and communication occur through a mix of emails, phone calls, and electronic transfers. Some shippers and 3PLs even rely on paper checks.

Most carriers have built out sophisticated systems around collecting shipment data that then tips into accurately invoicing customers quickly so that cash can be collected. This is highly important given the level of capital intensiveness involved with being an asset based LTL carrier. While this process is very strongly automated for carriers, it tends to be a challenge for shippers and 3PLs in the LTL space.  

Any time you have an imbalanced system with one end of it much more efficient than the other, you will typically end up in disarray and some level of chaos. Think of water pouring into a boat through a large hole, with just a single sailor and a small bucket tasked with keeping it out.  They may be able to successfully move some of the water back to where it came from, but a lot of the remaining output will be a general thrashing around that merely redistributes the water into various sections of the boat.  It may look productive, and it may temporarily balance some of the additional weight but it’s primarily wasted energy and results in more work for everyone.

This analogy nicely describes how the LTL invoice churn of dispute queues, emails, and missing information turns into an anti-flywheel which results in late carrier payments, balance dues or credits being issued, and frozen cashflow for all service providers involved.  These variables are why there is continually a cycle of pain in the LTL invoice ecosystem.

While it’s difficult to quantify precisely, there is undeniable anecdotal evidence suggesting that LTL invoices tend to progress more smoothly when the numbers match. If discrepancies do arise, they are often caught and rectified quickly. Effective collaboration plays a crucial role in this process, as opposed to relying solely on back-and-forth emails. Furthermore, carriers are generally more willing to assist with shipments that are still in progress, rather than those that have already been delivered and finalized.

Invoice, audit and payment in LTL has typically been seen as a wall of sorts. One with multiple gaps and cracks, where incorrect information seeps through or pertinent details fleet away. Navix works as a two-way window that filters and gleans from information being passed both ways and promotes quick resolution with favorable results.

In the complex world of LTL, those gaps and cracks often hamper efficiency: seamless invoice auditing and integration. While carriers invest in API integrations, many customers prefer to operate within their existing ERP, WMS, or TMS platforms without having the current level of connectivity required for eBOL’s, disputes, and invoice processing. This divide leads to a fragmented invoicing loop with major gaps.

At the end of the day, being proactive with LTL carrier partnerships and technology integrations to better align the information being passed back and forth between your company and theirs will prove to apply compounding leverage to the entire equation.  This will result in the invoice flywheel spinning faster and faster – leading to optimized cash flow for carriers and brokers.