Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Parcel Audit Software
Choosing which parcel audit software is right for your company can be a difficult choice. At face value, it may seem hard to differentiate potential vendors. Every parcel audit software on the market has the same core functions, identifying refunds and organizing your parcel data.
Unless you've already worked with multiple parcel audit companies in the past, it's hard to tell how one software could possibly be that much different than another. But each potential provider is different, whether it be the features they offer or their level of customer service. So when trying to find the best fit for your company, ask these 4 questions to see what sets potential vendors apart.
1. Is it a Human Backed Audit?
Easily one of the most important questions to ask any potential vendor is whether or not the audit is human-backed. Meaning after the software does its job, an actual human being is looking at the results and manually calling your carrier to get refunds which you deserve.
Parcel Audit Software uses algorithms to scan your carrier invoices and catch potential refunds, and then automatically submits requests for those refunds to your carrier. For many providers, this is where their job ends. But a quality audit shouldn't stop there.
Ultimately, your carrier will end up initially denying roughly half of those requests. And while some of the denied refunds may be valid, you can have anywhere from 25-50% of denials overturned and refunded if you call your carrier to dispute the claim.
Adding this second step to the audit process is crucial and will typically net you 50% more refunds than audits that stop at the first stage. So this should be the first question you ask any potential vendor your'e vetting.
2. Do they support all of the carriers you ship with?
A fairly large proportion of shippers exclusively use Fedex and/or UPS. And in turn, most parcel audit platforms only support Fedex and UPS, some support DHL and USPS also, and a select few will support a host of smaller regional carriers as well.
If I was a betting man, I would assume that if you’re reading this, the vast majority of your shipments go out via UPS or FedEx. But if USPS, DHL, or regional carriers make up even 5-10% of your total shipping spend the loss of refunds will be significant if you choose a vendor that does not support all your carriers. Additionally, one of the key benefits a parcel audit provides is giving you a wholistic view of your shipping costs. If you can’t upload data from all of your carriers than your leaving your decision makers without valuable and potential cost saving data.
If you do ship close to exclusively with Fedex and/or UPS, this one might not be a dealbreaker for you. However, if all else is equal between two companies your'e considering, being able to add additional carriers in the future could be a valuable feature.
3. Does it support any custom development or integrations you may need
Think about any possible integrations or auxiliary features you might want and make sure they are supported by the vendor you select. Some common features people look for might be integrations with accounting/bookkeeping software to automate GL coding, or a match pay function with your TMS/WMS systems.
The market for supply chain and logistics software as a whole is lagging in terms of integrations compared to other cloud based software markets. While it’s common for marketing, finance, or ERP software to come out of the box with a host of plug and play integrations, this isn’t the case when it comes to supply chain software. Few, if any parcel audit platforms will come with pre-built integrations to your other systems. So if this is an important feature to you, make sure to ask parcel audit companies whether or not they are capable of developing any necessary integrations.
4. Does the reporting meet your needs?
Aside from the refunds, the dashboard and reporting platform is the next most important piece of a parcel audit software. The reporting portion of a parcel audit takes the data from all your disperse carrier invoices and stores it in one place where any employee can be given access. They also come along with a host of pre-built reports and dashboards to track certain KPI's. Over the years you'll likely be using your selected software, you'll probably realize that the benefits and cost savings from this portion of the software far outweigh the actual refunds.
So it's important to ensure that the reporting capabilities meet your specific needs. Make sure you get a demo of the software. Before the demo, make sure that you and anyone else who will be using the software knows what KPI's are important to them and need to be tracked. Go into the demo knowing what types of reports are important to you and make sure that they are offered.