Onboarding a parcel audit software is a relatively quick and easy process compared to that of other enterprise shipping software. Once you've chosen a vendor and connected your carrier accounts to their platform, they'll typically do the rest of the legwork for you.
Thus, the largest requirement from you when onboarding a parcel audit is deciding which company to use. This can be a pretty confusing decision since most companies and platforms seem so similar. Every parcel audit platform performs the same essential function, checking your carrier invoices and getting you refunds. So how do you decide which of the dozens of parcel audit companies are right for your business? Other than comparing price, ask these 4 questions to help determine which platform is right for you.
1. Is it a Human Backed Audit?
One of the first questions you should ask a potential Parcel Audit vendor is whether or not their audit is human backed. Meaning, after the software does it’s job, catches billing mistakes and files and initial refund request, is there an actual team of humans monitoring your refunds and calling your carrier to manage disputed claims.
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 some providers this is where their job ends, but a quality parcel audit should go a step further.
After your carrier receives the refund requests automated by a parcel audit software, they’ll ultimately deny a large portion of the initial requests, sometimes as many as half of the refund requests will be denied. Some of these denials may be valid, but roughly 25-50% of claims denied by your carrier can be disputed in person and overturned to grant you a refund.
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 you’re vetting.
2. Is it Scalable And Does It Support All Your Carriers
The second questions you’ll want to ask is whether or not an audit platform supports all the carriers you use, and whether or not it will be able to scale with the growth of your business and future transportation needs.
A large portion of shippers send parcel almost exclusively through FedEx and UPS. As a result, a large portion of parcel audit platforms only support FedEx and UPS. Some will support DHL and USPS as well, and a smaller portion will support a host of regional and specialty carriers.
If you’re like most shippers, you probably use FedEx or UPS for the vast majority of your parcel shipments. However, if even 5 - 10% of your packages ship via an alternative carrier, you’ll want to make sure that you select a provider that supports those carriers. While it might not make a massive difference in your refunds, one of the most important benefits of a parcel audit is the visibility it gives you over your parcel shipping operations. If even 5% of your total parcel spend is left out of the data, you won’t have a wholistic view to make decisions based on.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider your future needs. If there’s any chance you might start using new or different carriers in the future, you’ll want to choose a parcel audit platform that can scale with your business. The onboarding process for a new vendor is time consuming and expensive, so you don’t want to make a selection that you may have to change in the future.
3. Does it support any custom development or integrations you may need
Think about what other software you’ll want the parcel audit platform to work with. Some common integrations are with your’ accounting/bookkeeping software to perform automated GL coding, or with your TMS/WMS system to perform a match-pay function.
The market for supply chain and logistics software as a whole is lagging in terms of integrations compared to other cloud based software markets. Unlike marketing, finance, or ERP software, most parcel audit platforms aren’t going to come out of the box with pre-built integrations to other software you are using.
In the current market, if you want to integrate your parcel audit platform with other software, it will have to be through a custom development. If this is important to you, ensure that the vendor you choose is willing and capable of meeting your integration needs.
4. Does the reporting meet your needs?
You started looking into the parcel audit market because you wanted to save money on shipping. Parcel audit platforms get you refunds from every invoice, which is great. But more often than not, the larger value a parcel audit brings to the table is its reporting and analytic capabilities.
Over the years you’ll be using a parcel audit software, the soft savings as a result of increased oversight will almost always outweigh the hard savings delivered via refund. Thus, it’s important not to overlook the reporting platform of each parcel audit provider, and make sure that the one you select meets your needs.
Before selecting a provider, ask yourself what your reporting needs are. How many users will you need? Will different users needs different levels of permission and access to different data? What reports are you hoping to receive? Going into talks with these questions answered will help you select a provider that works best for you in the long run and saves your business the most money.