What you need to know about parcel audit

This video and article detail small parcel auditing, specifically what you need to know about selecting the right small parcel auditing company for your business.

Introduction

Agenda

  1. Technology
  2. Pricing
  3. Quality
  4. Security
  5. Analysis

In conversations with shipping specialists, the word “expert” is used all too frequently following the words parcel and audit, and be cautious around anyone who uses the word “expert”, as it’s usually a sign of the contrary. Upon investigation, there was not an exact product match on the market, so the organization proceeded to put a few years of time into building a shipment auditing product that did small parcel auditing, dispute submission, and refund recovery better than anyone else.

Now, was there a lot of learning along the way? Of course, and through that, it is now known that parcel auditing isn’t rocket science.

In fact, building a great parcel auditing solution is more about deploying the right technology first, and parcel auditing second. As an analogy, think of ride-sharing services like Lyft and UBER. In contrast to the “experts” in the parcel industry, The word “expert” isn’t listed on any marketing materials for Lyft or UBER. Put simply, they don’t claim to be experts in ride sharing. They also aren’t a car manufacturer. They’re technology companies, that disrupted entire industries by building great technology products. In like manner, the best parcel auditing company has the best in class technology, and based on that premise, selecting the right small parcel auditing company for your business is all about finding the best tech. 

But get ready for a head fake: every company claims to be an expert and have the best technology. So this is how to cut through the noise and get to the best in class provider.

Here’s how to find the best shipment auditing provider based on having the best technology:

1. Technology

Look for public recognition of technological innovation and disruption.

Take Share a Refund for example. Winner of a $100k cash prize, the largest cash prize ever awarded to an app developer, by the technology titan, Intuit, maker of QuickBooks, Mint and TurboTax.

What better way to know who has the best tech than by looking for a company that’s been awarded prizes for technology by the technology giants. Easiest way through this point is to ask: What technology awards have you won? Super important.


2. Pricing

Look for a low barrier to entry. Technology can and should be deployed with no upfront costs. You didn’t pay upfront to watch it. There were no lengthy signup forms. No one has to get back to you shortly. No experts had to be called in to scope the engagement. Small parcel auditing as a service should be easy to engage, and there doesn’t need to be a monetary exchange after some big dog and pony show just to get started.

The service should easy to turn off. No long-term agreements, exit periods or closing costs. To point, be extremely leery of anyone asking you to sign a contract. Just think, who brought up the word contract in the first place, you or the service provider? Going back to the UBER and Lyft examples, did you sign some long-term contract with a penalty of early exit when you downloaded those apps? No way. Good tech has good terms, and good small auditing companies don’t require long-term contracts. If your’s does, it’s probably a sign of bad tech and not the right provider for you.


3. Quality

Investigate the audit. In other words,  understand the inner workings of the audit, in an attempt to determine if the system running the audit is qualified. Unused shipping labels, for example, cost money, and voiding them is a good attribute to look for. Here’s another one, invalid residential surcharges. These happen all the time, the driver is running late, needs to get a signature on a commercial delivery, but there’s no one at the front desk. So what does he do? He clicks the residential surcharge box on his hand-held device and moves on, all the while, charging you, the shipper 3 bucks. What’s more, these $3 billing mistakes are impossible to get without an automated system to catch the mistakes and file the claims.

Again, a great thing to look for when investigating the audit. Ultimately, the more auditing that occurs each shipment, the more potential for finding refunds. Share a Refund, for example, audits 40 plus different items on each shipment. Here’s an example of a more complex auditing point: Billing mistakes related to fuel discounts that on third-party shipments.

True story: a customer was overpaying a carrier by more than $100k annual on fuel, because the shippers discount was being used on the shipment.

Finding such points is what investigating the audit is all about. And to explore just one level deeper, the audit should be flexible to handle the waivers specific to your carrier agreement. Take late packages as an example. A recent customer had a waiver on ground shipments, where a package wasn’t considered late unless it was over 2 days late. On first take, it might seem that such waivers would preclude filing claims on any ground packages whatsoever, but more packages are delivered more than 2 days late then you might expect, and the ability to only file claims on ground packages that are only more than 2 days late is a sign of a good auditing system. In summary, knowing what is included in the audit and digging in on understanding the flexibility that’s built into the auditing system, will tell you a lot about the quality of the technology running under the hood.


4. Security

Dig into security. The quality of your data isn’t as safe with some companies. And unfortunately, like good tech, every auditor will tell you that they have good security. It couldn’t be further from the truth. And this point is best illustrated by a true story.

A call center, halfway around the world called Share a Refund asking for business. They claimed to be making calls for shipment auditing companies into the carriers to get refunds on late packages. Really? I said. How does it work? He went on to say that auditing companies send customer shipping invoices via email or dropbox, and the calls to be made were divided up across the 100 phone reps, reported and sent back to the auditing companies. Shocking, truly.

Customers wouldn’t like to know that all of their data, customer names, addresses, phone numbers, discounting in pricing agreements, all of it, was being transmitted back and forth to a call center. And if that point doesn’t galvanize the lack of security that exists in some operations, then know that when the call center salesman was asked to send an example document, he sent a shipping invoice from a company, with all the details of every shipment included within. To this point, ask this question. Does my shipping information ever leave your servers?


5. Analysis

Moving on to the last and final tip for selecting a good auditing company, Ask for an analysis. This point touches on many of the items above, and quickly showcases the savings potential that could / would have been secured by an auditing company. This is a great way to evaluate auditing companies against one another and can and should be used to evaluate your existing auditing company against the better, technology-forward service providers that are on the market today, like Share a Refund.


Updated on June 5, 2020

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