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June 25 2018

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June 25 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 41 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE EARLY IN ITS history, the freight payment business evolved in response to the tight payment windows imposed upon shippers by surface carriers, both truck and rail. As far back as the 1920s, the primary goals for the industry were to validate freight invoices and facilitate timely payments to preclude consequences such as late fees, cash-only terms, or in some instances, withheld cargoes. While freight audit remains a core component of the process, potential savings delivered by contemporary freight payment providers span a broader spectrum. "Industry averages for cost prevention from an outsourced audit generally range from 1-5 percent," Tom Zygmunt, Cass Information Systems' manager of marketing and business development, said. Savings related to duplicate invoice elimination are another 1-2 percent, but business intelligence and analytics have the potential to reduce future expenses an additional 10 to 20 percent, he explained. The greatest potential for business process efficiencies and cost savings can be derived from the ability to view, interpret, and respond strategically to information from big data levels down to the most granular, shipment-specific. In ever-lengthening global supply chains, Zygmunt noted continued interest from shippers seeking deeper pipeline visibility as well in supply chain finance programs. To help meet needs worldwide Cass maintains offices in Europe, Singapore, and São Paulo. Many providers are seeing their role as accounting functionary develop into more of an integrated, valued logistics partner. Keith Snavely, senior vice president, global sales for nVision Global Technology Solutions, described how his company is utilizing value-creating technology through advanced analytics while enhancing the data they capture from transportation-related invoices. "By cleansing and normalizing data (we allow) our customers to optimize and streamline their overall supply chain," he said. This expands their core service as a single, global provider that processes, audits, and remits payment globally while providing a single, global data warehouse of a client's transportation activity. "Beyond pure transportation costs, duplicate savings, and the cost of conducting the freight audit and payment function in-house, nVision Global offers products and services that provide concrete savings," Snavely said, citing loss and damage claims processing, transportation management systems (TMS) applications, procurement services, as well as consulting services and analytical tools designed to reduce transportation cost. With cloud-based applications proliferating across the board, the payment sector in particular has seen innovative responses. "Cloud-deployed products have dominated (our) evolution in the last two years," CT Logistics' President Allan J. Miner said. He detailed the company's full-suite response that includes the Q4 2016/Q1 2017 release of new and expanded FreitRater® and Lion® software. This coincided with expanded online transportation management systems (TMS) software; FreitWeb LCR® or least-cost rating, which assists with pre- shipment planning; additional professional services capabilities, including an expanded CT TranSaver® SCM service; and a client-facing web suite of user- friendly tools. Connectivity and coverage head the list of innovations at CTSI-Global over the last two years. "We've rolled out a new interface that makes our applications more mobile friendly, something our customers are utilizing with increasing frequency. In addition, our business intelligence tools have been upgraded to help globalize our TMS," President and CEO Ken Hazen said. The e-commerce explosion is generating an entirely new set of challenges. "The shift in direct- to-consumer shipping is increasing costs and driving change in the industry. This results in an increase in parcel shipments, which are significantly more expensive than bulk freight. Our customers are looking for a way to avoid an unfavorable hit to their bottom line, and they are turning to their freight audit payment process to unlock working capital either through operational efficiencies or improved cash flow." Jeff Pape, U.S. Bank's senior vice president of global transportation product and marketing, said. Customers are also demanding more from the data that they collect, Pape said. The company has been delivering enhanced reporting through ad hoc requests and continuous improvements to its reporting suite and recently launched the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index, which goes deeper than a national outlook to provide a regional perspective. "This allows shippers to prioritize certain locations or divisions based on accelerating trends in specific regions," he said. Perhaps no other sector can match the speed of change apparent in information management. The term "evolution" no longer applies in that it suggests a gradual migration to a new paradigm … "revolution" would be more appropriate. In this environment, the exercise of self-reinvention occurs with increasing frequency. With no shortage of competition for the freight payment dollar, the players engage in a continuous process of inventing, implementing, and promulgating their next big service advantage. Particular geographic coverage can be one differentiator for international shippers. "By far our defining edge is that we own and operate seven full-service processing centers on three continents, which allow nVision Global to accommodate our customers' regional, as well as global, requirements," Snavely said. FREIGHT PAYMENT EVOLVES

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