Success Story: Excell Marketing and Procurement Group Automates Payment Reconciliation Through Member Portal
Client initiated an engagement with Brainspire to address the payment and reconciliation processes. The goal of the project was two-fold: • Eliminate the “payment window” restrictions, allowing members to make a payment at any time. • Automate the reconciliation processes, to eliminate time consuming manual tasks. • Brainspire enhanced the client’s existing customer portal site to make necessary changes and improvements to support new initiatives. • Updated invoice list and payment processing UI, to provide members a more robust interface. Members can now see the monetary impact choosing different payment dates, and the effect of applying or forgoing available discounts. • Enhanced “web session” integration with 3rd party bank provider, to provide data integrity and validation, removing a major source of reconciliation errors.
Customers can now pay invoices any day. They are no longer constrained by the arbitrary bi-weekly “payment window” deadlines. This leads to customers having the ability to select payment dates and take advantage of any available discounts due to vendor payment terms.
Modifications to the Member Portal now enforce payment validation rules when interfacing with the 3rd party Bank payment service. This was previously a major source of discrepancies; for example, payment dates being transposed, or a payment amount missing a digit. Now the payment amount and date that are selected in the Member Portal are passed programmatically to the Bank service, preventing dual adta entry.
With the automated remittance comparison tools, reconciliation is nearly completely automated, and manual intervention is only required on exception cases. The process can be completed in a matter of minutes each day. Prior to implementation, customer payment reconciliation processes required multiple full workdays of effort, by multiple employees on the accounting staff.
Reducing the waste associated with manual reconciliation, the client has achieved flexibility with staffing and is able to reallocate resources and effort to higher value work.
A key metric identified by the client was Tender Acceptance rate. A “tender offer” is when a transportation provider is offered the opportunity to accept and transport a load on behalf of the shipper. The client has negotiated contract rates with various transportation carriers. Also there are times when a load must be tendered to the “open market” on a spot bid basis, rather than at a contract rate.
The team delivered a “Tender Acceptance” dashboard, providing insight into the carrier acceptance rate. Waste is introduced into the transportation processes in both dollars and time, when carriers decline loads. The dashboard provides visibility into both aggregate performance, as well as performance of individual carriers and specific shipping lanes. This data provides information about the impact of lead time and the cost of not achieving the optimal or first choice carrier.
Another key requirement identified by the client was to provide insight between their transportation service charges and how they compare to overall market rates during the same time period.
Utilizing a data source from a 3rd party data provider, the team delivered a “Market Comparison” dashboard. This dashboard contains visual tools to identify specific shipping lanes where the client has either negotiated rates that are favorable when compared to the overall market, or where the client is currently spending over market rate to service certain destinations. At the time of delivering the solution, when comparing the most recent month of transportation spend, the dashboard identified over $1MM of recurring monthly savings and highlighted the specific transportation lanes that provide the most potential for negotiation and improvement.
Other dashboards and visualizations were created to provide additional insight into shipping volume, rate of utilization of automation tools, and other KPI’s identified by the client.