Overview

XPO Logistics is a US-based multinational transportation and contract logistics company that manages supply chains for a large customer base. With approximately 100,000 employees, they operate in all major countries of the world.

Opportunity

With automation growing exponentially, businesses are looking at RPA to overcome the burden of voluminous data challenges, eliminating manual effort, and freeing up the human worker to focus on more value-added tasks.

It’s hardly surprising that the transportation and logistics industry is leveraging automation to improve supply chain cycle time, ensure order and billing accuracy, eventually optimizing operations in the long run.

Likewise, the organization was looking to leverage automation across three broad areas — vendor management, invoice processing, and logistics operations, streamlining operations end to end, and opening up opportunities for scaling up.

Vendor Management:

XPO Logistics wanted to automate its Supply Chain Management (SCM), from vendor compliance to delivery of operational requirements, to enhance control and visibility throughout the value chain.

Collections process:


Sales/carrier representatives often took a long time after completing deliveries to move orders into ‘Ready-to-Bill’ (RTB) and ‘Ready-to-Pay’ (RTP) status, respectively. Additional time was necessary to sort out issues such as missing documentation and unexpected fees.

However, in most cases, this was unnecessary and the delay from sales reps led to increasing Days-to-Bill and Days-Sales-Outstanding metrics, directly impacting the overall cash flow.

Vendor creation:


Claims processing was tedious with repetitive manual tasks like vendor profile creation across several vendors.

The process involved collecting data from disparate sources and creating/verifying vendor profiles by processing many business rules, making the entire process lengthy, time-consuming, and error-prone.

Invoice Processing:

One of the major challenges for shipping and logistics industry is streamlining invoice processing. The organization was looking to not only update a massive number of orders but also monitor pending voices as effectively as possible.

Invoice process:


The process involved many steps like searching for invoice number in customer website, getting status details, updating aging report, and uploading on database.

Due to the lengthy manual process, managing unbilled invoices that were not under dispute was a challenge. A manual process with many repetitive tasks, it led to inefficiencies, errors, and a lack of standardized invoice management.

Processing unbilled invoices:


Processing unbilled customer invoices (that were not part of disputed cases) took up significant time and effort of account executives.

There were delays in updating the status of these claims to the business intelligence teams due to the manual effort.

Processing unbilled invoices for LTL/TL presentation & claims process:


Processing claims was highly manual and involved repetitive processes.

Preparing the claims presentation sheet for LTL (less than truck load), TL (truck load) was completely done by account executives and hence time-consuming.

The LTL claims process also had several steps and required significant effort to complete.

Logistics Operations

On-time shipping helps improve efficiency and reduces operational costs significantly. XPO Logistics wanted to apply RPA to ensure timely deliveries, thereby improving customer experience and revenue recognition.

Timely order status updates:


Tracking & updating customer websites/portals for shipment status was manual, time-consuming, and an outdated process, leading to delays and errors.

To improve customer experience, the organization wanted to increase the frequency and quality of order status updates to customers.

Spot bidding process:


XPO Logistics was looking to get the best price to make good margins for non-surface transportation. With visibility into typical customer load pattern, they were able to place spot bids based on the patterns on partner websites.

However, the process for spot bids was manual and had to be executed with speed and accuracy to ensure maximum impact. The price estimation from the process was then used by stakeholders to engage with customers and pitch to prospects.

Accurate fuel charges billing:


Collecting accurate fuel consumption data for trips made was time-consuming and error-prone. It involved manual cross referencing of data and estimation of fuel surcharge.

As a result of this, there was invoice inaccuracy, billing gaps, and errors. Incorrect updates in fuel charges lead to writing off huge amounts, causing significant financial loss in the long term.

Solution

All the processes/use cases were automated end-to-end with the help of AssistEdge RPA bots.

Vendor Management:

Collections process:

Vendor creation

Invoice Processing:

Invoice process:

Processing unbilled invoices

Processing unbilled invoices for LTL/TL presentation & claims process:

Logistics Operations

Timely order status updates:

Spot bidding process:

Accurate fuel charges billing:

Outcome

Vendor Management
Collections process Vendor creation
Reduced Annual Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) of over USD 2 Million Automatic creation of Vendor Profiles in Oracle for Last Mile
In the first few weeks, XPO Logistics saw a reduction of orders worth over $300,000 that were delivered but yet to be billed Eliminated all manual work required managing and creating vendor profiles
Streamlining the order management process helped improve the overall cash flow significantly Ensured data accuracy and speed of process execution
Invoice Processing
Invoice process Processing unbilled invoices Processing unbilled invoices for LTL/TL presentation & claims process
Enabled immediate invoice dispute resolution, eliminating 3-4-month delay in the process Reduced processing time by 2 mins/order, enabling significant cost savings Enabled over 100+ person-hour savings per month
Increased visibility into invoice disputes. XPO Logistics was able to freshly uncover over $8 million in disputes, improving cash flows Enabled a savings of around 400 hours per year Cleared a backlog of over 4500 claims in a matter of few days
Completely automated the collections process leading to better dispute management & cash flow Delivered an ROI of $10K annually Delivered significant productivity gains and improvement in quality metrics. Added $20K per year on EBITDA
Logistics Operations
Timely order status updates Spot bidding process Accurate fuel charges billing
Continuously monitor orders on customer website & update TMS with the current location Enabled savings of over 500 person-hours per month Saved processing time by approximately 2 minutes per order leading to an ROI of US $40,000 per year
Reduced time for order status check by 4 mins per order, resulting in a total savings of 2500 hours annually

Increased the number of bids placed in a day by 1.5X.

Automated the processing of over 500 bids in a single day

Automatic updates of fuel accessorial fees to Freight Optimizer orders for certain customers
Frequent and accurate location updates improved the overall customer experience Delivered significant productivity gains and improvement in quality metrics. Added $200K per year on EBITDA Accurate invoicing lead to quicker payments from customers

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