Genie Crooms, Chief Operations Officer
The benefits of freight auditing software and systems are well-touted, but shippers should be aware that all freight audits are not created equal! Freight audits using automated, technology-only products provide just a partial solution to billing and payment problems. It is true that standard freight auditing software solutions—which exist as standalone products or as a capability within a broader transportation management system (TMS)—are designed to identify basic issues such as missing payments, overbilling, and chargebacks at the early stages of the freight payment process. These solutions allow for the automation of freight bill reviews using rate engines and reduce the perceived need for any human intervention. The sole dependence on technology or algorithm-based software for such functions, however, does have a dark side. The identification of freight invoice problems and discrepancies outside the norm often go unchecked and unnoticed.
American Truck & Rail Audits, Inc. (AMTR), a leading provider of expert-based freight auditing services, fills this void by taking a Smart Auditing® approach that combines technological innovation with human expertise to deliver the best of both worlds. With a specialty in after-payment (post) audits, AMTR continues to integrate advanced technologies such as data mining and AI into its auditing processes. The fact that human transportation experts lead each audit is what differentiates the company from its competitors. The AMTR audit model reflects ideas posited by author, Nicholas Carr, who, in the title of his Atlantic (2013) article, asserted, “All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines”. In this piece, he reflected, “We learn by doing. When we stop doing, we start forgetting…an expert can spot patterns, evaluate signals, and react to changing circumstances with speed and precision that can seem uncanny.” According to AMTR Chief Operations Officer, Genie Crooms, “AMTR channels this same credo by leveraging technology with the power of expert knowledge to deliver superior audit services and the highest freight overcharge recovery rate in the industry for our clients.” The company offers audits across all modes of transport but specializes in truck and rail.
Leveraging over 35 years of experience, AMTR is well aware of the many freight cost complexities that lead to freight overcharges and unnecessary freight spend. After AMTR's human transportation experts discover client freight overcharges, they continue by recovering that money through claims management, which includes filing, rebuttal, and payment actions. Serving a vast client base, including many Fortune 50/100 companies, across various industries—agriculture, petroleum, chemical, lumber, energy, and paper—AMTR works to cater to clients' specific needs. By closely investigating and discussing client billing and payment processes, transportation-related data sources, and the use of any TMS, AMTR integrates all pertinent data into a single source “big picture” to facilitate better insights for the auditing process.
Clients rarely have the time or IT resources themselves to commit to such extensive freight cost-related data integration and investigative efforts. Maintaining continuously changing pricing, unforeseen quote negotiations, and contract renewals demands even more time. The lack of time for a thorough in-house audit is a key motivator for many clients. By recovering overcharges, AMTR not only puts money back in a client’s pocket, but also prevents future overspending by educating where missed opportunities might exist in transportation processes. Each client is also provided access to real-time, web-based freight audit analytics for additional insights.
Our focus on building long-term relationships allows our auditors to accumulate a deep knowledge of client shipping products, patterns, and needs that serve as a basis for overcharge claims, as well as client feedback and education. This kind of expertise and insight simply cannot be delivered with software systems alone
AMTR's experts also offer consulting on contract negotiation and tariff interpretation. Rules from carrier or national tariffs often cannot be programmed into a rate engine but may provide a cheaper alternative than what was invoiced when applied. Additionally, the AMTR audit staff may identify specific problems by analyzing a collective source of data from a client. For example, non-standard invoices often cannot be loaded into a client’s TMS system using a standard approach. These invoices may involve problem loads, rejected moves, or empty cars and are, therefore, processed as “exceptions”. These payments are sometimes made manually from another source or paid in the TMS system using a reference number that is inconsistent with standard, auto-generated identifiers. Integrating all a client’s available shipping data and payments into one location for analysis allows the AMTR audit team to identify lanes the client may not realize are significant and adds valuable insight to the client for decision-making. AMTR Chief Operations Officer, Genie Crooms, emphasizes, “Our focus on building long-term relationships allows our auditors to accumulate a deep knowledge of client shipping products, patterns, and needs that serve as a basis for overcharge claims as well as client feedback and education. This kind of expertise and insight simply cannot be delivered with software systems alone.”
Not content to rest on past successes and practices, AMTR continues to innovate to deliver superior services to clients and be recognized as a standout leader in the freight audit industry. The company also continues to derive power from its many industry partnerships and participation with organizations such as National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), National Association of Rail Shippers (NARS), NASSTRAC, Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), Women In Trucking (WIT), and the Transportation and Logistics Council (T&LC), to name a few. For shippers looking for an after-payment (post) freight audit unequaled in the industry, “get smart” and reach out to AMTR.