nVision Global: Freight Invoice Auditing and Payment Processing at a Global Scale

Luther Brown, CEO, nVision GlobalLuther Brown, CEO An aerial view of a shipping port with thousands of containers carrying payloads to destinations halfway across the globe portrays an interesting picture of the current logistics landscape. Amidst the growing efforts from enterprises to expand beyond boundaries, the logistics industry has been at the forefront, helping enterprises attain a true global status, albeit with hurdles in the way. The complexity of auditing supply chain freight invoices and processing payments worldwide has been one of the biggest quandaries that global organizations must battle. Historically the practice has been to partner with in-country or regional freight audit and payment service providers, which results in higher costs, and often obstructs a worldwide consolidated payment process. nVision Global caters to multinational companies—regionally or worldwide—that utilize multiple modes of transportation and want a provider who is capable of extensive data capture, rate card visibility, line item charge auditing, collaborative tools for dispute resolution, normalized/standardized shipment analytics, complex charge allocation at multiple levels, and the ability to remit payment globally.

nVision Global was established to support the worldwide expansion of Transportation Solutions Inc., which was established in 1993. nVision Global’s worldwide network includes seven processing centers strategically placed to provide customer and transportation provider support regional time zones. The company is a true global service and technology provider handling hundreds of millions of shipment transactions annually. The worldwide spend processed through their system (iMpact TMS) is in excess of 7 billion dollars annually across six continents.

"We believe in a truly global approach in every service we provide; and we have formed a niche for ourselves within the logistics industry"

nVision Global is a leader in developing supply chain technology with its iMpact TMS boasting end to end logistics contract management, global rating technology, control tower command center and standardized data rich business intelligence (BI). Data derived from freight invoices is consolidated in a single data warehouse, overcoming the challenges of integrating disparate sources of truth that reside in various customer locations. nVision Global’s online repository, iHistorical, along with an online rate library, stores customers’ negotiated contracts, rate cards and tariffs, imaged invoices, and supporting documentation to form a quintessential reference plane in the audit process.

WebTools that Facilitate Easy Payments

Today, blockages in the payment pipeline are prevalent due to discrepancies in the invoices and supporting documents submitted by providers. This often causes inconvenience for both organizations and their transportation providers. Normally, the accounts payable department will reject the invoice in its entirety, causing unnecessary delay in processing payments that will severely impact the efficiency of business activities. nVision Global’s procedures are streamlined to accommodate such less-than-optimal submissions, with tools that allow auditing and remitting of payments quickly.

We have shaped our tools over the years based on the recommendations that we received from our customers as well as their transportation providers

nVision Global’s iEntry tool allows providers to submit documents along with the invoices through a web portal in accordance with EDI, ASC X12, and EDIFACT standards. This streamlines the electronic submission of invoices and supporting documentation, which is often a difficult process outside North America.

The collaborative tools provided by nVision Global bring the customer and the transportation provider together in an exception-based manner. In cases where iEntry cannot find an appropriate general ledger code for an invoice, the iResolution tool notifies the customer with an image of the invoice and associated details, so that they can enter the right ledger code manually. Subsequently, nVision Global’s system is updated and the invoice is processed in the form of a usual purchase order.

Similarly, the company’s Collaboration tool is used to resolve invoice-related disputes between the client and the transportation provider. Short pay of invoices is a common occurrence outside North America. An invoice of €100 may be submitted for goods worth €90, and it may be audited for just €80. In such cases, the invoice is deferred to nVision Global’s Collaboration tool, which is accessible to the customer, the logistics provider, and nVision Global. After the stakeholders reach final disposition following deliberations, the invoice can be easily processed, without having to reject it or send it back to the provider.

Drill-Down Analysis of the Supply Chain

nVision Global generates crucial BI by capturing data elements from invoices that are submitted either electronically or manually, and cleansing the data with normalization techniques. Normalization helps study numerous iterations of the same data element, such as the shipper’s name, which may vary across invoices, and present it as a singular entity.

Without this contextual cleansing process in between, crucial, yet incorrectly articulated information may get omitted from the analysis stage, resulting in an inaccurate result. Further, the iFocus dashboard makes such data available for usage, going beyond the simple task of payment processing.

The iFocus dashboard facilitates a drill-down analysis of the customer’s entire supply chain based on the invoices being audited. The dashboard features a vast array of KPIs and technologies like global mapping lane analysis tool, ad-hoc report writer, and a transportation tab. It allows customers to leverage the available BI and dissect the entire supply chain to streamline and optimize it.

A host of other products and services around claims processing, consulting, benchmarking, control power, weight modeling tools, and packaging study complete the full circle of freight management for nVision Global’s clients. “The whole gamut of services we provide includes rating and routing engines and inventory management, all the way through the procurement spectrum and transportation management solutions,” explains Greg Wright, Vice President of global supply chain services at nVision Global. “When you combine those capabilities with our freight audit and payment provisions, our customers are empowered in many ways.” Greg also notes that the comprehensive nature of the company’s services falls in line with a prevalent market trend that complements globalization, where enterprises look for more than just audits, elaborate reports, and payment procedures. Organizations need a partner to process, audit, remit, and code their payment in a 360-degree manner that supports their global logistical operations.

Technology Built on Expertise

A significant factor that helps nVision Global design its web tools is an initial, comprehensive survey that it conducts in the customer’s logistics environment, entailing all negotiated contracts, rates and tariffs, general ledger account coding structures, and business logic. “Since we function like a customized shop, we have shaped our tools over the years based on the recommendations that we received from our customers as well as their transportation providers,” says Keith Snavely, Senior Vice President of sales and marketing at nVision Global.

A majority of the senior management at nVision Global are experts in the freight audit and payment industry. Brown, who leads the tight-knit group of industry experts, has nearly four decades of experience in the freight service industry. Following Brown’s initial setup in Europe, the company has expanded drastically, opening processing centers in locations such as San Jose in Costa Rica, Ningbo in China, Kolkata and New Delhi in India, and more recently, a full-service processing center in Cluj, Romania.“There are very few companies that can provide a high-touch localized experience to customers across the world, although many do pay lip service to it,” says Snavely. “We believe in a truly global approach in every service we provide; and we have formed a niche for ourselves within the logistics industry.”