Regardless of industry, logistics managers are charged with establishing and maintaining strong relationships with their suppliers. Good logistics managers strive to be easy to work with so their supply chain runs smoothly. However, with so much on their plates, developing relationships with suppliers may not be their top priority.
In 2020, logistics managers’ jobs became more difficult as pressure from the pandemic forced all organizations to rethink their approach to business. Logistics managers suddenly found themselves dealing with stressed-out suppliers who were scrambling to collect payments to keep their doors open.
Luckily, there is an easy solution to this problem: By investing in accounts payable (AP) automation powered by AI and machine learning, managers can make suppliers happier by ensuring they’re paid predictably while increasing internal productivity and maximizing profitability. Here’s how.
Giving suppliers visibility into payment status. When logistics managers invest in AP automation, they form a direct connection between their business and their suppliers. By doing so, they give suppliers complete visibility into payment status. Instead of having to deal with vendors calling and asking where payments are, managers know that all of their partners can quickly see where payments stand at a glance.
As a result, suppliers know they will be paid in a predictable, timely fashion. And let’s face it: That’s the easiest way to keep them happy and make sure they’ll continue doing business with you.
As an added bonus, with the right AP automation solution in place, all of the information logistics managers need is readily available. Managing supplier information—including W9s, contact information and banking details—is easier.
Eliminating invoice exceptions. According to recent research, invoice exceptions are the root cause of 32% of late payments and 36% of supplier-related phone calls. When payments are late and suppliers have to take time to track them down, this doesn’t create the best experience. At the same time, no AP team will be thrilled about having to respond to those phone calls and sift through their records.
AP automation tools can help organizations eliminate invoice exceptions and achieve 100% straight-through invoice processing. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the technology is able to automatically solve invoice exceptions by intelligently conducting three-way matches with zero manual input required.
Not only does this help ensure suppliers are paid when they should be paid, but it also frees up accounts payable teams to focus on other value-adding areas of operations.
Optimizing cash flow. Some suppliers count on getting paid early and are happy to give organizations a discount in return. Other suppliers have deeper pockets and are perfectly fine waiting several weeks or even months to get paid.
AP automation can help here, too. The technology gives logistics managers complete visibility into invoices and supplier preferences so they can keep their fingers on the pulse of accounts payable and pay each supplier at the opportune time.
As a result of this operational efficiency, organizations can optimize cash flow while making sure their suppliers are paid when they expect it.
Become a Stand Out
Most logistics teams look the same to suppliers. By making one simple investment in technology, you can make sure that your logistics team stands out among the rest—thereby ensuring suppliers keep your business a top priority.