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Wall Street Journal: E-Commerce Spurs Push for Speedier Shipping Payments

New software aims at streamlining systems, auditing to keep up with faster pace of goods movement.

The digital commerce-led push to move goods more rapidly through supply chains is driving efforts to get the money behind the shipments to move faster.

A handful of technology companies are adding auditing and processing tools for freight-payment systems that connect shippers and freight haulers, efforts aimed at streamlining how companies handle invoices while catching billing and other errors more quickly. .

Experts say that errors on invoices—often an unintended consequence of the strained timelines of e---commerce—are slowing down the back-end payment processing.

“As you increase the speed of commerce, you need systems in place to be able to accommodate that,” said Matt Tillman, founder and chief executive of Haven Inc., a software company that developed an automated system for detecting discrepancies between freight quotes and invoices.
Haven customers are primarily commodity firms, such as Rothfos Corp. and South32 Ltd.S32 -1.55% , that run on thin margins. “You can’t afford to hire a bunch more accountants and sit them in a room to do this,” Mr. Tillman said.

“Many companies have whole departments to audit these contracts,” said Nina Luu, co-founder and chief executive of Shippabo, another technology firm working to simplify and speed up freight booking and payment operations. Shippabo works with small- and medium-size shippers, including flooring wholesaler Flooret and subscription-box service Loot Crate.

Keeping the money moving as quickly as shipments do is crucial at a time when freight capacity is tight, said Harold Friedman, a senior vice president at Data2Logistics, which processes freight payments for retailers and manufacturers. Truckload carriers “are in the driver’s seat,” Mr. Friedman said.

“They have more loads than they have trucks or drivers for,” Mr. Friedman said. “As a result they’re becoming choosy as to who they want to engage as a customer, so it’s become increasingly important that bills be processed and paid in a timely basis.”

Write to Erica E. Phillips at erica.phillips@wsj.com

See: https://www.wsj.com/articles/e-commerce-spurs-push-for-speedier-shipping-payments-1520974794

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