Paying The Freight Bill by J S Traunig and Colin Barret w/ Dust Jacket
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Paying The Freight Bill by J S Traunig and Colin Barret w/ Dust Jacket
Paying The Freight Bill by J S Traunig and Colin Barrett Hard cover with dust jacket 79 pages. Copyright 1971 First Edition. SIGNED To John Bonney with warm personal regards Traunig.
A Billion Wasted Dollars 1
The Roots of the Problem 11
The 'Outside' Solution-
and its Problems 31
Auditing 'in Principle'47
Of Rates and Regulations 63
The hook, "Thumb Your Way to Profits'', from which this edition evolved, was published in 1967. It dealt with some fundamental procedures devised to enable industry to audit and reconcile the carriers' freight bills either before or after payment. The objective of the book was to assist businesses to avoid paying the same charges more than once and to otherwise escape payment of more than the lawful charges for transportation service.
The interest manifested in this book clearly reflected the need for a more comprehensive edition which would add new case histories, inform the shipper where outside help may be obtained and relate how at least one firm has made ultimate use of the book in establishing a freight payment procedure based on the recommendations it contained.
It was my belief that the book could be written in a more imposing form which would provide an expanded text, presenting the important subjects in the most meaningful and helpful way.
Mr. Colin Barrett, editor of Transportation & Distribution Management, published by The Traffic Service Corporation, accepted the task of restructuring the material and adding important dimensions to the current hook. The present edition, now titled "Paying the Freight Bill" reflects his efforts.
It is my sincere belief that "Paying the Freight Bill'' is a necessary and truly worthy text which will enable industry to manage better its freight payment activities, eliminate duplicate payment of freight bills and substantially reduce other overpayments of transportation charges.
A Billion Wasted Dollars
At a conservative estimate, the U.S. business community is overpaying its transportation bills by more than S1 billion per year.
The reason for most of this fiscal wastage can be gleaned from an interview excerpt published not long ago in a transportation trade magazine. The interviewee-a leading midwestern traffic consultant-was asked: "Do you mean to say that shippers often pay the same freight bill twice?"
"Yes," the consultant replied. "In the 14 years we have served our clients, we have discovered duplicate payments that would make your hair stand on end. There was not one client of ours who was not billed twice for the same shipments.-
On a percentage basis, estimates of the frequency of duplicate billing, extension errors and application of incorrect rates and charges range between about 1-1/2 and 3 percent of total billings. In 1968, the shipping public paid regulated freight carriers nearly $75 billion for their services--which places the dollar value of these hilling errors at between $1.1 and $2.2 billion. And many, if not most, of these erroneous bills were paid blindly and trustingly by shippers who had no inkling that they were being unwittingly overcharged.
It is an astounding piece of information that virtually every client of a major traffic consultant has, at one time or another, been billed for -and paid!-the same charges twice (and sometimes even three times). It becomes even more incredible when it is noted that these are no marginal companies suffering from low-quality managements --they are, in large part, extremely well-managed firms which operate their businesses prudently and profitably in an atmosphere of intense competition. Sound management is a prerequisite merely for survival.
Yet here is an example of what can happen despite all the best preventive efforts of a modern traffic department, taken from the actual case files of a traffic consultant. The company involved was highly sophisticated in its management techniques but it had unwittingly left aloophole through which money could spill out needlessly.
The company in question had a conventional credit arrangement with one of the major airlines, and each of its employees who regularly traveled on business had an air travel card. Periodically, the airline submitted bills for the air travel of the company's employees for which credit cards had been used. Unfortunately, the company's auditing precedures on these bills left something to be desired--else it would surely have noticed an extra charge of $124.22 which appeared on one month's hill. That charge was an air freight bill, which had already been submitted and paid separately before a clerical error resulted in its second appearance on the air travel statement, where it absolutely did not belong.
Multiply this single oversight by the hundreds of thouof such errors which appear on transportation bills each year, and it is easy to see how this trickling outflow can develop into a steady cash drain on a company's coffers. For any single company, the amounts involved will probably not be of "make-or-break" size. But the fact that they are so readily preventable makes them inexcusable-they simply have no place in a well-run, sound business.
And industry is not unconcerned about the problem-it would, in fact, be peculiar indeed if it were not concerned about a $1 billion-a-year drain on its coffers. The question of how to prevent duplicate payments and other billing errors is one that crops up frequently at top-level meetings of industrial traffic executives. Unfortunately, it is an inquiry which seldom generates much of an answer: the discussion quickly devolves into vague and platitudinous generalities which offer little by way of concrete help.
Not long ago the filing of a large reparations claim by a shipper who had belatedly found a billing error which was overlooked when the invoices were first processed drew this acerbic response from the carrier in question:
"As indicated in your letter, . . . a period of time existed during which duplicate freight payments were being made to us by your account. This office contacted you several times during this period of time and notified you of these duplicate payments. Duplicate payments continued to he made despite our efforts.''
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