Over the years, Joe Celestina, vice president of sales and marketing for TranSolutions, www.transolutionsinc.com, a provider of claims-management software for the transportation and logistics industries, says he and his team have talked to dozens of freight and cargo carriers that are still managing their claims in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. These aren’t mom-and-pop shops, either; even carriers doing a couple billion dollars in sales each year are stuck on this old-school method.
“Carriers have traditionally managed their claims in spreadsheets, since that has been the only option,” Celestina says. “However, there are many challenges associated with spreadsheets. Only one person can work on the file at once, so if two people need to work on the spreadsheet simultaneously, they would need to make a copy, work in the copy, and then merge the changes later. That’s very cumbersome, and creates many opportunities for errors.”
Spreadsheets also come up short in their ability to store different types of information, such as BoL (bill of lading) documents, repair receipts, and photos of damage. Reporting and visual analysis of trends is also difficult in Excel, Celestina says, adding: “It’s not that it’s impossible to analyze data and prevent claims using a spreadsheet, it’s just that it’s so time consuming, cumbersome, and unreliable (that) for most carriers, it’s not worth doing.”
TranSolutions offers a cargo claim-management solution called CarrierClaim that can drastically improve how carriers file and manage claims. Supporting documentation, photos, and follow-up notes can also be stored with the claim record in one location—a cloud-based database that’s accessible from anywhere. Because it’s in the cloud, the solution allows multiple users to work on a file at the same time.
Celestina says one of the most important benefits of CarrierClaim is that it reduces manual data entry. TranSolutions’ first software solution, MyEZClaim, is designed to help shippers manage their claims, integrates with CarrierClaim, allowing data to be imported directly into the CarrierClaim system. Integration prevents carriers from having to enter data from a sheet of paper or a PDF.
“There’s also a move towards data analysis and claim prevention,” says Celestina. “With most of our clients, there are two factors that make this possible. First, the reports are built into the system, and the data is easy to look at. Second, because they’re saving so much time doing administrative tasks, their team now has extra time to work on claim prevention.”
CarrierClaim comes with 80 preloaded reports, along with graphs, maps, and report scheduling. To build additional custom reports, it’s a simple drag-and-drop system. No query language necessary.
When it comes to ROI (return on investment), Celestina says the real opportunity is in finding ways to leverage the claims data for the future. “Where companies can expect to see serious returns is when they take advantage of the analytics features and start working on claim prevention,” he says. “Data found using the system can be used to make procedural changes, or to educate staff—to show them that the way they move the packages actually does make a difference to the company’s bottomline.”
Challenge: Replace inefficient, error-prone methods of managing freight and cargo claims.
Risk: Adopting new software requires upfront investment and a learning curve.
Solution: Cloud-based software solution from TranSolutions streamlines claim management.
Payoff: CarrierClaim helps users receive, process, and manage freight claims more efficiently, while also leveraging data analytics to identify trends and prevent future claims.