IL2000’s Audit Manager, Nicole Rodrigues, combines a gift for pattern recognition with deep data insight. She’s a key part of IL2000’s industry-leading audit team.
First, the backdrop.
“IL2000 is a comprehensive logistics management company that handles all aspects of moving our clients’ freight from start to finish,” says Rodriguez. “Everything from dealing with vendors and setting up shipments to freight audit and pay.”
Now, in center stage, we have Rodrigues and the audit team. Let’s break down how they work.
“There are three subsets to our audit department,” says Rodriguez. “Data entry is responsible for getting the invoices and the backup documents into the system and categorized. The audit team does the auditing by ensuring the invoice costs are accurate. The profiling team enters the rates into our system so that they can be audited against. We turn a client's pricing agreement into an electronic format that our system can read. This way, when an invoice arises, we can check it against the actual tariff based on the lane and distance, which is calculated in the system.”
“Check your freight bill very carefully. Many of the billing errors we find are simple human errors. I question every invoice that comes across my desk – every single line.” – Nicole Rodriguez
The innovation behind customized solutions
Rodrigues believes that one of the biggest challenges in the marketplace today is audit customization. She explains why this is important and how IL2000 is exceptional at acting on real insights.
“We center an audit around a specific client and then transform the data captured through the audit into actionable information. That is unique. Most companies use a cost-effective audit solution that operates on a match-pay system, meaning if an invoice is close enough to what you expected the cost to be, it gets paid. That's it.
“What we do is completely different. We review each line of the bill of lading and every detail on the invoice. We compare every single item for discrepancies,” says Rodriguez.
“We then take the data captured from our audit process and turn that into actionable information. For example, we can see if reweighs are happening frequently. We can look at whether they’re happening at a certain location, with a certain vendor, or a certain product. We can categorize everything and use that data to improve shipping, lower costs, and mitigate issues.”
Innovation, one of the words Rodriguez uses to define IL2000, allows a customized offer to meet the needs of each client individually.
“Innovation is so important,” she says. “We work with many different clients, each with wildly different expectations, goals, and realities. Some clients care very much about the cost of things. Others don't care as much about dollars, but the shipment must be there on time. And there are some clients who don't care about it being there on time, but the goods can't get damaged. Everyone has a unique situation. It's not a one-size-fits-all for anybody.”
“We work hard to mold ourselves to get the best result. Our IT department, especially, is filled with miracle workers. There is nothing I've suggested that our team can't do. They’re doing magic every day.” – Nicole Rodriguez
Using data to reveal repetitive issues and craft long-term solutions
After years of working audits alongside her clients, Rodriguez has honed in on their biggest hurdle.
“What I see clients struggle with most is being able to put a solution in place to address issues arising on a repetitive basis.
“For example, let’s say your vendor is setting up shipments but refuses or is unable to get the shipment details correct. In this situation, the bill of lading lacks the assessorial so your charges are never accurate. They'll never be what you’re expecting.
“Because we extract the data we gather in the process, we can spot the assessorial that you’re incurring every single time at this location. We’ll profile it to that location, so whenever a shipment is selected to go to that location, the system will include that fee automatically without anybody having to select it,” she says.
“We're able to implement specific solutions to repetitive problems because the team’s so skilled with the data.” – Nicole Rodriguez
Spotting patterns takes perspective
Rodriguez commends the team's successes, not least saving clients over one million dollars last year in audit alone. She upholds it comes down to their unique skills.
"Besides being able to do the math and work the numbers, they have an eye for patterns. They wield the ability to strategize. When we handle invoices, typically we deal with them one at a time. They are able to say, ‘I've seen this twice before now. This might be a problem.’
“It comes down to identifying and collecting the right data. Post-shipment data is far more accurate than anything else because it’s what was actually shipped, not what you said was shipped. These are two very different things.
We're able to pinpoint problems and create solutions with that data. For example, suppose you're repetitively charged $20 more than your quote because the consignee requires an appointment, but your vendor can't figure out that they need to add in that accessorial. In that case, we can hard-code that assessorial into your quote every time without your vendor having to actually select that fee.”
“The complexity involved in logistics can be daunting. If you don't understand it, you can't fight it. It’s one thing to see that something's wrong. It’s another to speak the language of the carrier and get it resolved.” – Nicole Rodriguez