Transport and Logistics: Five advantages of a centralised customer database

Nov 7, 2022

As a company in the transport and logistics sector, you collect a lot of customer information. One the one hand, there’s the usual information, such as contact details, email exchanges, invoices, reminders, and disputes. And on the other, you’ve got sector-related information, such as consignment notes and proof of delivery. No problem… as long as all of that data is properly categorised and easily searchable, right?

This blog references five advantages to explain how a centralised customer database plays a crucial role in optimising your credit management.

1. Maintain an overview across your TMS and WMS systems

The entirety of your customer information is often quite a mishmash scattered across your customer file, mailbox, financial software, transport or warehouse management systems (TMS or WMS), and so on. Want a full overview? You’ll need up to four or more screens before you know it. Constantly switching between screens is chaotic and usually incurs a heavy cost due to inefficiency. You’re also more likely to miss important information.

Have all the data immediately at hand by linking your various software systems together and collecting all the information in one centralised customer database. You now have an overview of the entire file at a glance, resulting in more efficiency and less risk of errors.

2. Keep duplicates of your CMR handy at all times

One of the most frequently asked questions in the accounts receivable department is, ‘Can you give me a copy?’ Plus, you also need a duplicate proof of delivery or consignment note (CMR) in the transport and logistics sector. So, over time, the demand for duplicates increases sharply, which results in an overflowing mailbox.

A centralised customer database goes beyond just retrieving the information you need in a few clicks. You can also opt to always make copies available digitally or include a copy of the invoice as standard. This ensures your customer can access it at any time and you avoid getting the same question over and over again.

3. Make dispute management easier

Dispute management takes a lot of work. Different departments in the company usually have little to do with each other’s fields of expertise. Now they must all suddenly merge information like a single, well-oiled machine into an understandable whole to achieve the solution. Typically, you must communicate separately with the account manager, invoicing department, and customer service. All of this creates a long chain of back-and-forth emails.

It is much easier to collect all the feedback and interactions into one centralised customer database that your customer and colleagues can access. This is fast, efficient, and hassle-free.

4. Never lose track of your credit information

When right of retention is not an option, credit information is indispensable in the transport and logistics sector. It allows you to make informed decisions and, when needed, stop new orders on time. And, of course, you always want to avoid missing the warning emails from your credit insurer. No matter how meticulous you are, an email can occasionally slip through the cracks. And that’s even more than annoying when it’s an important message from your credit insurer.

No matter how full your mailbox, you can always have this information at hand by collecting your credit insurer’s messages with all other information for that customer in one centralised customer database.

5. Maintain an overview between customer and supplier

Collaboration between transport companies is an everyday occurrence in the transport and logistics sector. For example, a parcel shipped from Antwerp to Ghent may pass through the hands of three transport companies: from Antwerp City Centre to an Antwerp depot, from the Antwerp depot to a Ghent depot, and from the Ghent depot to Ghent City Centre.

This often means that the same company is both customer and supplier.

This is convenient and cost effective. But it complicates maintaining an overview, especially with invoicing and credit management. Obviously, you want to avoid sending a cordial reminder when you owe more money to that customer than you must receive.

So maintain a convenient overview by collecting your debit and credit information into one central location. This ensures you avoid embarrassing mistakes and safeguard a good relationship with your customer/supplier.

Curious to learn how Billtrust Collections can help you maintain this overview? If so, you’re welcome to request a demo.

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