How AI is Enhancing Vendor Payments
For most, the words Artificial Intelligence usually conjure up an image of robots and driverless cars. That is especially true in the trucking and transportation industry where the talk of driverless trucks is actually becoming a reality. However, it is not just autonomous vehicles or computer assistants that are driving the adoption of AI. Almost every industry in the nation is looking to AI for way to create efficiencies, and the trucking industry is no different. Along with the potential of driverless trucks, fleet managers and owners are looking to AI for more fluid, informative and efficient ways to manage vendor payments and the fleet payable process overall.
While AI might be seemingly more relevant to financial processes, it is the truck that is getting the most attention. The New York Times reported that last year alone, corporate entities and investors put more than $1 billion dollars into autonomous vehicles and other trucking technology. Tesla, Google and Embark, a Silicon Valley start-up, are all on board to get driverless trucks into the market as quickly as possible.
“We are trying to get self-driving technology out on the road as fast as possible,” said Alex Rodrigues, Embark’s chief executive. “Trucking needs self-driving and self-driving needs trucking.”
Just as the New York Times suggests, a $7 billion industry, trucking is responsible for delivering products to every industry in the world. The trucking industry keeps the economy moving forward, so it is no surprise that investors, fleet owners and managers are looking closely at how to streamline processes and maximize efficiencies within the sector. Not only will autonomous technologies and computer learning help to reduce the cost of labor by extending the hours that can be spent driving, it can also address human error and mitigate the potential for accidents. One of the largest trucking companies in the nation plans to automate as much of the vehicle as possible. Max Fuller, US Xpress co-founder and chairman is already guided the way by using AI to update braking and collision-avoidance systems. He says he plans to automate lane steering in three years as well.
With Automation Comes Data
As with most technology, automation and user history patterns provide an extraordinary amount of data that helps provide insights that can preserve integrity, create efficiencies and maximize profits. The last several years have seen the development of computers and systems that can process more data than ever before. Fleet data leads to sophisticated algorithms and sophisticated algorithms leads to more fleet data which present huge opportunities in the trucking industry and fleet payment processing.
Financial advisor company Clarity has been influential in the payment arena by analyzing user’s spending and payment habits in order to provide these users with better and more efficient options that might make reoccurring payment less expensive, for example, or choose a card with lower fees, or spot ways to save money through changing habits. And with AI principles implemented, the more the software is used, and the better it gets. Computer learning and automation in the financial aspects of the trucking industry have been widely adopted, and companies like EFS are leading the industry in herculean efforts that are leading to growth never before anticipated. The benefits of automation within the fleet payment process are undeniable.
1. Cost – Not only will you experience an increase in process efficiencies, you’ll likely also see an uptick in terms of rebate/discount capture.
2. Compliance – Simply by minimizing human intervention, you minimize human error; and that can go a long way toward ensuring price and contract compliance.
3. Fraud risk – Check fraud is a real concern for many businesses. E-payments cut down on that risk significantly with a system of checks and balances in place to alert users to exceptions (intentional and unintentional).
4. Supplier relations – Besides the goodwill resulting from accurate, on-time payments, visibility through supplier portals gives internal and external stakeholders insight into payment status, but more than that: visibility from the supplier side means everyone has insight into payment status.
5. Visibility – Improving visibility into cash flow and cash management is a common goal for CFOs and other finance executives. Plus, easier access to data ensures smarter decision making.
All of this to say that that machine learning and automation is having a considerable impact on the trucking industry not only as a way to reduce accidents on the road or enable better vehicle functionality, but as a means of saving money and time while avoiding financial risk. Thanks in part to advances in technology and breakthroughs with big data and the speed and access of cloud computing, leaders like EFS have embraced and implemented AI capabilities in fleet payment processing as well as compliance and regulations requirements. The results have been effective in promoting growth and increasing profit for not just customers, but entire industries worldwide.