Freight invoicing is an area where blockchain technology has been pegged to make core shipping and logistics processes more efficient.
Since the start of July, DHL Global Forwarding and Hewlett Packard have been trialing a blockchain-backed shipment invoice system that attempts to address a specific pain point for shippers: invoice inaccuracies for one-off shipments that lie outside of a typical freight contract relationship.
The blockchain-based solution “links multiple entities of [Hewlett Packard Enterprise] and DHL Global Forwarding for one-off order management,” DHL said in a statement Thursday. “It simplifies the approval process and clearly identifies the shipment quotes that are approved — by whom, and when — all in immutable records.”
The use of blockchain, also called distributed ledger technology, is meant to address what DHL called pain points in assessed charges between the buyer and seller of capacity in one-off shipments. DHL said it defines one-offs as “requests for shipments that can be supported by the DHL network, but that are not part of the standard contract.”
Kim Masone, vice president of global logistics at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said the benefits of the pilot project include “100 percent invoice accuracy and paid on agreed terms, [fewer days of payment aging by the shipper], and little to no manual intervention.”
Payment aging refers to the practice of synchronizing the order of payment due to suppliers by the date by which they are due.
Masone said Hewlett Packard intends to expand its use of the system to other non-contractual business globally.
“By eliminating the post–delivery checks for shipment approval, considerable time is gained by both HPE and DHL,” the companies said in the statement. “In addition to facilitating shipment quote approvals, [the system offers] customers insight into expected payments, improves accounts receivable, and offers a single source of transparency for all parties. Invoices are triggered immediately following [proof of delivery] and can be paid to contractual payment terms.”