When Federal Express lowered ABL Electronics' shipping prices, the cable manufacturer started billing clients according to the new rates. But FedEx had neglected to update the Powership machine that it lent ABL as part of its service. Owner Randy Amon never checked daily invoices against what ABL billed its customers. For seven months, Amon says, "we were charging customers $9.50 to ship a box that FedEx charged us $10 for." Then Amon noticed the startling difference between his freight charges and freight costs. A quick check with FedEx revealed the problem.
"I was blindly trusting technology," Amon says. "Now I'm almost technophobic." Each day, ABL's payables clerk spot-checks the pricing of 5 to 10 shipments. The most common errors are shipments that ABL forgot to bill for. "That can add up to $200 a day," Amon says.
The Hunt Valley, Md., company eventually received nearly $11,000 in refunds from FedEx's oversight. Now that the company does so much international shipping, Amon is really on his toes. He negotiated still lower rates and regularly averages $2,000 a week in refunds when, by using Powership's compliance-reports software, he finds FedEx delivered packages after its promised deadlines.