Eight supply chain “best practices” to reduce chargeback fees

By Molly Goad

If you’re involved in supply chain management, chances are you’ve incurred a chargeback fee. Suppliers have to pay these pesky prices when there are mistakes with an order. (Here is an article detailing common ways to earn yourself a chargeback fee.)

Mistakes are a part of life that no one is immune from. I don’t know about you, but I find it maddening when I’m charged a fee for my mistakes, though. So let’s learn from these missteps and set up a routine of best practices to eliminate the chargeback financial burden altogether. 

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1. Understand retailer requirements. The best place to start is via combing through the retailer’s documentation, often called a vendor manual or routing guide. Make sure you understand exactly what the partner is expecting before that first shipment goes out. Be prepared. Do some homework upfront rather than learning the hard way through chargeback fees. 

Some companies have an employee or team dedicated to this part of the business. If you’re partnering with many retailers, you know how complicated this is to manage.  Each company has its own documentation on the subject matter and, like snowflakes, no two routing guides are alike. 

Other businesses choose to outsource this task to a third party that is familiar with all of the requirements and has worked with many different retailers. This is something we can certainly assist with. Our DES (Distribution Enablement System) software handles all of that compliance for you, across multiple trading partners. We have mapped to a plethora of retailers (Amazon, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond, just to name a few). Any retailer we haven’t worked with yet, we will learn their requirements, too. 

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2. Discuss logistics with operations. Before mapping, review the shipment process with the operations team. Understand how the product will be packaged (pallets, cartons, or a combination). Now, take that information and build an advance ship notice (ASN) map accordingly. 

3. Build accurate mapping. EDI mapping is the process of transferring data from your ERP or another program into an EDI document and vice versa. ASN maps are set up according to the needs of the trading partner. You may already have an existing ASN map, but remember, there’s a good chance it won’t be the same across all retailers. ASN structure and details needed are often different. Taking extra time to review the mapping saves money in the long run because you’ll be able to correct structural errors before the system gets off and running.

Of course, DES can do this step for you as well; we have been mapping with retailers big and small for decades. 

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4. Scan the product. A useful best practice is to scan the carton or product barcodes as the shipment is being put together to capture the correct data for ASN creation. Otherwise, the wrong bar code could be used on the ASN, resulting in a fee.

5. Scan the label. When a barcode label is adhered to ship units, scan it. This adds a quality control check — you’ll be able to see if the bar code information in the ASN matches the unit it is adhered to. If it’s not a match, you’ll be able to fix the issue before it goes out and save yourself a chargeback fee.

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6. Ensure seamless PO-to-ASN data transfer. Since it all begins with the purchase order, check that your system is able to grab the PO data and transfer it to the ASN without error. 

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7. Automate ASN deployment. The ASN is of no use if it isn’t received before the shipment arrives. Add or automate a step to ensure they go out at the time prescribed in the partner’s routing guide. For example, once the truck is sealed, the ASN goes out.  

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8. Create alerts. In our DES program, alerts are utilized as a fail-safe measure. You’re able to set up a rule that will notify users when an ASN has not been sent to a trading partner within 24 hours. You can customize DES even further by setting up alerts that are sent when an ASN is rejected by the trading partner. These features will no doubt reduce the number of chargebacks. 

Customize Your DES

If you’re interested in taking a look at DES, please know that the program is fully customizable. We are eager to have a chance to work with you and tailor DES to suit your unique business. If you’re not sure about the functionality, just ask: contact BOLD VAN by calling 844-265-3777 or emailing info@boldvan.com. Or start your three-month trial today.

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