In ancient Greek mythology, the labyrinth was an elaborate maze designed by Daedalus for King Minos. The maze was so complex that Daedalus almost became trapped inside its walls forever. And at the heart of the maze, the hero Theseus met a fearsome, horned beast, who battled him and forced him to file freight claims to shipping carriers to obtain financial reimbursement for lost or damaged goods.

Wait, we might be mixing our metaphors and myths a bit. But if you’ve ever dealt with the process of filing and managing freight claims on a regular basis, then you probably know how Daedalus felt. In fact, you might even be wondering if the freight claims process was made difficult and time wasting on purpose.

If you’re looking for tips for better managing freight claims, then there are some basic pointers to maximize your time in the labyrinth:

1. Pay Freight Bills On Time

Failure to pay the freight charges on time can make it much more difficult, if not outright impossible, to resolve a claim quickly. So even if you are 100% certain that the carrier is 100% at fault, don’t withhold payment out of a misguided attempt to keep what you think is owed to you in your wallet. Don’t delay, just pay.

2. Data, Data, Data

Gathering data is absolutely essential to limit the long term impacts of damages. In the short term, that means properly analyzing any damaged goods and making notes for the bill of lading creator. Keep a designated digital camera or smartphone for workers to take pictures of damage right away. Also, hold onto the damaged freight until the claim is resolved.

Over time, keep a running record of freight claims and audit a paid freight bill quickly. See if you can determine which carriers have the most problems, and which carriers resolve claims without wasting too much of your time. Without insightful data, you’ll be shipping blind, and successfully managing freight claims will be impossible.

3. File Your Claim ASAP

Remember, under the Carmack Amendment the carrier must acknowledge your claim within 30 days of filing, and a written disposition must be issued within 90 days. The longer you delay in filing claims, the longer you’ll wait to recover your losses and be made whole.

4. Audit Freight Bills And Your Claims Processes To Avoid Wasted Time

How often do you audit your freight bills? Do you have a designated team or employee managing freight claims for your company? Would you be better served outsourcing freight claim management to a freight bill audit and payment company? Is there a way to streamline your freight auditing process to save time and money? If you can’t answer these questions off the top of your head, then you have a serious problem.

5. Repair Damaged Items

Most carriers will want you to repair rather than replace a product. If you do repair damaged items, then the carrier should be required to fully reimburse you for all repair costs. So ensure you are properly documenting all parts, labor, shipping, service, and any other repair costs to increase your freight damages claim.

If you work in transportation or shipping, then you deal with high overhead and high risk. For example, researchers at Texas AandM found that traffic delays cost the U.S. more than $120 billion in 2011. Plus, studies show that 80% of shippers overpay for shipping costs because of a failure to explore cheaper options. And since transportation makes up 6% of the global economy, it’s vital that the businesses involved function smoothly.