Document Automation

How are Freight Forwarders Using Document Automation to Scale?

Documents, documents, documents. 

The freight forwarding industry deals with mountains of them – we’re talking billions, here – all of which must be processed by data entry and finance teams, pinging emails and invoices around and manually keying in data to internal systems like CargoWise. Though unavoidable, it’s a low-value, high-cost process, for sure. However, those costs can be cut with document automation

Activities like extracting and exporting invoice data – fixed, repeatable processes – are ripe for automation. In doing so, freight forwarders can cut some of their biggest costs associated with high invoice and logistics document volumes. 

In fact, according to a recent report from Business Insider, enterprises that use fully-automated digital solutions for their accounts payable invoice processing can see 81% lower processing costs and 73% faster processing cycle times compared to their fully-analog counterparts. 

Inefficient analog processes create lengthy cycles that eat into costs and damage relationships with customers. 

And it’s not just AP invoices that freight forwarders handle, of course. 

Bills of lading, commercial invoices, delivery orders, packing lists – all must be processed by data entry teams, with agents often weighing in to fix data discrepancies and using up valuable time that could be spent with key customers.  

Document automation solutions are the answer. But not just any document automation solution. The breadth of documents a freight forwarder handles means that a generalist solution is far from adequate. Logistics is a specialist industry and so requires a specialist solution.  

Document Automation – A Specialist Solution for Logistics 

Most industry agnostic solutions rely solely on optical character recognition (OCR) technology – which uses templates and rules to extract data from business documents and invoices. These are perfectly adequate for your average company that handles run-of-the-mill documents with little variation. 

The logistics industry is far from “average”, however. 

There are many different types of logistics documentation that come in all manner of shapes, sizes and variations. This makes solutions based on rules and templates of little value to freight forwarders – they take days to set up, must be constantly maintained and require a huge amount of manual intervention. Time that agents could be spending with key customers. 

Specialist, AI-powered document automation solutions like Shipamax, don’t just “see” data contained within business documents like pure OCR solutions do – they actually understand what it means, and their machine learning engines have been developed specifically to handle logistics documentation. Out of the box, they know the difference between an AP invoice and a bill of lading and can thereby automatically classify documents, extract the relevant data (with up to 99% accuracy) and push it into your ERP or TMS system – with no manual intervention whatsoever. 

At Shipamax, plug & play logistics automation is all we do – it’s the core of our business. From a broad coverage of shipping document types and structures, Anti-Template technology and out-of-the box CargoWise integrations, Shipamax is purpose built for the shipping and logistics industry, helping companies reduce manual data entry costs by more than 80%, reduce processing times, and increase productivity throughout the workforce.

Our system is simple to set up, requires minimal investment in time and budget to onboard your teams and incurs no maintenance overhead. 

Specialised for the logistics industry, request a personalised demo of the Shipamax plug-and-play AI-powered document automation platform today, or join one of our monthly 15 minute live group demos to see Shipamax in action. 

Josh BradleyVP Demand Generation
June 2020
4 min read
  • Freight Forwarders
  • OCR & AI
  • Document Automation
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