Logistics encompasses supply chain management of business operations such as warehousing, shipping, transportation, manufacturing, and distribution of products. Every logistics company goes through the process of handling huge volumes of documents and supply chain managers have to manually process these. The logistics sector contributes to 9% of the GDP and according to technology surveys, over 41% companies have begun investing in logistics automation software. A study by Deloitte revealed that warehouse automation ranks at the top of logistics management, being next to Cloud Logistics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Predictive Analytics.
Types of documents in logistics
The logistics workflow deals with lots of documentation and mistakes can be fatal for businesses. There are documents involved in every stage of the shipping process. Documents contain customer data as well which are used for processing business transactions. The most common types of documents used by logistics are:
1. Shipping Labels
Shipping labels are stamped onto products being shipped and contain details of the ‘to,’ and ‘from,’ delivery address. They include customer information, phone numbers, zip codes, weights, and barcodes. The design of a shipping label varies from carrier to carrier but they’re printed to identify packages and goods contained within them
2. Bill of lading
Billing of lading is a document that acts as a contractual agreement between the shipper and carrier. It is given to the customer to claim ownership of goods after transportation and is a receipt that records details of the shipment process. The bill of lading outlines conditions under which goods were transported and these documents may be sent to third-parties during shipment transits.
3. Warehouse Receipts
Warehouse receipts are documents used to provide information about quantities of commodities kept in warehousing facilities. The receipts are used as a part of business transactions and show the proof of ownership of products. They are also used for providing quality assurance to buyers and serve as physical evidence.
4. CMR Documents
Customer-managed relationship documents are files collected by businesses for the purpose of interacting and engaging with clients. CMR documents are transformative for organizations since they help understand which products are trending in the market and how to best provide their services. CMR documentation is also used for ensuring regulatory compliance for businesses and aligns with the Data Privacy Act.
5. Proforma Invoices
Proforma invoices are used for the export of goods and contain details such as payment terms and conditions, pricing quotes, and detailed descriptions of products. The details about buyers and sellers are listed on these documents which are used for recording transactions. A proforma invoice is very similar to a commercial invoice.
6. Inspection Certificate
Inspection certificates are used to warrant the condition of goods and ensure they meet the requirements outlined on sales contracts. Inspection certificates are used for specific items such as meat, industrial equipment, and perishable goods.
7. Dock Receipts
Dock receipts are used for confirming if the cargo has reached the shipment company. Shipment companies are required to send businesses dock receipts to stay accountable and prove that the shipments are safe. They’re used to show that shipments are en route to delivery and these receipts are also used to prepare the bill of lading.
Benefits of Logistics Automation
Logistic automation is a great investment for businesses since it ensures everything runs smoothly right from order placements, shipping, and delivery of goods. The following are the benefits of logistics automation for document processing:
1. Assists with inventory management
Logistics automation assists with inventory management and makes it easier to track the movement of goods to and from the warehouse. You keep a record of your assets, quantities, and inventory.
2. Better customer service
Automation of logistics operations streamlines business workflows and boosts overall efficiency. When you get access to shipment tracking, account data, invoices, and logistics documentation all in one place, it translates to greater responsiveness and faster deliveries. All this translates to happier customers who are also able to access their data at any given time.
3. Improved Business Planning
Insights derived from document processing and data management in logistics helps businesses plan for future endeavors long-term. You can keep up-to-date with business operations at the administrative, management, and operational levels.
4. Reduced paper-based storage
A lot of money is spent on maintaining physical spaces for document storage. Shifting to paperless modes of storage by using logistics automation for document processing is a smart and efficient move. Since all the data is store electronically, you don’t have to worry about mishandling files or losing them
5. Ensures Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory authorities require organizations to keep electronic records of their shipment information for legal compliance. Organizations are able to ensure they follow the laws and regulations by using document processing and automation software for logistics
6. Complete customer privacy
For customers who are worried about compromising their privacy, businesses can use automaton for logistics document processing to keep their information safe. The data stays on the company servers and does not get shared publicly online. Only customers can view their own data and records are kept encrypted for added protection.
Automate logistics document processing with Docsumo
Logistics document processing with Docsumo entails creating and training an API to read logistics data. Docsumo’s machine learning algorithms are self-learning which means every time you upload a document, the model extracts data automatically from it and becomes more intelligent.
To automate document processing for logistics with Docsumo, simply follow these steps:
- Log into app.docsumo.com using your user credentials
- Go to Document Types > Create New Document Type and upload your first logistics document
- Create key value pairs and assign the appropriate data types. You can add sections to your document for better data extraction
- Guide the Docsumo API by drawing bounding boxes for highlighting documents key fields and corresponding values. Docsumo’s API is capable of reading bar code information, numeric text, symbols, logos, etc.
- Once you have extracted the key information from your main document, save your changes
- Docsumo will ask if you want to apply the edits and save changes to all new documents or both existing and new ones. Select whatever you prefer and confirm.
- After your document is annotated, go to Document Types and upload at least 20 logistics documents. All the uploaded files will show their key value pairs highlighted. If anything is missing or the API failed to read a field, you can help the software fix it
- When all your fields are extracted accurately, click on Approve. Repeat this process for the next few documents until Docsumo’s API captures all fields from your files correctly. You can now go ahead and click on ‘Approve’ to finish.
- The Review option lets you make corrections and helps the API get more accurate at extracting key fields from documents. Go ahead and upload your documents in bulk once you’re confident that the API is capturing information and structuring it correctly
- Additionally, your API will now be visible under the APIs & Services module. Make sure it is enabled next time you log in. Docsumo’s API will automatically extract data from your new documents since it is trained now
You can use logistics automation software to scale your business as well through faster document processing. Automation is invaluable for logistics as it speeds up business productivity and efficiency. As you’re able to process huge volumes of information in minutes, there is no need for re-entering data or manual data entry.
Are you ready to start automating document processing for your logistics using Docsumo today? Sign up for a free demo and see it in action.