How to Use Artificial Intelligence (AI)  for Shipping Document Automation


Freight costs are rising faster than experts expected. Transport Topics reported, “While we had been projecting spot rates to increase 4% year-over-year in 2022, our lead economist has adjusted his forecast to 6% growth.” As domestic truck rates increase, international trade freight costs will most likely escalate too. Shippers and freight forwarders are turning to AI for shipping document automation to stay competitive in price and efficiency. 

What Is Shipping Document Automation?

Shipping document automation uses robotics processing automation (RPA) to extract data and appropriately sync it with an internal business system. AI can process both paper freight documents and submit digitized documents within seconds, compared to the hours it takes manually. Freight managers maximize efficiency and minimize inaccurate output by moving toward complete automation workflow.

1. Automatically Classify All Documents

While optical character recognition has been a traditional form of digitizing data, AI-powered document management can take the extracted text and properly classify it. AI can separate freight documents properly by type by interpreting patterns and information on documents. Although a simple task, this alone relieves manual labor, creating a smooth document management system for shipping.

2. Give Your Team the Ability to Capture and Share POD Images Live

When buying an RPA for supply chain companies, it’s important to consider the areas this system can streamline. By utilizing AI in document automation, freight management parties have the opportunity to streamline their team and carrier interactions by digitizing proof of delivery (POD) documents in real-time. 

3. Upload and Share Documents in Real-Time

Because the supply chain of 2022 is turbulent, it’s essential to have access to business documents in real-time. AI proves its value in this area alone by removing the possibility for document processing to be delayed due to employee sickness or leave. This access gives shippers and freight forwarders the ability to pass on live visibility to customers. 

3. Analyze Documents to Ensure Accuracy and Completeness

As freight costs rise, it’s crucial for freight management parties to minimize mistakes that can quickly deter customers. Shipping document automation is taken two steps further with AI through its ability to provide accuracy and completeness. Regardless of the time of day or amount of submitted data, AI is ready to process with minimal inaccuracy. 

4. Enable Email Management and Response Bots to Capture a Bigger “Picture” of All Documents

Baseline RPA is limited to extracting data with rules set for each session or document type. However, AI can utilize complete data collected from extracted documents for more data-driven processing, such as email management and response bots. Creating a big picture from all documentsprovides more information to maximize efficiency and logistics. 

5. Consolidate Order Data to Begin Fulfillment

International shippers know that orders can come in at all times of day, and AIs are ready for them. By consolidating order data from the same or multiple customers, AI can initiate and predict shipping timelines. Doing this maximizes efficiency by providing manual workers the opportunity to start their shift with all data necessary for fulfillment.

6. Follow Through With AI-Generated Notifications for Exceptions

Shipping document automation with AI vastly improves the ability to handle exceptions. By utilizing a set confidence score, AIs will add documents that don’t meet the minimum confidence score, also called exceptions, for human review on the TMS or other company-wide logistics systems. 

7. Track Everything and Repeat.

With an AI-enabled workflow process established, data comes streaming in. Patterns in freight documents that the natural eye might are quickly made clear, often with actionable solutions. Human review of exceptions offers opportunities to more efficiently and correctly quote, bookm and repeat without dragging down employees with tedious tasks.

Boost Shipping Document Automation With RPA Labs

Freight forwarders and shippers receive thousands of documents a year; it could even amount to that in a month for some companies. Deploying an AI solution offers a logistical solution while freeing employees for human-facing interactions and decisions that build a business. To see how your freight documents and data integration can be optimized, schedule a demo with RPA Labs today.

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