Document Automation Best Practices for Freight Forwarders


Managing modern shipping processes, especially shipping documentation, can be a challenge for freight forwarders in the best of times. Thankfully AI document automation can improve those vital functions across all areas of the supply chain network. According to a report from Business Insider, businesses utilizing fully-automated digital solutions for document processing and document automation can experience a more than 80% decrease in processing costs and 73% faster processing times. These improvements to document management workflow and costs are possible thanks to the continued shift toward integrating better documentation automation tools into routine supply chain operations. By following recommended best practices, freight forwarders can enjoy much simpler and more efficient document workflows.

How Document Automation Works for Freight Forwarders

Document automation works by pulling data, information, updates, and reports from various sources and automatically populating document templates and forms with that information. These templates can cover any general supply chain documents needed for freight forwarding and customized forms and papers specific to individual companies and customers. Automation is most useful when applied to records and document tracking that involves frequently accessed forms and documents. Following these best practice recommendations for automating document workflows can help forwarders get the most out of any documentation automation tools that they bring onboard.

1. Leverage an Integrated AI, RPA, and ML Platform.

A fully integrated automated platform can make it easier for team members, drivers, customers, and managers to communicate in real-time.

2. Aggregate Data From Emails, Chatbots, and the Full Tech Stack.

Compiling data-driven sources can significantly increase the value of that data and can improve documentation and utilization throughout the network. 

3. Validate All Data Entered Into Documents.

All data brought into the system and used to manage document management workflow must be checked and validated to ensure accuracy. 

4. Digitally Generate and Share Documents in Real-Time.

Sharing, organizing, recording, and saving documents in real-time speeds up multiple processes and streamlines critical processes from start to finish.

5. Create a Defined Process for Handling Automation Exceptions.

Automated systems and documentation automation tools can make it easier to address exceptions and disruptions caused by paperwork or filing issues.

6. Use Analytics to Track Accuracy of Document Automation and Protocols.

Automated systems allow for on-demand checks and investigations to ensure the overall accuracy of forms, invoices, documents, regulation papers, and more.

7. Recognize That Manual Document Creation Wastes Major Resources.

Complete onboarding is required as the investment into automating document workflows can reduce waste and improve resource access and utilization.

8. Retain All Documentations Mandated as Importer or Exporter of Record.

It is easier to file, record, and access important documentation with a fully integrated digitally automated document management workflow setup.

9. Consider Using Document Automation to Process Freight Claims Too.

Every piece of paper in the company’s paper trail can benefit from automation, including freight claims and general shipping industry reports.

10. Ensure Everyone Follows Proper Training and Onboarding Procedures.

The final thing necessary for maximum efficiency is proper training of team members on the documentation automation tools that they will have available.

With the rise of more disruptions and obstaclesand the ongoing rise in competition and market pressure, those in the freight forwarding industry are finding it all the more difficult to meet the profit margins necessary to survive in the current freight forwarding industry. However, investing automating document workflows and document management workflows can make this task less daunting.

Maximize Efficiency and Maintain Optimized Document Management Workflow With Help From RPA Labs’ Automated Services

Freight forwarders are the backbone of the modern shipping network and play a critical role in supply chain logistics and management. To make logistics more manageable, especially regarding document management workflow, freight forwarders need to embrace the latest technology and innovation. Onboarding digital platforms that allow easier document automation, workflow automation, and internal processing can save time, money, and resources daily. With these best practices and tips in mind, it is easier for freight forwarders to manage document workflows and keep the supply chain moving. Contact RPA Labs today to schedule a free demo and see how documentation automation tools can improve your daily processes and what benefits you and your team can enjoy.

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