Logistics service providers continue to face rising pressure from customers, vendors and third-party logistics providers. To keep up with demand and ensure that orders are fulfilled on time and at the right cost, LSPs are focusing more attention on their back office operations. To improve efficiency at your back office, you have to strike the right balance between people, technology, processes and data. This means introducing technologies that automate manual processes so employees can focus on more important tasks. It also means implementing processes that cut down on inefficiencies and redundancies. With these steps in mind, let’s take a closer look at how you can increase efficiency in your back office:
Organize and streamline your supply chain
A well-oiled supply chain will make your entire business run more smoothly—and more efficiently. Start by assessing your current supply chain process and identifying areas for improvement. What does your typical shipment entail? At what point does it enter the back office? What happens next? Recognizing your company’s lowest hanging fruit gives you a starting point to decide what’s most important to optimize.
Utilize automation tools
Manual processes are inherently inefficient. So, wherever you can, try to implement automation. This will help you to cut down on your employees’ workload and ensure that shipments are being completed quickly and accurately. Automated tools, such as robotic process automation, can help to increase efficiency throughout the shipping process. A few of these RPA tools include email automation, document automation, and workflow automation. Email automation is able to open emails, analyze the content, and respond to a customer inquiry in seconds. Document automation can extract data from documents, migrate it to your TMS or ERP system, and complete shipments without human intervention. Workflow automation can trigger advanced workflows like notifying customers or internal teams.
Provide employees with the right tools
Empowered employees are better employees. They feel a sense of ownership over their work and are more likely to do things the right way. They’re also less likely to make costly errors. Automate as many processes as you can, but leave room for employees to make decisions or manage exceptions. For example, people will always need to be involved when automation is implemented. There will always be exceptions in the logistics industry that software just can’t handle, like hazardous or high-value moves. Automation allows employees to focus on these valuable projects rather than mindless data entry.
Leverage data to drive efficiency
As you implement new technologies, you’ll also be able to collect more data. This data can then be used to drive efficiency forward and make your business more streamlined, allowing you to forecast demand with more accuracy. Live updates throughout every step of the shipment process means you can go beyond simply analyzing past trends. Using the data, you don’t have to wait months to find out if a disruption or change to your supply chain is causing disarray. You’ll be able to make informed decisions that make an immediate impact.
Drive consolidation in your back office
We’ve noticed one common theme when talking with logistics service providers – a patchwork of systems and processes that create chaos for the logistics industry. Back office teams are spending hours every day logging into multiple third party systems or portals just to access the information to complete a task. Utilizing robotic process automation to connect these systems and consolidate the data into one platform allows employees to be more efficient, complete shipments faster, and provide better customer service.
With the right combination of people, processes, and technology, you can increase efficiency at your back office and ensure that orders are fulfilled on time. By organizing and streamlining your supply chain, implementing automation tools, providing employees with the right tools, leveraging data to drive efficiency, and driving consolidation in your back office, you can ensure that your business runs as smoothly as possible. Contact RPA Labs today to get started automating your back office operations.