The Big Leap: Robotic Process Automation in Logistics


Technology is flooding the freight industry and processes, and as the logistics industry swiftly undergoes digital transformation, automated processes have now started becoming the norm as it makes inroads into the industry, replacing manual processes. With automation occupying the core of business transformation strategies, we look at how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be a gamechanger for the entire spectrum of the logistics and supply chain.

As the supply chain grows and changes rapidly, technology enhancement has given a new lease of life to the various operations in the enterprise, where logistics management involves making sure items are stored, transported and delivered efficiently.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) marks the evolution of technology that has the power to redefine these logistics and supply chain processes.

It is powered to increase the efficiency of the logistics industry by automating processes, significantly improving the business operations, decreasing costs, and increasing the productivity.

A fast-growing technology that imitates human behaviour and is now slowly but surely making its way into logistics, RPA is an intelligent automation software that uses machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence to mimic the mundane tasks a human performs on a daily basis, be it reading email  or quoting rates.

According to a study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and commissioned by Automation Anywhere, adoption rates of robotic process automation (RPA) is predicted to grow by 57% in India in the next year.

The study found that found that 57 percent of organisations are investing in RPA and intelligent automation to build resilience in the post-pandemic world, as opposed to 21 percent investing in analytics/big data, 7 percent in machine learning, and 15 percent in other emerging technologies.

Eventually, RPA technology could provide every broker an assistant to perform lower-level tasks so they can so they can focus on high-level strategy.

Automating Back Office Operations:

Shipping and logistics companies are constantly under pressure by customers and shipping firms demanding higher prices for their services.

Inside their industry, back office operations like updating customer details on portals with the current status and ETA, scheduling a delivery or tracking, etc are performed manually.

Robotic Process Automation can provide respite in such a situation. RPA can automate such monotonous and mundane tasks by working 24/7, increasing operational efficiency, productivity and also bringing about cost reduction.

Automating the core business processes will instead ensure that the task will be less tedious and will meet SLAs and improve customer expectations.

Advantages of Robotic Process Automation

RPA can be used in many operations of freight processes as well as the transportation industry. We look at its many benefits:

Invoice processing and credit collections

Issuing payments after the job is a key hurdles that many businesses face. Regular follow-ups and multiple systems in the process can aggravate it by making it slower.

With the help of RPA,multiple systems can be integrated to streamline the process. It can integrate with freight bill payment systems to completely automate complete order-to-cash process for hundreds of large 3PL carriers.

Shipment scheduling and tracking

RPA can also automate manual shipping tasks, be it the initial pick-up request to checking and reporting shipment status between internal systems and portals.  With the help of RPA, shipment details can be extracted from incoming emails, pick-up times can be provided in customer/carrier portals, all with robots.

Automating order processing, payments and email communications

Order Processing is performed by manual entry of the customer information in companies’ database, processing payment, sending an email confirmation and placing order. With the help of RPA, the entire process can be automated. Even e-mail communication between customer and service provider can be carried out by the system.

Automating procurement and inventory processes

RPA can take  real-time reports to monitor the inventory and optimise inventory needs so as to ensure enough material is available to meet customer demands.

Capturing and closing out loads

The software robot can automatically scan and capture carrier website data like PRO number, track/trace information and invoice amount streamlining the capturing, researching and closing loads using RPA.

Speed Invoicing by Integrating Systems with Customer Portals

Through RPA, one can automatically extract shipping data, attach scanned PODs and invoices and update customer portals in seconds, by doing away with re-keying, cutting-and-pasting and manually attaching data to invoices.

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