January 16, 2024

A pathway to efficiency: automated Instructions for the Bill of Lading

Efficiency and productivity are the keys to business success in the world of logistics.

In this context, automating the processing of Instructions for the Bill of Lading proves crucial, with the potential to revolutionize shipment management.
Here we look into three key aspects of this transformation.

We explore how automation of the Instructions for the Bill of Lading, with a focus on data entry, simplifies logistics management, improving productivity and efficiency in Bill of Lading processing.
We proceed to examine how the customer service office, often engaged in manual data entry activities, can improve productivity and its performance through automation in order to optimize the creation of Bills of Lading, improving both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
We then focus on the complexity of Bill of Lading Instructions and the numerous documents of various formats that result. We will explain how simplifying this process can lead to significant improvements in logistics productivity while minimizing the possibility of errors.

Finally, we will see how Wenda's use of advanced AI enables the automatic extraction of Bill of Lading Instructions from emails or attachments, turning the creation of Bills of Lading into an automated process. This revolutionary step not only improves efficiency but also offers new prospects for success in logistics.



Improving productivity in the customer service office

The customer service office plays a crucial role in the process of managing Instructions for the Bill of Lading, but is often involved in manual data entry activities. This approach carries the risk of errors and is an obstacle to maximizing operational efficiency.

Much of the information needed to execute logistics and supply chain operations – including Instructions for Bills of Lading – is in fact manually extracted from data sources such as emails or attachments.

“These operations are usually prone to errors during the data entry process, causing inefficiency for companies.” 

Automating data entry using specialized software offers a way to improve customer service performance and optimize the creation of Bills of Lading. By enabling fast and accurate extraction of data from instructions, automation reduces the risk of errors and speeds up the process, allowing customer service staff to focus on higher value-added tasks and improve overall productivity.

The value of automation comes primarily from the efficiency it creates. One of the largest global consumer goods companies reported that the use of advanced automation enabled it to solve workflow problems 30% faster and helped improve employee productivity by up to 50%1.

Many companies offering transportation services receive specific instructions from their customers on what information to include in the Bill of Lading. This is often one of the most time-consuming activities on the part of those responsible for creating the bill of lading. Therefore, automating this activity can speed up the process of creating Bills of Lading as a whole.
And thus, investing in advanced technologies to automate the data entry of bills of lading is crucial to increasing back office productivity and contributing to the overall success of the supply chain.



Document automation as a lever for success

In the logistics industry, it often happens that Instructions for the Bill of Lading come with a variety of documents in different formats because each company chooses the format that best suits its needs when sending instructions to the transporter.
Digitalization is already a step forward, reducing paper consumption and paving the way for process automation.

But digitalization by itself is not enough to improve back office productivity: data extracted from bill of lading instructions must then be processed accurately and quickly to ensure that shipments are handled correctly. Automating this process can result in significant improvements: by eliminating manual work, automation minimizes the risk of errors and reduces the time required to complete each transaction. This allows for a more efficient workflow and faster faster shipment management.

“Digitalization by itself is not enough to improve back office productivity. Automation minimizes the risk of errors and reduces the time it takes to complete each transaction, enabling more efficient workflow and faster shipment management.”

Applying automation to the case of Instructions for the Bill of Lading allows the necessary data to be automatically extracted from instructions received via e-mail and entered into internal management systems, eliminating the need for repetitive and error-prone manual work.
This means customer service personnel can free up valuable time to focus on more strategic activities and value-added services for customers. In addition, automation greatly reduces the possibility of input errors, which is crucial to the accuracy of Bill of Lading information.



Increasing productivity in logistics with automation

Document automation is therefore a step forward in the management of Instructions for the Bill of Lading.
AI algorithms can recognize and interpret data, feeding it directly into management systems. This process not only speeds up processing but also minimizes the possibility of errors.

The use of AI, contemplated for example by the solutions provided by Wenda, allows instructions to be automatically extracted from emails or attachments, paving the way for automating the process of creating Bills of Lading. This revolutionary step not only improves efficiency but also offers new prospects for success in logistics.

Wenda's AI offers new opportunities to further simplify the process: the Wenda platform selects the email and/or attachments received via email, downloads them, and sends them to the AI model for data reading and extraction.
Wenda's proprietary Artificial Intelligence reads and understands the details, and then the specialized AI model analyzes the instructions, identifies various details such as sender, consignee, notified party, reservation number, place of receipt, ocean vessel, port of embarkation, port of discharge, final destination, freight payable, package number/type, description of goods, gross and net weight using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning.

There is then an understanding of the context in which the analyzed document is moving, unlike simple OCR software, and then the most relevant information is extracted from the email or attachments, regardless of the format or layout of the document. More specifically, the fields to be extracted can be: 

  • Shipper
  • Consignee
  • Notify
  • Port of embarkation (loading/loading)-num car max.
  • Port of disembarkation (unloading)
  • Number of containers
  • Container (Container code, Container type, Number of packages, Gross weight, Seals, Any customs codes)
  • Description of cargo
  • Notes (agent at destination)


Another significant benefit of document automation is the creation of a complete digital trail. All instructions and documents are stored in a structured and easily accessible manner. This improves the traceability of shipments and the ability to respond quickly to any problems or delays. Document automation also opens up new opportunities for data analysis: with all data collected consistently, trends can be identified, processes optimized, and data-driven decisions made with greater confidence.



Conclusions

In conclusion, automating the management of the Instructions for the Bill of Lading is a catalyst for efficiency in logistics. By streamlining data entry, simplifying instruction creation, and embracing AI-enhanced document automation, companies can experience significant improvements in productivity, accuracy, and operational efficiency, fostering more effective and sustainable supply chain management. The adoption of these advanced technologies offers economic benefits, solidifying companies' position in the logistics industry. 



Notes

1. IBM Institute for Business Value (2018): The Evolution of Process Automation