Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an integral role in helping transport and logistics companies stay competitive.
Historically, logistics organizations have been forced to work with a high volume of paperwork. Manual data entry and decision-making are prone to error, and technology has become increasingly complex.
This is where artificial intelligence and automation come in. The right solution can help your organization extract structured data from your documentation, increase productivity and revenues, and help you optimize your supply chain.
Designed to improve efficiency while replicating human thinking, AI-driven technologies are key to any business’s digital transformation. Transport and logistics are no exception. This article will offer an overview of artificial intelligence and its role in automation.
What Does Artificial Intelligence Entail?
AI consists of systems that can automate or mimic human thinking. These same systems leverage data to make more informed decisions than the average human could.
A comprehensive, effective AI system can perceive information, analyze datasets, and produce solutions based on what it learns.
The purpose of artificial intelligence is to increase efficiency and reduce the risk of error. To achieve this, AI systems need a high volume of data that they can input about a given process. For example, an AI system can process text, sound, image, or video the same way a human being could using the five senses.
As AI technologies evolve, their error rates decrease. The voice assistants at Microsoft and Google, for instance, have an error rate of approximately 5%. As these technologies become more mature, they also become more advanced—increasing accuracy and efficiency as a result.
Benefits of AI in Transport
As AI becomes more complex and capable, transport companies are expressing greater interest in their utilizations. This is because AI can elevate transport service and improve global supply chains.
It’s no wonder the market size of AI in the transport field is slated to grow to USD 10.3 billion by 2030 (up from USD 1.21 billion in 2017). The benefits of AI are extensive and rooted in efficiency. Implementing AI in transportation can help logistics accounting teams work faster, with a lower rate of error.
Similarly, large-scale supply chains are often tasked with managing many different vehicle assets and premises. AI systems can navigate this by eliminating redundancies and keeping customer information up-to-date.
Another key benefit of AI in transport is security. Some companies rely on machine learning technologies to identify anomalies in classified documentation and invoices, and verify compliance. These systems have a remarkably high rate of fraud detection.
In rail transportation specifically, AI systems can help to build autonomous systems with self-driving trains. The trains involved will connect with other vehicles, exchange data, and communicate as needed with human supervisors.
This brings us to yet another benefit of AI in the transport field: real-time equipment analysis and maintenance, resulting in increased safety. McKinsey, in fact, reports that this type of predictive maintenance will help companies save as much as USD 630 billion by 2025.
Many industry players work with third-party vendors like Mely AI to ensure safe and effective transport and logistics processes. This is made possible by working with unstructured data—extracting essential information on locations, billings, dates, and other factors.
Benefits of AI in Logistics
Logistics companies like Amazon are founded in their high-level delivery and excellent service.
To achieve a reputation like Amazon’s, organizations can incorporate AI into their supply chain. Back-office automation, for example, delegates repetitive tasks to robots—and eventually to an artificial intelligence system. This includes machine learning, which helps AI accumulate knowledge so that it can make decisions and interact with humans consistently over time.
While robots are conceptually unique from AI, artificial intelligence is generally behind their operations. For example, robotic process automation (RPA) consists of rule-based systems that perform tasks like filling in web forms and distributing data—ultimately introducing that data to the AI system.
Cost savings (and again, efficiency) are a massive benefit here. Amazon has already deployed 520,000 robotic drive units across its fulfillment centers. Meanwhile, experts at Accenture claim artificial intelligence will increase productivity by over 40% by 2035.
The same report shows that 36% of organizations have successfully introduced AI for their logistics and supply chain processes. 28% of respondents have plans to increase their business value by leveraging artificial intelligence in the near future.
AI Use Cases in Transport and Logistics
We’ve discussed the benefits of using artificial intelligence in transport and logistics. But what are the key use cases of these technologies?
AI can help predict demand forecasting and warehouse management. The artificial intelligence system can leverage past experience to understand the factors at play in shifting demand.
Since AI can analyze massive datasets faster than any human, it can oversee an organization’s warehouse management more efficiently than human personnel. A lower rate of error is simply an added bonus.
AI can help companies understand what inventory categories are performing well and which ones are falling short. By identifying the key contributors, companies can make meaningful changes.
AI can help organizations analyze their existing routes and make improvements down the road. These systems use satellite maps to make decisions about traffic (and achieve even lower shipping costs).
Supply chain planning
Faster delivery is the result of intelligent algorithms. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help organizations navigate the evolving supply chain with ease.
Recruitment, training, and performance management are key aspects of workforce planning. AI solutions can simplify these processes, allowing companies to oversee their workforce more efficiently.
It stands to be repeated that AI systems can analyze data about your assets and warn you about potential equipment failure. This can help you save money and schedule repairs faster.
In addition to interacting with humans, AI systems can make decisions that mimic those a human would make. Robots and AI can help take on tasks once reserved for human personnel.
From managing assets to optimizing routes, AI can help transport and logistics organizations realize their fullest potential via automation. With artificial intelligence in your back pocket, you can embrace digital transformation and improve your performance in the field.
Embrace Transport and Logistics Automation with Mely.ai Solutions
Transport and logistics teams can leverage AI to increase visibility into their data, make better decisions, reduce errors, and save both time and money. The benefits of introducing artificial intelligence into your business are truly expansive.
The right software will help you transform your operations, allowing your teams to work with high volumes of data and operate more efficiently than ever. We’re confident you’ll never look back.
Interested in getting started? Book your free demo with Mely.ai Solutions today
While some logistics companies work manually, others have begun to automate their international trade document processing.
But how feasible is automation? Can logistics companies really automate their trade document processing systems? Should those that rely on manual data-entry take the time to digitize?
This article will provide answers to these questions and explain how automation plays into logistics’ companies digital transformation. In addition, the sections below will describe what trade documentation processing automation looks like—and outline the benefits of automating.
Document Processing: A Definition
Document processing consists of capturing data and converting it into a spreadsheet or internal system.
Logistics teams must process a number of documents with every shipment, from commercial invoices and customs forms, to packing lists and bills of ladling.
These documents are often processed manually. Manual processing, however, is prone to a number of risks and challenges—many of which can be addressed with automation.
Digital Transformation for Logistics Companies
It’s a common scenario: A company that once relied on paper-based processes hopes to move into the future. To save time and better serve customers, business leaders decide to adopt digital, paperless solutions.
The logistics space is no exception to the digital transformation rule. Now more than ever, companies are striving for a complete offline-to-online transformation solution. For teams in our industry, this will largely rely on automation: automated customs forms, PDF generation, content tracking, and more.
The overarching goal is for logistics companies to work more efficiently. As we enter an increasingly globalized society, businesses can expedite their international transportation, export and import procedures, customs clearance, and more with automation.
The Challenges of Manual Trade Document Processing
Logistics companies that still work manually may encounter a number of trade document processing roadblocks. These include:
Manual paperwork takes a great deal of time to complete and file, creating a backlog for logistics workers. It is also more prone to human error than automated alternatives.
Data storage issues
Another challenge is manually storing order and shipping trade documentation. By automating their document storage, companies can take a more streamlined approach and conserve team resources.
Lack of a technical background
Most trade documents are government-issued. Without an internal IT team or an expert third-party tech vendor, however, logistics companies may struggle to comply with different countries’ requirements.
Logistics teams today can save time and focus on their core business by automating their trade document processing, shipping requirement verification, and order storage information. This will reduce the risk of shipping delays, compliance violations, and more.
The Benefits of Automated Trade Document Processing
Logistics automation will help companies track the movement of their goods more effectively. These are just some of the benefits of automating your international trade document processing:
Real-time data access
Trade document processing automation allows companies to load and analyze their data in real time. By running reports in just a few clicks, logistics teams can make better business decisions—elevating their inventory management and processing invoices more seamlessly.
Speed and scalability are integral role to logistics companies’ trade document processing abilities. With automation software, the solution will automatically input data into the correct system when a new order comes in, and then consolidate customs documentation accordingly.
Better use of employee time
With an automated trade document processing solution, team members who once focused on data entry can take on more impactful, client-facing work. This will improve staff retention and job satisfaction—without compromising the quality of your team’s trade documents.
While errors are far from the norm where logistics companies’ manual processes are concerned, they do happen from time to time. By automating your international trade document processing, your teams can prevent errors from occurring in the first place.
Mistakes cost businesses not only time, but money. Problems may result in higher shipping expenses, inventory excess, planning and coordination issues, and documentation-error penalties. Automation has a proven ROI by helping to keep these expenses down.
Cloud-based automation solutions are accessible from anywhere. With enterprise-level security and unprecedented reliability, many logistics companies appreciate the ease automation software brings. Trade document processing automation is truly an integral part of logistics teams’ digital transformation.
These are just some of the reasons logistics companies are moving toward trade document automation. The next section will list some of the documents that can be processed automatically.
Which International Trade Documents Can Be Processed Automatically?
Many logistics documents can be automated. Global logistics teams may choose to automate the processing of the following documents:
The right solution will extract invoice data and automatically export it to your logistics company’s internal systems. This will make commercial invoicing easier—and faster—than ever.
Automated customs document processing allows goods to clear customs more efficiently. An automated system will sort and process declaration forms quickly and securely.
Included in every shipment, packing lists describe the type and quantity of goods being delivered. Artificial intelligence lets teams capture and export this data in real time.
Certificates of analysis
Attesting that your goods have undergone the required testing can be tedious. So can proving that you’ve achieved the necessary results. Again, this is where automation may come in.
Bills of ladling
These documents describe what goods are being shipped and serve as a receipt for the consignee. Since bills of ladling increase transparency, the data should be readily-available.
Again, this is where automation comes in.
How Does Automated Trade Document Processing Work?
We’ve discussed the benefits of digital transformation and described the types of trade documents that can be automated.
This section will define the stages involved in international trade document processing automation. A brief overview: Document automation software classifies documents by grouping them into the right category, and then pulling and storing data as needed.
These are the steps that make up automated trade document processing:
Here machine learning models interpret information and patterns from logistics documents. Then, these same models classify the documents by type.
Once the document is classified, the machine learning models extract the data from the document by interpreting the context of the file and content.
Sometimes machine learning models might pick up on an extraction exception. Users will then be directed to parts of the document where changes need to be made.
At this point, the data will move from the documents received into the relevant account record. Approved users will be notified once the document has been processed.
To summarize, document automation software extracts data from international trade documents, interprets the data, and syncs the data with logistics company systems. This results in cost savings of more than 80%—saving teams time and freeing them up to focus on more meaningful work.
Embrace Logistics Automation with Mely AI
Logistics teams can leverage automation to increase visibility into their data, make better decisions, reduce errors, and save time and money. The benefits of automating your international trade document processing are truly expansive.
Here’s the bottom line: Document processing automation is well within reach. The right software will help you transform your manual document processing solution from a slow, error-prone system into a fast, automated alternative. We’re confident you’ll never look back.
Interested in getting started? Book your free demo with Mely AI to learn more.