Digital transformation saves businesses time and money.
Just consider your document processing. From invoices to customs documents, transport and logistics companies rely on the ability to categorize—and analyze—data from their files. Effective document processing is key to making intelligent decisions.
Now, processing incoming documents once took significant company time and resources—but today it can be automated.
To automate the way that you process those documents, you will need to extract the data from them using automation. This process is known as automated document data extraction.
This article will offer an overview of automated document data extraction and describe the benefits of this process. Be sure to reach out if you have questions (or to schedule your free demo) once you finish reading.
The Meaning of Document Data Extraction
Document data extraction involves retrieving meaningful information known as data from documents. Generally, the data is pulled from unstructured or semi-structured sources for processing and storage.
As we mentioned in our introduction, this process can—and should—be automated. Intelligent document data extraction features the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AI). The idea here is to use AI to pull data from the documents to derive meaning from them, and to use that meaning to make future decisions.
We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly. First, let’s review the concept of document processing.
Document processing generally involves the following steps:
- Transforming a document into a digital version (if relevant).
- Interpreting the structure of the document.
- Identifying the most relevant content in the document.
- Determining the category via the document’s defining features.
- Extracting the content from the source document.
- Leveraging the data from the document to increase productivity.
All of these steps can be automated—more effectively than ever nowadays. Consider image and text recognition, just two of the areas where AI has resulted in serious performance improvements lately. Our clients can’t emphasize enough just how much automated data extraction has improved in the last decade.
Through the use of AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing, you too can automate your document processing. This will result in a more efficient document data extraction process.
Why Does Document Data Extraction Matter?
Companies looking to automate their back-office activities rely on data extraction. Most documents today can be processed automatically so long as they can be converted into structured data. This makes data extraction quality the biggest roadblock to automated document processing.
In some cases, manual processing is still important. Processes like ensuring VAT compliance, for example, may stay manual because the most important data isn’t necessarily extracted from the documents right off the bat. Down the road, this too can be automated.
The truth is that where automated data extraction is concerned, a high level of quality is well within reach. Automated document data extraction ensures the most critical processes—think payment in the case of an invoice—are taken care of.
So is automated document data extraction worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes. A report from the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (MIT-IDE) associated business management practices that involve data collection with higher operational performance. Meanwhile, decision-making based on data extracted from different sources resulted in a productivity spike of 3%.
Not only that, but the market for automated document processing solutions is slated to reach $4.1 billion by 2027.
A report conducted by Allied Market Research explored the data extraction market by component, data type, and industry vertical. It found that the global data extraction market—valued at $2.14 billion in 2019—is expected to exceed $4.9 billion by 2027.
Clearly there’s a great deal of potential here. Verticals like transport and logistics are no exception, as automated document processing and document data extraction enable digital transformation. Companies will save time and money, and work much more efficiently, by using AI in their document processing.
How to Automate Your Document Data Extraction
Many companies are eager to automate their document processing but don’t know where to start. For organizations dealing with dozens or even hundreds of forms each day, automating processes like document data extraction may seem intimidating. Yet it’s imperative.
Starting with an initial project will allow you to pinpoint which documents or processes would benefit most from automated data extraction. This, ideally, will help your team convince corporate leaders to consider using even more AI. Widespread automation, including automated data extraction, can make a real impact on your bottom line.
To get started, focus on high-volume documents first. You’ll want to hone in on metrics such as the:
- Current cost of document data extraction
This can be challenging to estimate. However, the document volume and overall complexity can give you a sense of how much your company is currently spending on document processing. From there, you can highlight the most expensive documents that will likely be worth automating.
- Scope of document processing
After extracting the data from your documents, you’ll want to evaluate what your team currently does manually. Take invoices as an example. After extracting the data from your invoices, you’ll find that processes like VAT compliance checks can absolutely be automated afterward.
- Availability of data extraction tools
Regardless of the document, there is almost certainly an automated solution you can use to extract the relevant data. Our team works closely with clients to build custom AI and machine learning models—helping teams process their documents with greater efficiency and accuracy.
To automate your data extraction, consider working with a trusted partner like Mely AI. We’ll walk you through all the steps you need to strengthen your document processing using artificial intelligence and other automation solutions.
Alternatives to Automated Document Data Extraction
Manual data extraction is a common alternative to automated extraction. This approach, however, is generally slow, inaccurate, and expensive. It can also be grueling for back-office personnel, many of whom would much prefer to automate their document processing and focus on other core tasks.
Template-based strategies are yet another option. This approach lets teams create templates that capture data from documents using a specific format. However, due to the range of document formats that exist today, it can be challenging to achieve substantial automation with template-based solutions.
Automated data extraction is likely the best solution when it comes to extracting the most relevant data from your documents.
Automate Your Document Processing with Mely AI
Automating your document processing can help your teams work more productively, reduce employee workload and stress, and increase your bottom line. The benefits for companies are truly expansive.
So automate your document data extraction with our skilled team. We’ll capture data from your documents instantly—decreasing manual effort and turnaround times. Talk about a win-win.
Are you ready to get started? Book your free demo with Mely AI 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.