August 25, 2022

The Benefits of Automating Data Entry in Freight Forwarding Operations & Finance Processes

Unlock the Benefits of Streamlined Freight Processes and Data Management

Many freight processes are involved with daily forwarding operations. Streamlining services and automating routine steps and procedures can improve end-to-end visibility and productivity for forwards of all sizes. Even as the push for automation becomes more mainstream, many freight forwarders remain slow to get on board with full automation, especially regarding data entry and financial processing.  The driving force behind much of the innovation and advancement in the industry today ties back to freight process automation.

According to LogisticsManagement, “Established forwarders invested heavily in technology 10 to 15 years ago, and many continue to use those systems,” says Lyon. “Although they are by now embedded into the core of the organization, they are unwieldy, difficult, and expensive to maintain. The study revealed that 55% say digitization is essential to future strategies, manual bidding per order took over 50+ hrs, and over 70% of responding forward say they fail even to make bids on available loads. 

These figures highlight a central truth regarding freight forwarding operations today: forwarder services and planning should encompass reliability, cost, and efficiency. In many cases, these three elements coincide with advanced software, improved resilience, and enhanced efficiency, enabling forwarders to improve processes from start to finish. With streamlined process optimization, reduced labor costs, and more shipper-directed services, freight forwarders can avoid many challenges facing financial data management and documentation. 

Understanding The Concept of Automation of Freight Processes 

Improving freight processes and financial operations among freight forwarders with automation and AI requires careful attention to the following components and concepts:

  • Better Understanding and Adherence to Deadlines- Knowing when loads are due, what wiggle room there is for ETAs, and what repercussions could come from delays is paramount to providing the right forwarding services.
  • Improve Cashflow Management and Invoicing - Automating freight forwarding financial services often require an overhaul of the primary cash flow and invoicing process to improve overall efficiency and streamline digital processes.
  • Reduce Frequency and Severity of Financing Errors - Errors and mistakes will happen regardless of the best plans. Still, the frequency and severity get reduced and better managed with the right approach regarding automated options for freight forwarding.
  • Utilization of Real-Time Feight  Processing Tools- Better freight processing and procedural management are easier with real-time services and innovation on hand and easily accessible by all team members and personnel. 
  • Allowing Staff to Focus on Critical Tasks - Automating forwarding documentation, data entry, and freight process management allows for greater efficiency among team members and frees them up to focus on more critical needs.
  • Access to Single Point of Access and On-Demand Data - Easy and reliable access to accurate real-time data, logistics, and analysis is critical to boosting financial processes and perfecting freight-related data entry and process management.
  • Improved Forecast Planning and Route Management- Planning budgets, monitoring cash flow, and managing freight forwarding finances with a focus on route adaptability can improve profitability. It is possible with forecast planning and route management.
  • Improved Rate Optimization with Predictive Services- The concepts of freight process automation includes financial planning and predictive analytics for cost management and the ability to utilize predictive planning and services when possible. 

Simply put, according to 2021 reports by Deloitte, “optimizing resources to achieve greater efficiencies is what intelligent automation is all about. Doing so entails transportation organizations leveraging their human capital and technology, machines, and equipment resources in new ways… By automating freight, companies can address driver shortages in the United States (over 60,000 in 2018 and expected to grow to 160,000 by 2028). Automatic freight can also reduce costs. Driving labor expenses are the largest cost for trucking companies and makeup approximately 28%–50% of revenue.” As freight forwarders work with domestic and international supply chain partners, there is more to track and monitor. Docutmation, data, analytics, and both short and long-term trends can get confused, and account reconciliation can become an issue. While automation and artificial intelligence (AI) may seem daunting at first, implementing new technology can reduce the number of errors and time involved in your accounting processes.

The Benefits of Automation in Data Entry for Freight Forwarding Operations 

The benefits of automation and streamlined documentation processing become apparent with Expedock services. With a simple document upload, Expedock will scan and digitally extract the data points and line items needed for any specific analysis, processing, or processing. Expedock even classifies the documents by type and attaches them to any related files and records automatically. 

Using AI technology, Expedock automation provides all users with a stunning 99.97% accuracy rate without requiring a template setup, tedious processes, or loads of manual prep work. Expedock savings are far-reaching and impact many aspects of freight forwarding processing and services. This data entry and processing automation provide labor savings of around 30% – 40%, compared to the 10% – 20% savings other software providers offer. 

Additionally, as highlighted by Markets and Markets, “The global logistics automation market size is projected to grow from USD 48.4 billion in 2020 to USD 88.9 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.6% during the forecast period. The logistics automation market is gaining traction due to exponential growth in the eCommerce industry, advancements in robotics, and growing need to ensure workforce safety.” With this end goal for growth and sustainability, Expedock offers powerful automated accounting solutions for sustainable development. Ultimately, the goal is to help freight forwarders tap into the following benefits:

  • Reduced Number of Manual Tracks Needed

Automated document scanning, processing, and recording all help reduce the amount of manual work staff and team members must do daily. With less manual labor, workers are productive and focused on critical tasks and concerns.

  • Data-Backed Forecasting and Planning

The better budgets and cash flow planning remains, the more prepared forwarders are for potential disruptions and issues. Tapping into data-backed, company-specific planning options ensure accurate forecasting and reliable cost/expense balance.

  • Lower Business Costs and Accessorial Charges

Automated document processing, digital auditing, and routine checks allow for more precise management of freight costs and accessorial charges. Detecting errors, overcharges, and missed payments will improve bottom-line profitability for forwarders. 

  • Fewer Costs From Detention and Demurrage

Many delays leading to detention, demurrage, and related fees and expenses come from mismanagement of documentation, invoices, and other critical paperwork. Automating accounting processing and data entry allows for on-demand access to all vital papers.

  • Straightforward Onboarding of New Tools and Software

With automated processes backed by reliable industry leaders, forwarders can access and utilize the tools and software best suited for managing financial records and documents. It simplifies the entire process and makes it much more efficient.

  • Easier Time Scaling, Adapting, and Shifting Focus

Automation as a whole improves productivity and helps team members and companies as a whole adapt to changing markets and consumer demands. Scaling, adapting, and shifting focus and processes is easier when much of the process is already automated.

  • Faster Onboarding and Less Training Needs
    No training or installation of any software is required with best-in-class automated systems. With less training, hassle, and runaround, forwarders can get started with their data entry processing in no time and enjoy the benefits for themselves.
  • Faster and Better Growth, Recovery, and Expansion

Companies can continue recovery efforts with improved logistical and forwarding services, including automated data collection, financial tracking, and projections. With innovations comes the ability to worry less about cash flow and finance logistics.

  • Improve Delegation of Work Responsibilities
    Reallocating employees to improve forwarding services while managing payment collections is easier when everyone is focused. Delegating responsibilities and tasks is easier when data entry and collection are done automatically with greater proficiency.
  • Faster Response to Exceptions and Issues

When issues are detected early on with data and financial entry tracking and automation, it is easier to respond to exceptions and problems. Team members can focus on servicing customers and logistics freight coordination rather than everything else.

Implement Automated Data Entry in Freight Forwarding and Finance Processes

Data entry ranks among the most mundane tasks and doesn’t need human creativity, relationships, planning, or insight. It takes a person longer to complete data entry than a software program, leading to daily wasted time, resources, money, and skills. Rather than spend time on meaningless data entry tasks, employees are free to use their time to check discrepancies, review overdue accounts, connect with vendors, and support customers. That is the power of automation and emerging technology within the freight forwarding industry.

Streamlining services and automating freight forwarding procedures improve end-to-end visibility and productivity for forwards regardless of size, specialization, or niche focus. The benefits of automation and streamlined documentation processing become apparent with Expedock services. With state-of-the-art services and processes focused on improving freight forwarding, Expedock helps automate data entry and financial operations across the board.Contact Expedock today to learn more about getting a free trial and get started with streamlining freight forwarding operations with enhanced data entry and financial document management.

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