Legacy processes often hinder the digital transformation that many organizations are undertaking, especially within basic transportation and logistics operations. Trucks traveling half-empty, long paper trails, and complicated planning systems compound the problem. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can be a powerful on-ramp for the digital transformation of these processes through automating many manual, repetitive tasks.
The institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) defines RPA as, “the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a ‘robot’ to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems”. Bots’ capacity to ingest, manipulate, and export data can be put to good use for extracting shipping details from emails, coordinating jobs in scheduling systems, and provide accurate data for both employees and customers.
RPA and other automation technologies free up your expensive resources and allow them to focus on higher value activities and outcomes, which not only improves employee engagement and customer satisfaction, but positively affects the organization’s bottom line.
RPA – A Transporation & Logistics Case Study
Beginning in 2018, a leading provider of transportation and supply chain management products successfully used RPA to reduce the high manual labor tasks required for creating and optimizing transportation plans and coordinating appointments with carrier partners.
An RPA solution was used to augment some of the organization’s lacking functionality in the planning cycle while an upgrade to their transportation management system (TMS) was in its formation stages. What began as only two bots in early 2018 has since morphed into over 130 bots that execute approximately 1300 tasks daily, which has allowed the company to repurpose valuable transportation analysts, decrease the time required for some manual tasks by 65%, and increase consistency (as Robots don’t make mistakes when deployed correctly). RPA is used to automate client-specific business rules – when shipping to a client x, do not use the standard carriers, but rather those carriers that have higher insurance coverage, as one example. A bot can also examine shipping loads and determine which must be optimized immediately for faster shipping, and which can be prioritized for later processing.
How Can Robots Benefit Transportation & Logistics?
The transportation & logistics industry is marred by a large amount of ineffective processes, which have a negative impact on the productivity of the industry as a whole. Proper management of this data can result in greatly-improved efficiency and enable an organization for success.
Let’s look at a few key areas in which RPA can augment T&L:
Order and inventory processing
Working and closing out loads
Invoice processing and credit collections
Scheduling and tracking of shipments
Improvements in communications
These (and many other processes) are rule-based, high-volume transactions – ripe for automation! Robots can largely eliminate the need for manual data-entry, which is time-consuming and error-prone. A bot may automatically grab a shipment’s PRO number from a carrier’s website and attach that number to a record in a neighboring system – providing a more streamlined ease-of-use and reducing human intervention to a minimum.
Working with partner companies is a critical piece of advancing business, but tracking information through multiple systems can quickly turn into a nightmare. Robots can automatically scan a carrier’s website for pertinent information, like PRO numbers or invoice amounts, and aggregate that information for faster load close-out times.
The Bottom Line
As robots and automation take over routine, repetitive transactional processing tasks, the Transportation & Logistics industry can expect a large turn-up in the adoption of digital automation processes. Professionals will be more free to perform complex, judgement-based transactions that robots may not be able to perform, and will move away from data gathering, data entry, and bookkeeping, and take on more advisory roles – relying on their judgement and consultative expertise to add additional value for the organization. RPA will live happily in the background, running day-to-day repetitive operational tasks.
A great place to begin implementing RPA into your organization is by automating straightforward processes such as invoice data entry and order processing. Schedule a demo with the Shamrock Solutions team today to begin your journey on the path to freedom!