As anyone in logistics can tell you, there are many costly obstacles that can get in the way of on-time, accurate, and cost-effective logistics services. Many of these challenges are related to human errors, tedious data processing and time spent manually pulling data from the sources needed to make good decisions. There is a way to improve these sticking points to improve your logistics company’s profitability.
By adding custom Robotic Process Automation (RPA), your logistics company can improve performance in:
- Resource planning
- Customer service
Improved Resource Planning
Resource planning allows you to effectively use your labor force and vehicles to deliver shipments. There are a few main areas where RPA can be added for logistics automation, primarily scheduling and volume planning.
Even if you’re using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to manage some of your processes you can add custom automation that brings data in or pushes data out of the ERP into other software you may be using. It also makes it easier to produce reports that include data from the ERP and other systems in a single dashboard.
Automations for Scheduling
Scheduling is one of the core activities in a logistics company that can often be streamlined with automations. If you don’t have your drivers, office staff, and warehouse staff on a single software platform for scheduling, you may be gathering data from multiple systems for a complete picture of your needs and staff availability. Rather than starting over with an entirely new software system to manage resources, custom automations can be created to connect the systems for optimal use.
For example, robotic process automation can be created and added into the software you’re using for scheduling, even if it’s in a few different systems. A bot can run through this list of active employees and check it with the various employees who are available to work including their hour requirements, vacation time, etc. By using RPA, your logistics employee schedule can be generated and easily shared with those who are on it. No more hand-writing schedules or scheduling in a spreadsheet to figure out who should work and when.
Shipment Volume Estimations
Automation software using artificial intelligence can also be used to gather data and determine expected package volume for your next scheduling period, or for future dates when you may need to plan for more equipment and staff to handle the influx. Data can be pulled based on your past experience and projections to help estimate future needs.
Improving Logistics Company Customer Service
Today, customers in just about every industry expect to have visibility into their deliveries and have access to instant customer service. You can empower the customer team at your logistics company with data from various software systems to help customers stay informed about where their shipment is and when it will arrive. And, if there are problems or questions, offer them a way to access your customer service team in a format other than phone calls.
Assuming you have a database of customers and their shipments, the automated tracking information can be set up to report shipment status online, accompanied by any digital documents. If assistance is required, offer multiple points of access including a bot that can address other questions using artificial intelligence.
Your customers will also be more satisfied with the added convenience of on-demand assistance rather than waiting on hold for someone to help out. Customize the bot experience to be sure it matches the most common questions your customer service team receives.
Automated Invoicing for Quicker Payment
The billing process is often a manual one for shipping companies and payment can't always be accepted electronically. This way of doing business slows your payment process and leaves room for communication errors, or just plain postal service errors, which can cause payments to get lost.
Automating the invoicing process for logistics companies will result in receiving your money faster. Workflows can be set up so that various employees are notified at each required touchpoint so that the invoicing process continues moving forward along with receiving the funds. On-demand reporting can also be created in the invoicing software for management to have an up-to-date outlook of accounts receivable.
By improving your logistics company's cash flow, you can improve your profitability and hold less accounts receivable on the books. Automating invoicing will also reduce data entry errors which ensures you’re collecting the correct amounts.
Need to Automate One or All of These Areas of a Logistics Company?
If you haven’t already started digitally transforming your logistics company, these are three critical areas to assess first. They save money and improve their reputation by getting packages to their destination with fewer delays and faster payments.
Our team of logistics automation experts can review the software you’re using and the results you’d like to achieve for a recommended automation plan. Request a free consultation to get started.