Transportation & Logistics

Transportation and logistics companies are increasingly being pressed on prices from customers while at the same time freight contractors demand higher prices for their services. Consequently the only way for T&L companies to grow profit is to automate existing processes and to implement real-time information interfaces.
The network of partners is changing so fast that traditional Electronic Data Interchange EDI integration, which typically takes 3 month to implement for each partner, cannot keep up with the pace of change. To make things worse more and more partners will not supply a traditional EDI interface, but demand that all interaction with them is done on their B2B web portal. Because of all the above, T&L companies are faced with an increasing amount of manual “copy-paste” processes between internal systems, Excel documents and external partner portals. Here is a list of a few examples:
  • For each truck passing into a country the load must be registered on the country’s custom portal.
  • Monitor tracking information at a freight contractors web portal and manually synchronize it with the internal track and trace system.
  • Extract tracking information from the internal system and type it into a customer portal.
  • Bid on a freight by typing in quotes at a B2B freight market place portal.
  • Offer out free capacity at freight market place portals.
  • Synchronize customer information between IBM legacy systems, Excel files and external partner portals.
  • Search for availability and buy ferry tickets.
  • Etc.
With the Smart RPA solution these and many other manual processes can be automated resulting in elimination of errors, reduction of handling cost and faster execution of processes. Further the automation is done in a very short time meaning that it will be possible to automate business cases that previously were too expensive to automate using traditional IT as well as increase the frequency of existing manual processes which often lead to higher business value. This is illustrated in what we call the long-tail effect (see diagram), where traditional IT (gray and yellow areas) is too expensive and takes too long time to implement or where traditional IT solutions simply are not possible.  
A typical scenario is described in this paper about Pitt Ohio Logistics.
  • An email with an order is generated directly from the customer’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Transportation Management System (TMS).
  • The transportation and logistics supplier receives the email with the shipping order request and, processes the information.
  • The customer requires near real-time update of tracking information registered in their logistics web portal.
This process is simple for customers since they don’t have to support EDI, and they will choose to only engage transportation and logistics suppliers who allow them to deliver the data in this flexible manner. For the logistics company, this order becomes more difficult and expensive, as the entire customer integration process is manual. With the Smart RPA solution these manual processes can be automated and speed up the onboarding process and reduce the handling cost where technology like EDI is too expensive and complex to implement for low volume.
Close to one hundred T &L companies all over the world has implemented the Kofax Kapow automation platform to quickly and cost-effectively automate manual data-driven processes resulting in cost savings and elimination of costly human errors.
Read how Trinity Logistics automated 300 B2B processes in just 3 months and at the same time cut 90% of the cost.