In the world of logistics, ports and firms that have been reluctant to invest in digitizing their supply chain have found themselves at a decided disadvantage as they tussle with clunky, time-consuming processes that increase clearance times and decrease revenue collection.
The logistics industry is large and complex. It is highly dependent on cooperation and shared knowledge to stay ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, the detrimental effect of poor communication and cooperation between companies has been magnified under the lens of the ongoing pandemic. Early adopters of the latest logistics technology, like Enterprise Content Management, have effectively digitized the supply chain to insulate their operations against external disruptions; however, this only describes as a small portion of the overall logistics industry.
The Basics of Supply Chain Digitization
Digitizing the supply chain can be accomplished with the use of several cutting-edge technologies, including:
- OCR Software to capture, index, and archive incoming logistics documents, such as bills of lading, manifests, delivery receipts, etc.
- Workflow Software to streamline tasks by permitting parallel processing, updating your team with real-time notifications, and eliminating the risk of lost or misplaced documents.
- Workflow Automation to automate the capture and workflow stages of your business process, cutting costs by as much as 70 percent or more.
- Artificial Intelligence to help your solution get smarter over time.
By leveraging the expansive capabilities of Enterprise Content Management, digitizing your supply chain can be accomplished with a single, integrated platform that works seamlessly with your ERP or SCM. In other words, a single application to capture, digitize, and automate document-driven logistics operations.
Why Are Logistics Companies Digitizing the Supply Chain?
In the midst of the pandemic, it has become much harder to process, register, and transport goods from one place to another. To compound this issue, the deteriorating health conditions across the world have resulted in widespread staffing shortages. Logistics leaders were forced to pivot to account for these sudden changes. Some common procedures had to be adjusted to keep business flowing, including:
- Releasing goods in advance of the final declaration
- Performing post-release checks
- Deferring payments and taxes
- Waiving or reducing payments and taxes
While these were viewed as short-term measures by the industry at large, it has now become apparent that some of the procedures are here to stay — and technology will play a key role in securing their legitimacy for the future. For example, simply managing the sheer amount of data produced by goods and services as they cross borders is much easier with a digitized supply chain.
The Benefits of Supply Chain Digitization
Digitizing the supply chain is a no-brainer in the world of logistics. There are countless ways your organization can benefit from the digitization of supply chain management, including:
Accelerate Outbound Turnaround
Are you looking for a way to improve customer and vendor relationships? It’s no secret that your ability to complete deliveries on time while meeting your contractual obligations is essential to maintaining a stable of positive professional relationships.
Improve Document Security
It’s virtually impossible to lose track of a document once it has been saved in your ECM’s digital repository. More importantly, it’s impossible for the wrong user to gain access to a document if they lack the proper permissions. Therefore, while ECM allows for on-demand recall of any document (as well as any related documents), it also safeguards your organization by strictly controlling who can access various documents. These settings can be fine-tuned to meet the specific requirements of your organization, going so far as to implement security protocols on a user-to-user basis, helping you account for specialties, relationships, and more.
Increase Accuracy, Remove the Element of Randomness
ECM supports digitized supply chain management by operating as a connector between all of your business system’s databases, including your primary system of record, a secondary system of record, and various applications. Every document that is captured by the ECM’s OCR Software component is automatically indexed and verified. Users are alerted when a discrepancy arises that warrants a manual review. Not only does this increase accuracy but it also removes the element of randomness that hinders organizations tasked with processing large volumes of documentation. Furthermore, it all but eliminates the need for manual data entry as the majority of documents can be processed with no human intervention at all.
Decrease the Cost of Document Distribution
Another significant benefit of supply chain digitization is that it eliminates the need for mailing physical documents thereby decreasing the cost of document distribution. If shipping costs and other related costs are a problem, look no further than ECM to help streamline the flow of documents in and out of your organization.
Lightning-Fast Notifications for Streamlined Approvals
With automated workflows, everyone in your supply chain is notified as soon as a document is available for approval, effectively cutting out the “busy work” of back-office logistics. You will be shocked at how streamlined document-based processes become once ECM has been implemented in your back office.
Append Documents With Ease
It’s not uncommon to require amendments, updates, and approvals to be added to original documents without compromising the original document. The Document Management capabilities of ECM give your team the power to enter notes either in a pre-set field or in a digital post-it note placement adjacent to flagged information. Although this system allows users to compile helpful information on a document, the original data doesn’t change. That said, this helpful information can be added and tracked by ECM users throughout your logistics workflow.
Reduce Clearance Times and Improve Revenue Collection With Supply Chain Digitization
Technologies such as ECM that utilize AI to modernize logistics have become the gold standard for industry leaders. The automated, digitized supply chain can understand and implement rules-based logic to make decisions instantly without any delay. It can capably handle any volume of incoming documentation without fail, efficiently digitizing your documents and letting AI handle the rest. By taking an integrated approach to ECM for logistics, you can reduce clearance times and improve revenue collection to help your organization gain a distinct competitive advantage.