How Logistics Uses ECM

Tim Nissen | How Logistics Uses ECM.

Accounting for logistics processes and procedures is complex, and it’s common to still see physical shipping documentation sent by express service to points of receipt, including your Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Customer Service departments – domestically and internationally. The manual handling of these printed documents is admittedly fraught with expense (time and money) and risks.

Having a clear picture of your distribution operations with all involved departments is crucial for your business. Though a challenge to this is managing logistics operations that are driven by paper, restricting the movement of every inbound and outbound shipment. Paper-based processes are slow and create bottlenecks in productivity, making important data contained in physical shipping documents—bills of lading, manifests, delivery receipts—difficult to process and track.

Capabilities have expanded to include automated documentation capture and company-specific processes workflow. This streamlines tasks related to shipping and receiving goods, enhancing the functionality of your existing platforms – ERP, SCM, WMS, Accounting systems and related business applications you use. Distribution is an industry benefiting from enterprise content management (ECM). Discover IntelliChief’s approach here.

How Logistics uses ECM: to automate capture of all formats of shipping documentation in both paper and electronic formats, assembling complete document collections from every source per transaction. Accuracy is validated with vendor and customer information stored in your ERP or SCM, and workflow automated with all departments involved in each transaction. Detailed visibility is provided throughout your distribution channel.

This document management capacity makes information easy to retrieve with automated organization for faster and more efficient content management. You’ll have instant access, with improved colleague and vendor-partner collaboration, and responsiveness to your customers, directly through your ECM-integrated desktop and mobile screens.

Collectively, ECM facilitates a solution to assure accuracy and security throughout distribution, as the foundation for building transactional transparency and trust, while streamlining business processes across your company’s fluid area of operations. Global trade logistics relies on a web of disparate systems across freight forwarders, custom brokers and port authorities, involving ocean, rail and trucking carriers. With ECM, you’re able to digitize the process to collaborate across companies and authorities, reduce the paperwork, streamline cross boarder movements, and limit fraud and errors.

Advantages encompassing how Logistics uses ECM:

  • Quicker outbound turnaround – leading to improved delivery efficiency, and stronger customer (and vendor) relationships
  • Documentation security – nothing is lost with ECM, with the people you need accessing your distribution documentation having it on-demand
  • Assured accuracy – with ECM syncing with your business system’s databases, all documentation is digitally captured with content data indexed and verified, alerting users of any discrepancies. Little or no system data keying is required; it’s simply straight-through processing into automated workflow
  • Lower document distribution costs – automation negates physical document shipping, and all associated costs
  • Faster notifications and approvals – with ECM’s automated workflow, everyone in your supply chain on the need-to-know does so quickly through automated notice, hastening processes and fulfillments
  • Document append abilities – as amendments, updates and approvals need to be added to original documents, they’re able to be, while maintaining the document’s integrity. Users can enter notes either in a pre-set field, or in a digital post-it note placement adjacent to the information being addresses. The document’s original data doesn’t change, though helpful information may be added and tracked by ECM and line of business system users throughout your logistics workflow.

These are particularly useful with Distribution’s transactional interaction among colleagues in Accounts Payable, Orders Processing and Customer Service departments; all areas of shipping document’s origination, destination and notification.

To see how, contact us.