Paperless Logistics

3 Reasons to Support Paperless Logistics and Customs Clearance in 2020 and Beyond

Paperless Logistics

Following the precipitous spread of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s never been a better time for companies to reduce their reliance on paper-based processes that only serve to stimulate the spread of germs and disease. One industry that can greatly benefit at this time is logistics and customs clearance. This article will cover three important reasons paperless logistics and customs clearance should be embraced universally in 2020 and beyond, including:


  • Create safer working conditions
  • Support faster and more transparent clearances
  • Work remotely with confidence

1. Create Contactless Clearances With Paperless Logistics

If the coronavirus has taught the logistics industry anything, it’s that achieving a paperless logistics system that works for you and your customers has never been more crucial. Logistics and customs clearance historically rely on paper-intensive processes to keep imports and exports flowing to their rightful locations.  There are many documents involved in customs clearance, including:

  • Documents for Exports: Buyer Purchase Order, Sales Invoice, Packing List, Shipping Bill, Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin, and more.
  • Documents for Imports: Buyer Purchase Order, Supplier Sales Invoice, Bill of Entry, Bill of Lading, Packing List, Certificate of Origin, and more.
  • Country-Specific Documentation

Logistics companies realize that by going paperless, they are establishing a safer workplace with fewer operational restrictions. What was once considered a time-consuming and cumbersome process can be transformed with paper solutions for Document Management, Workflow Automation, Data Entry Automation, and more.

Lancy Barboza, Managing Director of Flomic Freight Services, notes that by incorporating the “best available technology and work processes,” they have been able to set a new benchmark for service standards, enabling Flomic to “consistently deliver a timely and relevant response to our clients’ demands.”

And despite the fact that coronavirus has ushered in disruption after disruption for cross-border trading and freight movement, Barboza believes it has also revealed an opportunity to leverage technology for efficient paperless logistics processes that mitigate face-to-face interactions. Safety has become a top priority for most companies looking to go paperless, but it’s only one of many reasons for businesses to migrate to a more comprehensive paperless solution, such as an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

2. Support Faster and More Transparent Clearances

Paperless logistics opens the door to faster and more transparent customs clearances. It facilitates the type of contactless and paperless environment that all industry leaders are shifting to in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Going paperless and digitizing documentation accelerates clearances by eliminating the need for manual document retrieval. It also improves business intelligence to help employees make better decisions backed by real-time information. Furthermore, it allows business leaders to track productivity and decision-making to address lapses in judgment or operational inefficiencies. Slowdowns in the logistics industry are largely the result of outdated, manual processes — many of which can be eliminated altogether by going paperless.

3. Work Remotely With Confidence

Going paperless and going remote are two entirely different processes, but companies that decide to go paperless will find that transitioning to remote work is much easier when paper documents have already been removed from the equation. With paperless logistics, you can facilitate remote access to applications for importers and exporters to file shipment details from the office, home, or on the road. This greatly reduces the need to move personnel from the office to the customs station and vice-versa. The world of logistics and customs clearance are changing, and business leaders will need to acclimate to these changes in short order to maintain a frictionless workplace that isn’t constrained by physical boundaries.

Getting Started With Paperless Logistics and Customs Clearance

No matter where you are located in the world, every port requires a customs clearance process that is safe and functional. By transitioning to paperless logistics and customs clearance, you can provide an unrivaled experience that allows you to manage more imports and exports than ever before. Whether your distribution channels comprise the air, the road, the sea, or all of the above, you can benefit by going paperless.

To learn more about paperless logistics and customs clearance, contact IntelliChief today.

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.