7 Manual Supply Chain Processes That Can Be Automated

Written by Neal Willis

iStock_82703707_MEDIUM.jpgCompanies often overlook areas where automation could be easily employed and result in immediate cost savings. In addition to saving money, utilizing automation in your supply chain can increase productivity and simplify some of the most complicated processes. Let’s take a look at seven processes that can be easily automated with minimal effort and maximum benefit.

Freight Bill Payment

Paying invoices through the mail costs more money than if you pay them electronically. Postage, time, and paper costs can add up quickly, not to mention the risk you run of losing track of payments that were mailed versus payments sent electronically or via email.

Shipment Tracking

Tracing the status of an inbound order can be a hassle, especially if you have to rely on other parties to get information to you. With shipment tracking information sent to you automatically on a regular basis for all of your inbound orders, time is freed up and your staff is no longer reliant on other parties for this information. Automating the process is easy and it allows you to more accurately plan staffing and receiving operations and stay informed of any potential problems with a shipment along the way.

Freight Rates / Freight Quoting

iStock_92459167_MEDIUM-1.jpgThe process of getting freight rates to your customers for their orders can be automated by tying your freight rates into your ecommerce platform. By giving your customers the ability to get freight rates online, calls and emails to your customer service department for freight quotes will be drastically reduced and your staff will be afforded more time to focus on other important issues.

Freight Bill Reconciliation

Matching rate quotes with freight invoices to ensure billing accuracy can be a tedious and time consuming process. Rather than sifting through pro numbers, purchase orders and freight invoices when trying to match rate quotes to freight bills, the process can be automated to match corresponding amounts through an associated reference number. Discrepancies in quoted versus billed amounts can be automatically detected and billing issues can be spotted long before they become major problems. 

Routing Least Cost

Having to manually run rate quotes for several carriers to determine the least cost option for a particular shipment can be cumbersome. By automating the process of routing least cost, you can eliminate having to manually check freight rates for different lanes, which frees up tons of time, and eliminates money being thrown away unnecessarily on shipments that may have been routed with higher cost options.

Vendor Routings

Rather than having vendors call you for routing instructions when a shipment is ready to be sent, you can automate the process by directing them to an online vendor routing portal that will render shipment routing information for you. Certain information can even be made a required entry before any routing information is given, so you can capture vital information about your inbound orders, including costs and tracking information, before you receive a shipment.

Bill of Lading

By using an online bill of lading application that lets you both quote shipments and create bills of lading, you can eliminate duplicate entry of information when a potential order becomes an actual order. When a rate quote turns into a shipment, you don’t have to re-enter shipment information to generate a bill of lading. The rate quote then becomes the bill of lading and there’s no need for additional work. You simply email it or print it out and give it to the carrier.

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