Logistics operations require highly-detailed processes that ensure the timely delivery of specified goods at a specified destination. While carrying out any logistics operation, speed and accuracy are two of the most important factors that go into ensuring a successful delivery cycle.
A typical delivery cycle entails tracking cargo from the moment it leaves the warehouse until the right package reaches the right place at the right time. This, in turn, requires a tangible trail of crucial logistics documents that track and record everything from the size and weight of the cargo to the delivery address and the applicable charges for the same.
A specialized, low-cost small package and courier delivery company that offers same-day and long-distance delivery services across multiple locations contacted ARDEM for assistance.
The company needed help with processing logistics data from incoming shipping documents, i.e., rate confirmation (rate con) documents, that would be shared by them on a real-time basis and our team had to upload the final, processed data into their system within 1 hour from receipt.
The Scope of Work
While processing the incoming documents on time and accurately were the priority, the task went beyond simple data entry and processing. The rate con documents that were to be shared with our team on a daily basis vary in both format and length. This means the incoming documents could range from a single page to several pages, making the task of processing different formats a more complex one.
Apart from the difference in load orders and the corresponding documents, the 1-hour turnaround requirement presented an additional challenge that had to be overcome in a swift and efficient manner.
Realizing that we would have to keep a tight rein on this project, our team got started and established a steady chain of communication to ensure that we got a complete picture of the client’s exact requirements and overall goals.
Current Challenges of Logistics Data Processing
The primary challenge was the fact that the documents received had to be processed and returned to the client within 1 hour. Apart from this, we also had to consider the fact that the daily flow of incoming documents could also increase at a moment’s notice as during certain peak hours of the day our team will receive the majority of the documents from multiple trucks during their hours of operation, i.e., 7 am CST – 5 pm CST, Monday to Friday.
We concluded that the project required smart and effective management as several collaterals were due in a very short span of time. Strong management was required to ensure that the process ran smoothly from start to finish for every incoming document, every day. Additionally, any errors or exceptions also had to be handled properly and this required a robust workflow supported by effective communication.
Since these documents needed to be processed in real-time, they required a team that was trained properly, knowledgeable, accurate, and worked in an efficient manner to meet deadlines.
So, keeping these challenges in mind, we set out on our course to formulate an effective solution for our client.
The Proposed Solution
As mentioned, before there were several different variables that had to be considered while engineering an effective solution for our new client.
As with our other projects, we started our task by obtaining a thorough understanding of the client’s current mode of operations, their immediate requirements and future goals. Once we had the complete picture, our team of process engineers, data analysts engineered a solution that would provide timely assistance to our client.
After careful consideration and study, ARDEM was able to provide value to our client by proposing the following 3-pronged solution:
- All shipping documents were entered using remote desktop services to access the client’s software.
- Certain mandatory fields have to be captured and recorded accurately for each shipping document. An order number is automatically created after each record is completed.
- Zones for each shipper autofill once an address has been filled.
- Additionally, revenue codes needed to be entered and in the case of refrigerated goods, a temperature range has to be updated as well.
- Other required details included contact details, phone numbers, driver load, and the scheduled arrival time.
- In case of multiple orders/deliveries, a stop for each must be created with the same info as above.
- Apart from these details, the billing information also needs to be added, this includes:
- The billing method.
- Details/information of the broker.
- The billing distance.
- The fuel surcharge, to calculate fuel costs, the fuel rate for each week in that specific area is charged by checking the energy information administration website.
Apart from engineering an improved workflow for real-time logistics data processing, our team also created a virtual training system along with the required curriculum to train specialized analysts who were able to process and deliver logistics data from these shipping documents in time while adhering to the highest possible quality standards.
Our Virtual Training Services
- We mirrored the client’s current system and after understanding the details of their current process, we were able to layout the proposed workflow.
- Next, our analysts were trained using this sandbox system that allows us to easily monitor the progress of each analyst through the use of dashboards and metrics. This allows us to determine if certain employees need retraining to reach a certain level of efficiency.
- The benefit of using this virtual training environment is the removal of risk before working on the client’s live system. Mistakes and errors can become costly which is why we ensure that an analyst reaches a certain level of confidence before interfacing with their system.
As constant communication was essential for effective collaboration, we adopted a two-way approach to ensure communication with both the client and the team:
1) Communication Strategy with the Client:
Keeping an open line of communication with the team is very important if any problems occur, like issues in connection with the client’s system, missing information from shipping documents, etc.
This communication approach further allows the client to feel like we are an extension of the team.
2) Communication Strategy with the Team:
Staying in constant communication with the team ensures that if any issues arise, the team is aware of them immediately and an action item is put in place.
As the volume of incoming documents increases, regular communication is important to quickly scale the team to meet the client’s expectations and deadlines without any delays or interruptions.
Processing logistics data from documents like a bill of lading or a load confirmation statement is a highly-specialized task that requires deep-industry knowledge and proper training for accuracy and efficiency.
ARDEM provides Logistics Outsourcing Solutions to a variety of clients nationwide. As part of an essential industry, transportation and logistics businesses need to maintain speed and accuracy while building supply chain resilience.
Our fully-managed outsourcing solutions establish a streamlined process to handle large volumes of invoices, bills of lading, and load order processing to increase supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction.
If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you in processing your logistics paperwork faster, you can get in touch with us and schedule a free consultation for your business today!