Automatic transport order extraction despite missing TMS interfaces

The transport order is a daily bread in the logistics industry. It contains all order information essential for the logistics company, such as goods, date and time of collection from the sender or delivery to the recipient, how many loading meters, weight and price. If the client or the submitter of the transport order is a larger company and regularly has transports carried out by this logistics company, it is highly probable that they are connected via direct interfaces between their systems. The process of the transport order is therefore automated end-to-end and thus fast and efficient. However, if a logistics company is requested for a transport order by a small business in the neighborhood around the corner, for example by the tailor shop, then this interface between the systems is missing. As a result, the incoming transport order at the logistics company cannot avoid the manual processing of a dispatcher, which makes the process inefficient and expensive. In this article you can read how, despite the lack of interfaces between companies, an automated quotation of the transport order can still be created.

As long as the transport order is transferred via interface to interface and from system to system, end-to-end processing and so-called straight-through processing (STP) is possible directly, automatically and in real time. However, as soon as this interface is not available, the dispatcher must manually take care of the logistics and processing of the transfer order. Let’s again take the example of the tailor shop: On day X, the tailor needs a medium-sized truck to have his tailor-made garments hung on five coat racks delivered from A to B. He sends his transport order by e-mail and would like to receive a quotation from the logistics company. Due to the lack of an interface to the tailor shop, the dispatcher now has to create a quote manually based on the data in the transport order. An efficient processing of this document and a fast quotation for the tailor is more wishful thinking than reality. And this is already the case with only one transport order from a company with which there is no direct interface. But what if a logistics company receives several transport orders every day from small businesses like the tailor shop? Then the orders would either have to be rejected and potential customers would have to be given up in the future or the offers for the transport orders would have to be prepared manually, which, depending on the quantity and frequency, may well be questionable. Not a satisfactory solution for a logistics company.

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Bridge the gap

Therefore, a different way of transport order processing is needed if there is no direct interface between the logistics company’s system and that of the customer. It needs a bridging of the interfaces, something that acts as a representative interface between the systems. This bridging is done with AI-based OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which extracts all relevant data from the incoming document from the cutter (whether PDF, e-mail, paper, etc.). Thanks to the exact and automatic extraction and preparation of the data from the document, an approximate process quality is possible, which would otherwise only be conceivable with a direct interface between systems, such as those that logistics companies have with their large customers. With the help of the OCR solution, the missing interface between the systems is elegantly bypassed.

Thanks to the excellent data preparation from the incoming transport order, which is almost as good as the quality of the interfaces, the search for possible disadvantages is in vain. The transport order from a small company can be handled just as easily, quickly and therefore efficiently as to the company with which the logistics company maintains an expensive interface.

Four decisive advantages

The automatic generation of quotations for transport orders has four significant advantages:

  • Dispatchers do not have to type in transport order data manually = saves costs, time and nerves of dispatchers
  • Processing times are reduced enormously = the quotation for this document is sent to the customer’s digital inbox within two minutes, which is very convenient and increases customer satisfaction
  • Lower cost = end-to-end and real-time straight-through processing from logistics planning to delivery to the end customer eliminates processing time. The logistics company can differentiate itself from competitors
  • Whether weekly, monthly or even just a single transport order, this is no longer a disadvantage for logistics companies = in the future extended acceptance possibilities of various transport orders

Thanks to the automatic extraction of all relevant data via AI-based OCR, transport orders and efficient quote generation no longer fail due to expensive interfaces. This benefits not only the logistics companies but also the clients.

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