ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN LOGISTICS AND SUPPLY CHAIN

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LOGISTICS & SUPPLY CHAIN

T-Impact work with enthusiastic and driven logistics companies seeking to empower their workforce and improve efficiency using digital transformation. Our RPA & AI solution enables you to develop a strong business case before embarking on further automation projects, as well as achieving large levels of ROI within the first year of operation. Speak with one of our experts today to learn how other logistics and supply chain organisations are already embracing this technology and what you can do to get ahead of the market.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) automates tasks that are normally carried out by humans, optimally tasks that are rule based and repetitive. In Logistics, you should consider parcel tracking, customer notifications, and customer delivery confirmations – which can be particularly effective in eliminating last mile delivery challenges. These solutions can reduce your costs and substantially improve customer satisfaction. See ‘T-Impact’s RPA Logistics Use Case Guide’ for more insights into the challenges, capabilities and benefits of RPA.

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Reduced Operational Costs

Customer Retention

Customer Transparency

Improved Data Insights

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THE DISRUPTIONS TO LOGISTICS

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REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

With future trade agreements after Brexit still unknown, businesses need to adjust for new laws and customs requirements. There is a need for businesses to be able to rapidly respond to these changes, especially with future potential developments disrupted by COVID-19. These will inevitably need new systems and best practises implemented alongside them, resulting in a huge volume of additional administration.

TECHNOLOGICAL ENHANCEMENT

Logistics companies need to remain productive and maximise their capacity whilst dealing with complex and often inadequate legacy systems. Companies are turning to new Intelligent technology such as 5G connectivity, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to get the most out of their capacity and productivity.

THE LAST MILE

Retailers understand that the last mile is a “moment of truth” in the customer’s buying journey, often referred to as ‘The Moment That Matters’. It is the face of their business and has a significant impact on customers reviews, recommendations and retention. Investment to improve the individual last mile experience is easily justified for huge B2B deliveries but can be challenging for B2C deliveries, where costs are potentially borne for a single package.

REPORTING AND ANALYTICS

Understanding business performance is notoriously difficult for supply chain companies due to multiple vendors and end-points. Delivery data is often stored in multiple IT systems and website portals, from suppliers, ports, customs clearing, etc. Designing and building automated interfaces can be expensive and often requires support from external teams, whom you do not control. The leading organisations are refining their analytics and reporting systems to collect large volumes of data to seek out bottlenecks or inconsistencies.

SUPPLY CHAIN CONTROL

Logistics companies need to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances and have to adapt quickly in order to meet them. Managing the supply chain is critical and logistics companies need to ensure that their back-end operations are able to collaborate effectively and easily with all customers, vendors, shipping companies and suppliers.

WHAT CAN ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION DO FOR LOGISTICS? 

Back-office operations in logistics companies are time-critical, and need to operate smoothly and quickly to ensure deliveries are timely. However, demands like growing customer expectations, and an influx of new regulatory requirements are causing increased confusion and delay in logistics companies. Forward-thinking logistics and supply chain companies have turned to robotic process automation to optimise these back-end operations to identify bottlenecks and speed up the flow of goods and services. Consequently, RPA is now the essential tool for logistics companies to maximise their output for minimal cost.

Software RPA is essential for supply chain and logistics companies to improve visibility for their customers and improve back-end efficiency. A balance of highly skilled virtual workers and technically skilled human staff can quickly lead to massive improvements in output, revenue and profit.

RPA is best used in rule-based processes with a high volume of data and clear workflow. In logistics and supply chain companies, they can specifically be deployed for:

PARCEL AND CONTAINER TRACKING

Many logistics & supply chain firms track delivery vehicles & vessels but aren’t able to track individual parcels/containers. Data is often re-keyed manually from third-party websites, such as customs clearance & port authorities, and inaccuracies and delays are common and costly.

Robotic process automation can provide a scaled and efficient parcel and container tracking workflow, updating data more frequently and with zero errors. It automatically extracts data from third-party websites several times per hour using the same screens your staff use today, without a need for APIs or interfaces, before generating operational discrepancy reports and sending customer notifications by email, as well as generating compliance reports.

Parcel/container tracking data can add significant value for both B2C and B2B firms. It is a key differentiator that can help you win more work. Customers and staff have more frequent and accurate insight on parcel/container status & delivery times. You can also spot opportunities to improve vehicle or vessel loading to reduce haulage and shipping costs.

CUSTOMER TRACKING REPORTS

Your customers are managing complex supply chain processes, which depend upon your deliveries. Insight into parcel/container delivery times and locations are crucial for them to plan their own activities.​

Robotic process automation can log in, read and extract data from all systems, run a daily tracking report, send updates to customers and create a file on a shared internal drive, capture details of errors and email the relevant parties, while automatically pausing the process until resolved​ and keep the audit log continuously updated throughout the delivery process​

Automating these processes leads to significant time being saved from the otherwise manual reporting process. The increased frequency of reporting will lead to better quality data, which will inform decision-making and ultimately improve customer retention rates. There is huge growth potential as well, as RPA is infinitely scalable. ​

LAST MILE LOGISTICS

Growing demand for goods increases the complexity of last mile logistics, making it difficult to provide customers with full visibility of deliveries. Delivery schedules are also impacted by incorrect addresses, remote locations, traffic, changes/cancellations of orders and unattended delivery locations.

Robotic process automation can manage customer communication by confirming the delivery address, requesting delivery area photo and notifying customers with updates from the driver. It can also plan and optimise vehicle loading, taking into account the most economic route, package loads, traffic conditions, driver availability and delivery windows.

RPA provides visibility of delivery status and can be achieved using your existing IT systems. You’ll be able to gain and retain business from competitors by offering better customer experience. Operational costs decrease by eliminating the common delivery delays. Finally, load planning is optimised and driver safety and availability improved by automating customer communication.

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THE ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION INVOLVED IN LOGISTICS 

AI and RPA in logistics have previously been limited to stock control requirements. However, new modern Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to software robots that can perform a variety of manual functions such as opening emails, processing data and downloading attachments.

By mimicking human activity, RPA can perform the same functions as humans on your console, creating and accessing information in your existing systems. When partnered with AI platforms such as IBM Watson, Microsoft AI and Google DeepMind, these tools can work in tandem to manage more complex processes.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN LOGISTICS?

RPA is essential for logistics firms to continue delivering an outstanding service to their customers, but other benefits include:

Reduced Operational Costs

Thanks to RPA helping to improve last mile logistics, loading times and anticipating common delivery delays, measures can be put in place to avoid these delays having any impact. RPA can also help you to identify bottlenecks in your service offering which could result in delays, and allow you to act on them. As a result, deliveries are faster and operational costs are reduced.

Increased Rate of Customer Retention

Your virtual workforce replicates every process identically. Quality assurance checks are efficient and extensive for all deliveries.

This standardised level of quality across your portfolio ensures your customers receive the same outstanding delivery service every single time, encouraging customer retention.

Customer Transparency

RPA can be programmed to provide the same updates and reports every single day, in line with delivery windows and updates. The increased frequency of reporting will lead to better quality data as you can review operations on a regular basis, which will inform decision-making and ultimately improve customer retention rates.

Improved Data Insights

Customers and staff have more frequent and accurate insight on parcel and container status & the expected delivery times. Staff can also spot opportunities to improve vehicle or vessel loading to reduce haulage and shipping costs thanks to accurate, timely data.

Free Key Staff Members

Robotics unlocks important staff members. Rather than dealing with administration, they can focus on generating revenue streams and business development opportunities. This is especially important for tasks like customer tracking reports, as they are normally time-consuming manual reporting processes.

FAQs

Robotics can work with any practice management system or case management system.

T-Impact’s RPA solution is compatible with all case management systems, including some of the most popular offerings such as LEAP, Peppermint, Sos and Tikket. There is also no need to build additional interfaces or APIs. Our solutions can integrate with any technology – even ancient “green screen” devices.

Many smart young people grow up dreaming of one day becoming a lawyer. None of them grow up dreaming of typing data over and over again into a spreadsheet. And if they did, are you sure these are the people you want in your firm?

Great people want to be using their talents dealing with clients and offering creative solutions to complex problems. They want to feel they are making a difference to your customers, your firm and to society. Introducing technology like robotic process automation eliminates dull, repetitive tasks, so you can ensure they are able to do exactly that.

Work has moved from being a place to an activity. Capabilities are required for flexi-time and working from home. Robotics can help facilitate this by performing the low-value manual tasks that keep people in the office, It can also accelerate your move to cloud-based technologies.

To attract the staff, give them an environment that allows them to focus on the law, growing your revenues and improving your customer’s experiences.

Legal firms hold an enormous amount of customer data but it is not easy to extract it from traditional  IT systems. For example couples who purchase a house are often starting a family and may be interested in creating a will a few months later. Robotics is able to access your customer data using your existing screens and reports – allowing you to analyse data to search for these patterns and proactively offer services.

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful technology that aims to simulate human thought. The technology isn’t there yet, so current technology is being used to identify and deal with complex data patterns. AI requires training and this requires a large volume of data. AI requires interfaces to access existing IT systems and the results must be communicated in a way that affects the service your customer receives.

If you think of AI as the brains, think of Robotics as the hands. Robotics performs work as humans do today, accessing IT systems (including spreadsheets, websites, and email) to complete processes which deliver value to your customers. Robots don’t require interfaces; they access the screens and reports that your staff use. Robotics links into the most common AI platforms enabling you to introduce AI into your business processes.

Robotics – also called Robotic Process automation – helps you reduce the manual work involved in administration. It is a technology that can be applied to any number of processes across your firm, reducing errors, increasing profits and improving customer satisfaction.

Most firms want to start with a relatively low-risk process that can have a significant impact to the firm. The most common process is customer on-boarding. Centralising and automating this process has benefits across the firm. If on-boarding data is entered incorrectly, it can affect any number of transactions across the firm. Getting this right is only part of the benefits though, it also: eliminates admin work, responds to customers after normal working hours, ensures compliance with financial regulation such as anti-money laundering.

There are also softer benefits, such as reducing conflicts with customers who don’t appreciate the additional scrutiny caused by regulations.

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