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Prioritizing Accuracy, Speed and Scalability Through Intelligent Document Processing

Role of Documentation in International Shipping and Trade

The international transportation process involves extensive documentation. Given the variety of goods exported, the diverse scope of activities that comprise end-to-end logistics, and the multiple jurisdictions involved, the amount of paperwork can be overwhelming.

Trade documentation involves collating data from various entities, interpreting and compiling it, and thereafter sharing it with other stakeholders and government agencies at various stages in the transport process.

The volume of paperwork is such that documentation for a single shipment can sometimes require up to 50 sheets of paper and involve up to 30 different stakeholders.

Common Challenges Faced in Document Processing

Most of the paperwork is prepared and processed manually, requiring considerable effort and time. While data flows from various sources, the onus generally lies on the freight forwarder or customs broker to compile, check, and consolidate the information.

Data at each stage of the process comprises inputs for the next stage, such as information gathered for Shipping Instructions being used to prepare the Bill of Lading. This means that data quality errors pass on to subsequent stages, amplifying the magnitude of inaccuracies and making corrections a difficult and time-consuming task.

Data is provided in multiple formats, ranging from emails to Excel spreadsheets to Word documents to PDF files, increasing the complexity and difficulty of compiling relevant data.

In the absence of a standard template for sharing data, stakeholders usually provide data in their distinct formats, which might be vastly different (in terms of layout and content), adding to the challenges of compiling data.

The data that is thus compiled needs to be submitted to various government agencies, each of which has prescribed specific formats. This entails gathering data and updating it in the stipulated format for all regulatory submissions.

Given how labor-intensive and cumbersome manual data processing is, certain common issues often arise:

1) Accuracy: Due to human errors, data quality is often compromised while manually handling data.

2) Speed: The pace of preparing documents is often tardy, slowing down the entire process.

3) Considerable manual effort: Given the challenges and quantity of information, significant effort and time is required

4) Costs: While human labor is in the short run cheaper than the cost of procuring technology, this option is generally more costly over the long term when taking into account the effort expended, lost productivity, slow processing, and the greater probability of errors. 

Concept of Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) technology applies AI and ML techniques to process documents with greater speed and higher accuracy automatically. IDP can process structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data, interpreting and converting it into meaningful insights.

This frees up the organization’s expensive human resources to handle more value-adding tasks and focus on core business activities.

With advancements in IDP technology, the applicability and practical utility thereof have been improving, wherefore a growing number of organizations can now apply it for automating and digitizing their documentation.  

Advantages of IDP and how it can help overcome these challenges

IDP has certain inherent advantages over manual document processing, helping organizations overcome the common challenges explained above.

The most prominent of these benefits are:

1) Accuracy: With the human element removed, accuracy levels increase exponentially

2) Speed: IDP technology can process data far faster than humans, thus reducing the time taken to compile data and prepare documents

3) Streamlining processes: IDP also helps streamline processes, as information is extracted and interpreted accurately, whereafter it is used at subsequent stages in the transport process

4) Automated information sharing: With data being processed and stored by the system, data sharing can be automated, by the timely sharing of information amongst relevant stakeholders

5) Scalability: In most organizations, document volumes fluctuate and in the long term grow as the business expands. These organizations, therefore need scalable solutions that seamlessly adapt to evolving needs, enabling the organization to grow without constraints.

6) Digitally stored and easy to retrieve: Because data is stored in the digital format, it can be retrieved quickly and efficiently, whenever required

7) Data security and controlled access: Data is stored in central servers, and access is restricted to authorized personnel, which vastly enhances data security

Why KlearNow’s Data Engine is the right IDP solution for your business

KlearNow’s ML and AI-powered trade document processing platform, Data Engine, is helping Customs brokers and freight forwarders automate documentation and streamline customs clearance activities.

With ML technologies, the more data they process, the more accurate their output is. Data Engine has been learning since 2018, where its accumulated knowledge helps achieve 99.9% accuracy in transforming unstructured data and a 95% first-time hit rate for new documents.

Data Engine has helped organizations save time and money with operational efficiencies up to 10x.

To understand how IDP can help streamline your documentation processes, download KlearNow’s eBook, which explains the concept and associated advantages in comprehensive detail.

For a free demo, please contact our company representative or click here.

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