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Transition from Manual to Electronic Bill of Lading Delivers Great Benefits

Posted on January 14, 2019

Written by broussard_press

In today’s market, it’s common to have multiple locations, shipping daily. Numerous, costly challenges arise when companies still rely on manual bill of lading (BOL). Does your organization face any of the following issues?

  • The time-consuming, manual entry of BOLs are often full of errors due to human entry.
  • Compliance requirements are difficult to meet because each location has its own process for entering freight data into the system. This prevents apples-to-apples comparisons across the company.
  • Departments struggle to gain access to information in a timely manner.

If these struggles sound familiar, it’s time for your business to consider moving away from paper-based processes. Moving to electronic BOLs is sure to automate your processes. The initial and long-term benefits more than pay for themselves.

Automation and Simplification

For starters, electronic BOLs pull all carriers into one system, allowing team members to access all shipping data (pricing, transit days, service type, etc.) from one portal. This saves staff time by eliminating the need to check pricing on multiple websites. It also brings compliance to your organization by requiring team members to use company-approved vendors.

Another initial benefit of transitioning to electronic BOLs includes shipping notifications. Internal team members and the end clients are automatically notified when products are shipped, and they can track the progress on their own. This improved communication also allows your team to avoid tediously looking up shipping progress, so staff can instead focus on tasks with a higher priority.

Plug-and-Play System Simplifies Employee Involvement

Electronic BOLs give you control not only of your system requirements and SOP processes, but also compliance issues tied to the shipping of hazmat material and specific delivery needs. Additionally, digitizing the BOL automates processes and simplifies training. This gives organizations the ability to bring new employees up-to-speed fast with a plug-and-play system.

Consider this scenario. If your business has five locations and you sign a contract with a freight vendor that’s offered you a discount, rolling out the new vendor’s processes takes time and attention. Further, whether your team handwrites the forms or types the data into the vendor’s website, there’s room for human error. In contrast, if you require staff to enter the details into an electronic BOL, the data input process is standardized, which reduces entry errors and saves money.

Automating processes certainly creates higher efficiencies in other areas as well. Redundant, yet important activities (such as monthly accrual reporting) can be completed faster, more accurately and more cost effectively. Plus, data captured in the electronic BOL can also be fed to teams upstream and downstream as well as to freight vendors. With information being openly communicated throughout the organization, your team can perform more efficiently with improved information sharing. In short, business gets done faster.

Weight versus Density Charges

Beyond automation and information sharing, electronic BOLs present some often unexpected advantages. For instance, carriers have grown keen on maximizing pricing for themselves. Pricing was historically established by a group of industry experts and was based on weight. However, over time, the carrier pricing has begun changing to a density-based model, written by none other than the carriers themselves. As more products change to density-based shipping rates, Broussard Logistics’ technology can identify those products and help you calculate the DIMS accurately.

Of course, the checks and balances inherent with a system that allows people to verify the billed charges are the amount expected are quite advantageous too. Truly, moving your business to electronic BOLs will help you compete effectively, making a strong business case to move forward with this transition.