Outsourced Logistics: The Benefits of Automation
Best Practices, outsourced logistics services, Technology, Third-Party Logistics, Uncategorized
Changing Technology in Outsourced Logistics
AM Transport is a leading provider of outsourced logistics in the midwest. We strive to provide our customers and carriers with impeccable service at a great price. We do this by continually evaluating our processes, studying new technologies, and adopting and applying relevant technologies where they fit our customer and carrier needs.
I began my transportation career in 2015 in AM Transport’s billing department. Five years ago, we still handled a lot of paper. It’s hard to believe how much things have changed in five short years. Back then, many of our customers mailed checks and many of our carriers mailed in their invoices and paperwork. Sure, we received a few invoices via email, but we had to go through the onerous process of printing them off in order to scan them back in. We had no way to get these documents into our TMS without scanning them. We kept paper copies of nearly everything.
In 2016, with the help of a developer, we knew we could do better, so we created a system to process emailed invoices; therefore, we no longer needed to print them and scan them back–a time-consuming and inefficient process. This que system enabled us to label what each paper was (BOL, lumper receipt, carrier invoice, NOA, etc) and then bring the emailed paperwork into our TMS. This was more efficient but we kept looking for ways to improve our system.
In 2018, we began using HubTran. This new system was similar to the one we had built, but integrated with our TMS. It uses AI and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to learn our processes and paperwork layout. You teach it where data goes, and from then on it takes care of it automatically. It’s unbelievable how much better this system is. Because this system learns as it works, it continues to simplify processing carrier invoices.
We can hover over reference numbers on our side, and it highlights these numbers on the BOL. Little things like this make a big difference. Since implementing HubTran we can do 5X the billing and accounts payable with the same amount of people while also increasing accuracy and reducing potential errors.
When I first started at AM Transport Services, after a long day of looking at paperwork, my eyes would hurt from reading BOLs and trying to match up numbers, dates, and locations. HubTran reads all of that for us. AND it still brings the documents into our system and allows us to process the invoice and bill our customers out of our TMS.
It has allowed our people to spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time on developing solutions for continued improvement. It’s like a snowball effect. It also allows for more time to interface with customers on meaningful solutions. Unleashing the automation we’ve built for customers is even more exciting. It’s amazing that it works well for us when we have over 200 different customers, so when we utilize it for a single customer it gets crazy efficient.
In 2019, after much research, we began using TriumphPay for all of our carrier payables. Before switching to TriumphPay, we printed batches of checks several days a week. This was time-consuming to say the least because in addition to printing, we had to sign them, put them in envelopes, purchase postage, and mail them. AM Transport has always strived to pay quickly because we care about the carriers we work with, but this process was resource-heavy. We knew there had to be a better way.
TriumphPay allows us to not only continue paying our carriers quickly, but via ACH which is more dependable and timely than the mail. It also provides an online portal to enable carriers to check payment status, issue themselves Quick Pay when desired, while saving our team valuable time.
We used to work on billing all day, but by adding HubTran and TriumphPay, we’ve cut our billing time to 1-2 hours a day which provides us with more time to do the meaningful work of making our customers’ and carriers’ lives better by continuing to adapt and enhance our offerings.
Technology Benefits of Outsourced Logistics
When you outsource your logistics to AM Transport Services, you access the full potential of both our speed and the attention to detail these technologies afford us. The automation of our processes allows us to immediately retrieve and utilize data necessary for our customers to make informed decisions. In addition, you don’t have to stop there, if you’d like to inquire about how we could unleash these technologies within your processes or team please reach out. We’d love to give you a no-cost evaluation to see how we can help.
In the five years I’ve been working at AM Transport Services, technology has greatly improved our ability to serve both our customers and carriers.
I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.