RPA Labs nabs prominent forwarder client to help automate

RPA Labs nabs prominent forwarder client to help automate

Forwarders are turning to process automation providers to turn over document management, quote requests, and customer service elements to programs that can handle those tasks more quickly and accurately. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Logistics automation specialist RPA Labs has snagged its first major account in automating forwarder Jaguar Freight Services' internal document management and workflow processes, reflecting increased interest in robotic process automation among forwarders in order to stay competitive. 

Specifically, New York-based Jaguar will use San Jose, California-based RPA Labs to automate the ingestion of a range of logistics documents that it had previously used an optical character recognition (OCR) software to handle, the companies said Monday. That created a situation where “documents were being migrated into their systems, but created a new need for automation when the documents still required manual indexing,” Simon Kaye, president and CEO of Jaguar Freight, said in a statement. “This process was both error-prone and time consuming.”

RPA Labs’ Document Indexing Bot catalogs documents based on type, vendor or customer name, and date, among other categories.

The bots “helped us in two areas; one is taking a lot of raw data from client documentation, commercial invoices and packing lists, and populating that automatically in our system, where previously there was a fair amount of data entry, which caused a lot of errors and delays,” Kaye said in the statement.

Avoiding forgetfulness

Kaye said a second use of RPA Labs’ software was to prompt employees to respond to customer requests, avoiding situations where they might forget to do so manually. 

“I don’t want anyone to say they forgot to follow up on an email,” Kaye said. “We want to take the ‘remembering’ part of the job out of the process.”

The software provider deployed bots to automate reminders for Jaguar’s staff to send quotes, collect documents, and request payments. If a process is delayed, the bots automatically send reminders to the correct parties or collect missing information.

Robotic process automation (RPA), by which a program is set up to handle repetitive tasks, is gaining in popularity in the logistics industry, evidenced by a wave of providers in the sector landing investment from venture capital firms. RPA Labs is among those companies, having received backing from PSA International’s unboXed venture arm in May.

Other RPA-based firms to have recently landed funding rounds include Keelvar, which specializes in helping shippers with freight procurement, Shipamax, which helps forwarders automate data ingestion, and Slync, which provides a range of system automation tools for forwarders and shippers.

Contact Eric Johnson at eric.johnson@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @LogTechEric.