The High Costs of Manual Freight Management, Even in the Digital Age
Manual freight management remains a core problem for the global supply chain. As companies look to expand their size and meet the rising demand for e-commerce, manual management is simply cost-prohibitive. Moreover, manual management contributes to lost efficiency and higher labor costs, reports McKinsey & Company. These problems are further found within the high-tech and pharmaceutical industries at a higher severity. Regardless, repetitive management tasks, including communications, contribute to higher freight spend and lost opportunities to save resources.
Robotics Process Automation in TMS Enables Less Work in Managing Exceptions
Robotics process automation in TMS execution sounds incredibly complex, but it is a simple principle. Robotic process automation leverages software and intuitive algorithms to interpret and respond to circumstances within the supply chain. For example, Deloitte describes the idea of robotic process automation as a virtual workforce capable of processing numerous transactions without human intervention and resources. In the realm of using robotic process automation in TMS functions, organizations can immediately scale communications and management of freight without necessarily increasing the labor force for managing freight. Furthermore, the use of such capabilities can be deployed to automate virtually any process that carries five critical characteristics, including:
- Repetitive processes.
- Processes that are prone to error.
- Rules-based processes, such as those used in exception management of freight.
- The management of digital data.
- Time-critical and seasonal processes.
In other words, any software-driven execution could be applied and managed through robotics process automation in TMS resources.
Added Benefits of Robotics Process Automation to Increase Brand Value
The primary benefits of robotics process automation involve direct savings from time in managing freight on the computer or interacting with customers through virtual environments. In fact, multiple companies have exhibited strong savings capabilities after implementing robotic process automation functions within both WMS and TMS systems. As reported by Inbound Logistics, 3PLs have successfully automated labor-intensive costs by 50% through the use of robotics process automation in TMS and WMS. Those direct savings reduce the reliance on manual labor, produce a competitive advantage to secure more business, and increase the accuracy of all transactions handled through digital means. In a sense, it allows an organization to move from a labor-based operation to a technology-driven process that combines people where necessary and technology to generate the strongest profitability and in table growth. In the specific example noted by Inbound Logistics, the company that did implement robotics process automation in WMS functions was able to continue order volume growth up to 75% year over year. Clearly, the use of robotics process automation is essential to building brand value and achieving limitless scalability.