RPA in Supply Chain Management | 3 Ways Robotic Process Automation Maximizes Efficiency

RPA in Supply Chain Management

The opportunities to apply robotics and artificial intelligence within the global supply chain are vast. Among these, robotic process automation (RPA) is a key element of supply chain automation that is moving the industry toward efficiency and productivity goals. 

RPA in supply chain management can be applied to virtually any task, comparable to using a smart assistant in a global platform. In fact, supply chain leaders and logistics service providers need to know the top three ways RPA can make the biggest impact.

1. RPA in Supply Chain Management Enables True Exception-Based Administration

The premise behind RPA in transportation management is simple: it mirrors actions based on historic and real-time data to replicate the human motions of using a supply chain management platform. 

As further explained by Carrie White of FreightWaves, it’s “a fast-growing technology that imitates human behavior and has taken root in the financial services and hospitality industries. [And it’s] slowly making its way into logistics. Robotic process automation (RPA) is an intelligent automation software that uses machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence to mimic the rote tasks a human performs on a daily basis, whether it’s reading email or quoting rates. Eventually, RPA technology could provide every broker an assistant to perform lower-level tasks so they can focus on high-level strategy.”

This adds up to allowing staff to focus on higher-priority needs, eliminating the hassle of managing exceptions manually and effectively lowering the strain on resources.

2. RPA Leverages Self-Optimizing Systems to Lower Aggregate Costs

Other possible applications of RPA in transportation management surround optimization capabilities. Since RPA runs autonomously and within the background of virtual environments, it can be used to analyze, review, and continuously improve systems and routes. This capability has a natural implication of using freight forecasting capabilities and indices, deriving more details about expected time of arrival (ETA), choosing the right mode for a shipment, and more. As further described by White, “RPA can be thought of as a tool for workforce optimization, rather than workforce replacement.” It all lowers the total landed cost of freight management and transport.

3. Automated Algorithms Reduce Mayhem and Share Data Within and Beyond Your Freight Management Parties

A third application of RPA in transportation management involves customer service. 

It’s important to also define customer service in two ways. The first form is customer service for the shipment end user. RPA is able to handle status inquiries, complaints, returns management authorizations, and more. 

On the other hand, RPA can be leveraged by freight management partners, including brokers, forwarders, and other logistics service providers to measure performance of team members, reduce delays in booking freight by allowing automation to take control, and saving resources. 

It all adds up to more efficient processes and standardized processes that apply dynamic rulesets and algorithms to share data between supply chain partners and build more value. 

In addition, the applications of automated data entry and sharing naturally bring up the value of using RPA to handle data entry between systems, such as writing shipment details collected from emails into a given transportation management platform.

Draw on the Potential of RPA in Supply Chain Management Now

RPA in supply chain and transportation management will only continue to grow in value and use in the modern supply chain. 

As the global supply chain moves closer to a state of full automation and maximum optimization, the ability to apply RPA in transportation will further become a competitive differentiator. But first organizations need to implement a comprehensive transportation management platform, such as the MercuryGate platform, to be ready.

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