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How Automation is Changing Freight Bill of Lading Data Entry

  • Manoj Kumar 
Professional male mover in overalls makes notes on clipboard while standing near cardboard boxes.
Bills of lading are usually manually entered with numerous places for introducing errors. BoL automation is thus becoming an important step for shipping of all sorts.

For those not involved in shipping, freight billing is the process of providing an invoice that includes information concerning the transportation of a company’s goods from one place to the other. It also contains the number of charges, due dates, weight, complete goods description, contact information, and names of both the receiver and the shipper, freight rates, assessorial charges, etc. These are tedious and error prone tasks. Hence, a need of automation in freight bills is required.

The history of logistics is also a history of automation. Technological development has been an important part of the industry’s evolution from the steam engine to today’s robotic pickers and packers.  

While there is a pattern for accelerating and prioritizing automation in data entry, some logistics companies have not yet fully dived, which could be costing them greatly.  

Depending on manual data entry and physical paperwork can be time-consuming and expensive. Especially when dealing with lockdowns or managing time-sensitive shipments. Therefore, there is a need for automation in freight bills.

With an ongoing disruption across the industry, digital transformation initiatives are a priority from the board level down. It is the perfect time to try and eradicate old-school manual processes. Therefore, replacing them with automation and technology enables innovation to flourish.    

The Headache of Manual Data Entry

Logistics providers must handle extremely high volumes of disparate, non-digitized data, from scanned bills of lading to invoices, air waybills, and more.  

As with any labor-intensive task, there are risks for companies that continue to depend on manual data entry. Hence, it can often lead to duplication, rework, and even penalties for noncompliance.  

While many argue that inaccurate data entry is one of the most expensive mistakes that logistics businesses make, the reason is that there are so many chances for errors, especially when you’re dealing with language, legal, and localization differences.  

However, it’s not just this considerable risk of errors. Moreover, manual processes also leave providers lacking complete and reliable data. Thus, making it difficult to scale their operations. It’s doing paperwork in different offices and then sifting through it to find the relevant data, which takes time and adds considerable expenses. When you combine that with the high number of transactions logistics providers are looking to perform, it creates several challenges which can be tough to solve. 

Automation in Freight Bill

Automating a bill of landing is like automating any other process in your system. It will save you money and time. As well as run your logistics operations more smoothly. By automating your bill of lading data extraction workflow, you can automatically send the content of any bill of lading to other software, such as your accounting software, custom declaration workflow, shipment tracking system, or customer notification platform.

If you’re still trying to decide whether or not to take automation in freight bills, here are four key benefits to think about:


A completely automated system will save you hours of work every day. As a consequence, you’ll be able to pick up new orders. That, too, without waiting for someone to manually copy the Bill of Lading information into your systems.


Automation will reduce your costs in two crucial ways. Firstly, it reduces paper waste and eliminates the need for paper storage space. Secondly, it helps reduce errors that could lead to costly legal fees, fines, or even angry clients.

Improving compliance

Automation demonstrates that you have a proven, highly reliable process to manage your shipment data. This supports ensuring that your shipments and business stay compatible with all relevant laws and regulations.

Security enhancement

Automating the paperwork also means automating access control. For instance, with an electronic bill of lading system, only the shipper and the carrier can get access to it unless stated otherwise.

Business process automation

The good news is, that you can solve these problems by using business process automation. Shippers who don’t audit their freight invoices before paying them lose money and data analysis advantages.

For analytics purposes, a freight billing audit can support you in analyzing market trends, forecasting future freight costs, and strategizing more efficient shipping routes.

Improving your routes and shipping process can save you money and time. And also benefit your relationship with your carrier. Also, acting on the insights obtained from an audit can help you get an edge over competitors and predict changing trends in the market.


Considering all these benefits, the number of global logistics firms implementing automated invoicing in their operations is only expected to increase. The quick pace of logistics will accelerate, making paperwork and other back-office activities increasingly redundant in the future. If logistics companies are looking to develop and grow, there is no better time than now, and there is no better way than to harness the power of technology to do it. Therefore, automation in freight bills simplifies the processes.