Intelligent Ocean Freight Invoice Processing

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Aerial view container ship carrying container in import export business logistic and transportation of international by container ship in the open sea.

Ocean freight invoice processing is a very manual process for many companies, primarily because they rely on keying in data from paper invoices, or using legacy OCR systems that have limited functionality and accuracy.

An ocean freight invoice is a lengthy but important document in the shipping supply chain. It documents the breakdown of items shipped including relevant product coding’s, shipment details and costs involved in the shipment.

Manual Data Entry and Legacy OCR
Without a comprehensive freight invoice, customs officials will not accept the shipment. As a result of document complexity, ocean freight invoice processing is an intensively manual process for many companies, primarily because they rely on keying in data from paper invoices or using legacy OCR scanning solutions that have limited functionality and accuracy.

Minimal Manual Interaction
The challenge for many TMS solution providers is to find a system that can capture all the requisite data on an ocean freight invoice, withing minutes, and then validate the  data in an efficient manner  – with minimal or no manual interaction, to reduce the traditional manual capture model.

New Technology with 100% Accuracy
But good news Freight Invoice Processers! The technology needed to capture invoice data with 100% data accuracy IS available and exists RIGHT NOW. It is available as a SaaS Cloud based service and at a fraction of the price it’s probably costing you to process your invoices today! 

Is this your current operating model?

Legacy data extraction processes are out of date

Most current data extraction methods use OCR solutions to interpret the data on a freight invoice – this is likely to be a result of a decision taken some time ago when OCR software was the only option. The key term used for OCR is “interpret”, because it converts the document to an image of the invoice and then extracts the data based on what it thinks is there. Accuracy rates for OCR systems range from 70 – 90% but cannot offer 100% completely accurate capture.

Validation Uses Up Resources
On top of that, any freight invoice that has been captured in this manner has to be validated manually to identify errors and inconsistencies. OCR doesn’t have the flexibility to deal with fields moving over the page and inconsistent invoice page lengths.

CloudTrade technology has changed the game.

Data Extraction with 100% accuracy AND validation
All companies can provide an electronic format invoice (PDF, EDI, CSV, DOC, XLS), often sent via email to the buyer. CloudTrade’s unique technology can open the invoice and extract the data exactly as it was input by the vendor – that means the data extracted for entry to your ERP or TMS is 100% accurate.

Validation at the Point of Capture
CloudTrade also processes and validates the data at point of capture, to your pre-set business rules, within minutes of receipt. Suppliers send their freight invoices to a designated email address, the invoice is processed in the cloud by CloudTrade, and the data is then sent to you for input to your ERP or TMS.

Touchless Solution
Our solution is completely “touchless” and allows you to process freight invoices quickly and efficiently without manual keying or all the manual correction and validation required with OCR systems. If an invoice is sent and doesn’t fulfil your data criteria, it is sent to the CloudTrade portal whereby you can review the data before it is sent and ingested into your ERP or TMS system. 

What about your suppliers? They benefit too.

  • No cost for suppliers to use the service – no infrastructure changes or software is required
  • No change to existing processes – just keep sending an email with the invoice attached
  • Freight invoices are processed, and paid, in a more time-efficient manner

That’s why on-boarding rates for suppliers using CloudTrade is around 95%. 

Find out more about how you can process freight invoices more efficiently or to arrange a free demo, contact us today