September 23, 2022

How to Prepare Shipping Documents Faster with VisionERA?

Dealing with shipping documents in logistics is imminent. Yet, there aren’t measures taken to speed up the process. This article talks about how you can speed it up.

Shipping documents are essential to the logistics industry. They make sure that the consignment prepared or shipped are reaching the destination in due time. However, times have changed. Companies that are capable of providing a product faster are considered better in today’s competitive market. One portion of making this process faster is by making the preparation of shipping documents faster.

This is for the same reason we have created this article. In this article, we’ll explain to you the different types of documents used for shipping and how you can use VisionERA to prepare them faster.

Types of Shipping Document

These are some of the most common documents that are used around the world as shipping documents. Have a look:

Proforma Invoice

A proforma invoice is a document that is created before the sale happens. It is the reason the document doesn’t exhibit any taxes. They are primarily created for the customer to smoothen the transaction between the two parties. Oftentimes, it is more or less equal to the final amount in the invoice.

Below are some of the entries that are used in a proforma invoice:

  • Unique Invoice Number
  • Date of Issue
  • Supplier’s Address
  • Buyer’s Address
  • Goods Description
  • Validity
  • And more

Commercial Invoice for Export

Commercial invoice is a document that is issued to the buyer after the sale has happened. It has no standard template since it is used generally for international trade. It often acts as a record for buyers that they use to fetch their consignment from the customs.

Below are the entries commonly seen in a commercial invoice:

  • Name, Address, and contact Details of the Exporter
  • Name, Address, and Contact Details of the Importer
  • Mode of Shipping
  • Type of Consignment
  • Invoice Number 
  • Destination

Bill of Lading (Seaway, Inland, Airway)

Bill of Lading is a business term used to describe shipping invoice. It is meant for the carrier to provide them with all necessary information such as destination of the good, scheduled pick-up, etc. This piece of document is issued by the carrier to the customer.

These are primarily of three types depending upon the mode of transportation i.e:

  • Seaway Billing: It is a receipt of the goods that is issued by the ocean carrier to the customer who is receiving the goods.
  • Inland Billing: It is a receipt of the goods issued by the inland carrier to the customer who is receiving the goods.
  • Airway Billing: It is a receipt of goods issued by the airway carrier to the customer who is receiving the goods.

Each of these documents mentioned above bears its own significance. It is because of the following entries or pieces of information mentioned below:

  • Name, Address, and Contact of the Carrier
  • Name, Address, and Contact of the Customer
  • Freight Weight
  • Freight Value
  • Date of Shipment
  • And many others

Customs Declaration (Export/Import)

A customs declaration form is a list of goods that are either imported or exported from one location to another. During the customs process, it is required for the shipper and the customer to declare the goods they are importing or exporting. It is a crucial document and is utilized during every shipping process.

Below are the entries mentioned in a customs declaration form:

  • Name and Address of the Shipper
  • Type of Consignment and its Description
  • Weight, Quantity, and Value of the each Individual Item in the Shipment
  • Total Weight, Quantity, and Value of the Shipment
  • HS Tariff Number

Certificates of Shipping

Certificates are significant to the process of shipping. It describes the types of cargo that is being shipped. These certificates are primarily of three types:

  • Vessel Certificate: This certifies the ownership of the vessel. It also specifies details such as age and maintenance of the vessel, and is an important requirement for the letter of credit.
  • Production Certificate: It is a certificate issued to describe that the product being shipped is sustainable in nature or it is produced utilizing certified methodologies. For airway carriers, it specifies the airworthiness of the cargo.
  • Phytosanitary Certificate: It is certified that is used to certify the cargo being exported/imported is free from regulated pests. It also entails that the cargo being shipped is free from any other phytosanitary requirement.

Packing List for Shipping

Packing list is a document commonly used during international shipping. It is created for exporters, freight forwarders, and the customer describing to them important information about the cargo such as dimension of the package, weight, numbers, logos, etc. 

A packing list contains these following entries such as:

  • Address, Name, and Contact of the Shipper
  • Address, Name, and Contact of the Customer
  • Date of the Shipment of Cargo
  • Address of Origin
  • Destination
  • Volume and Weight of the Package
  • Description of the Package

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

It is the set of instructions that are specified to the shipper to move and take the cargo across borders. Oftentimes, this document carries important information about the billing of the cargo and other charges.

Here are some of the entries that are used in an SLI (Shipper’s Letter of Instruction):

  • Detail of the Shipper
  • Detail of the Customer
  • Number of the Container
  • Name and Number of the Voyage
  • Port for Loading/Discharge

Certificate of Origin

It is another document used during international trade. It specifies whether a consignment is obtained, shipped, manufactured, or processed in a particular geolocation.

Letter of Credit

It is a document that is certified by the banks to assure the payment between the buyer and seller. In this case, the bank acts as a beneficiary, and guarantees payment to the seller if the buyer fails to do so. 

The different types of letter of credit are:

  • Commercial Letter of Credit
  • Standby Letter of Credit
  • Confirmed Letter of Credit
  • Revolving Letter of Credit
  • Revocable Letter of Credit
  • Irrevocable Letter of Credit
  • Fully Funded Letter of Credit

How VisionERA helps in preparing Shipping Documents Faster?

VisionERA IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) is an intermediary between the raw information stuck in your organization and the ERP system. Ideally in bigger organizations, ERP systems already have predefined templates that are used for preparing these documents.

The challenge in this task is the aggregation of information from raw data that is used within these forms. Also, the remaining information is auto-generated by the ERP system.

However, VisionERA exports the unstructured data within your organization, processes & validates them using triangulation logic (defined by you) and provides spreadsheets of data automatically.

It is also capable of storing the data directly into your ERP’s database. Below are steps taken by VisionERA to provide processed information. These are:

Step 1: Create a Custom Workflow

In this step, the user is required to enter the name of the workflow, country, documents for data extraction & verification, and primary document for matching (as a source of truth).

Step 2: Create Custom Documentation

Select the type of document, and the key attributes of data that needs to be processed and extracted.

Step 3: Upload Documents

Simply upload the documents to VisionERA, and it will automatically start working without any manual intervention.

Once these operations are finished, the system would automatically forward the information to the ERP system, which can be utilized for preparing the shipping documents.

Final Takeaways

One way of making the supply chain more optimized is by taking our redundant procedures and replacing them with automation capabilities. VisionERA exactly does that for organizations. It makes the work of processing documents easier, faster, efficient, and more standardized. This results in enhanced productivity, cost optimization, reduced TAT, and higher throughput for the organization.

Want to learn more about Vision and see how it works? Simply click on the CTA below or click here.

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