June 24, 2022

Accelerated Data Extraction of Bills and Invoices via IDP for Invoicing

With massive bills & invoices being produced, the logistics industry is always on the verge of credit risk. It calls for a solution that can fasten the process eradicating documentation delays completely. Learn why traditional systems can not comprehend today's needs, and what does intelligent document processing have on offer?...

We all know that late invoice payments are no less than a pandemic. In the UK alone, the punctual invoice payment has dropped to 41.5% in 2021. Also, the situation is worse in multiple other countries like the US, France, India, South Africa, etc. as mentioned by Brodmin.

‍Out of all the problems that give rise to late invoice payments, invoicing incorrectly & exceeding prompted time are a major reason. This coupled with Covid-19 have now emerged as a big reason for the growth of the e-invoicing market. As per some estimates, the e-invoicing market is expected to rise above $24.7 billion by the year 2027. ‍However, one of the major hindrances in reducing late invoice payments to its maximum efficiency is tedious and repetitive data extraction of bills and invoices. 

Wondering how IDP can help the logistics sector reach anywhere -from seashores to skylines? Read ahead.

What is an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) Platform?

An intelligent document processing platform is a documentation automation platform that can help in easy adoption of e-invoicing. It possesses the capability to automate the entire ordeal end-to-end with zero errors, least throughput, and turnaround time with minimal manual intervention.

What is an Invoice?

An invoice is a document used for commercial purposes. It is issued by the seller to the buyer and serves the purpose of defining the sales transaction, product, quantity, services, etc. provided to the buyer.

‍Manual Way of Invoice Processing in the Logistics Industry

The manual process of invoice processing requires you to follow the following tiresome steps usually-

  • Receive Invoices
  • Read and Understand Invoices
  • Open your data entry software
  • Key in Data
  • Check Data

Now as you can see it can be really tiring in the long run and can easily leading to multiple human errors making an enterprise completely dependable upon human accuracy and perception.

Are Invoices in Logistics Different from Other Industries?

No, they are not. In fact, the part that comes under bills & Invoices is logistics (for any industry). While the format and purpose may differ, the act of registering the sales transaction itself is logistics.

What are the Key Components of an Invoice in the Logistics Sector?

Even though an invoice varies as per needs, a few standard components of an invoice include-

  • ‍Invoice date
  • Unique reference number
  • Product description
  • Total amount charged and the currency
  • Payment terms

It is important to note that it's not just the format and purpose of an invoice that may get altered as per needs. At times, even its key components can change. A few common reasons for these alterations can be-

  • ‍Different geographies
  • Different regulations
  • Intention of the invoice
  • Department of the invoice
  • Challenges In Invoice Data Extraction

Ideally data extraction from an invoice is done via two methods. These are manual scanning and Traditional OCR.

Let’s take the image above into consideration and assume that a logistics company only requires two details from it. One being the exporter name and the other being the destination region.

How do you think the employees will extract these two fields from thousands or probably lakhs of invoices?

Well, they will have to take the old route and sort out the invoices on a one by one basis. This will be time consuming and highly prone to error. Besides, it might also push up the operational costs by manyfolds as the entire process of manually sorting, extracting, and classifying the data would require a dedicated team.

Optical Character Recognition

Optical Character Recognition or OCR utilizes either a scanning device or an application. In the case of a scanning device, the paper-based document is scanned with the OCR detecting the required data fields along with the data. On the contrary, an app based OCR extracts the field and data from a digital copy.

Even though the process of data extraction with OCR is considerably faster, there are a few limitations to it like the OCR requiring a manual operator. Apart from this, it doesn’t work well with unstructured documents and is incapable of extracting data categorically. ‍It will make data extraction easier but the process would still be time and cost-intensive.

How can an Intelligent Document Processing Platform help the Logistics Sector in Invoice Data Extraction?

A huge number of documents are exchanged between freight companies every year. There are all sorts of documents in a range of formats. Getting the data that you need from these documents has traditionally been costly & time-intensive. 

This manual process can be inaccurate sometimes when data needs to be updated in your TMS or ERP system. With an Intelligent  Document Processing platform, logistical companies are learning how beneficial it can be to delegate their paperwork to AI machine systems that can act as a one-stop solution for invoice data extraction for both structured and unstructured data. 

An IDP is an AI-based platform capable of working with both digital and paper-based invoices, and allows data from bills and invoices in a customized & categorical manner.

For leveraging an IDP platform, the user is only required to upload the documents to the platform that can be from varied sources- such as file folders, cloud, or the DMS. Post this, the platform takes care of everything- from pre-processing, to extracting the required data. The extracted information can be exported after processing in different formats such as excel, CSV, etc.

What are the Benefits of AI Powered Automated Document Processing Platforms for Logistics?

The benefits of AI powered document automation platform for the logistics industry are:

  • Improved customer experience.
  • Increased employee productivity.
  • Reduced errors and improved accuracy.
  • Reduced manual input and data entry time.
  • Document formatting and layout automation.

Automated Document Processing platforms  can make it easy to organize documents, to get them classified in the right way and to format them too. Machine learning algorithms help in determining the correct classification for a given document, and combining that with OCR makes the process easier. It’s worth investing time in if you’re going to publish a lot of text-heavy content.

Logistics companies spend a lot of time and manpower on importing documents into management systems; this can be put towards more profitable aspects of your company such as driving growth. Without AI document automations software, this would take a long time and be prone to human error.

Teams that Benefit from Automating the Reconciliation of AP Invoices in Logistics

  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Shared Service Center

How can Automated Invoice Reconciliation help Logistics Companies?


Source of Invoices in the Logistics Industry

With multiple coordinators involved like freight forwarders, carriers, shippers etc. to make up the supply chain, the amount of invoices produced and processed is magnanimous. Some of the critical documents that are generated in this domain include- bills of lading (BoL), commercial invoices, certificate of origin, driver’s notes, shipping instructions, waybills, etc. Each of these documents require data extraction and verification at some level. This accounts for heaps of unprocessed documents that can be processed automatically using an IDP in no time.

Can the Logistics Sector Automate its Document and Data Heavy Processes?

Keeping track of the goods shipped by the logistics companies can prove to be costly, and time-consuming. Leveraging on a state of the art IDP platform can help the logistics industry capture, archive, and search for information from crucial records like invoices, customs documents, and bills of lading.

How Does Intelligent Document Processing Work for the Logistics Industry?

Document Classification:

In logistics, there are a lot of documents that need to be classified as certain types. Machine learning can take care of this by recognizing patterns on every document and classifying its type quickly. It’s ideal for other paperwork too like Bills of Lading, Commercial Invoices and Accounts Payable Invoices.


Data Extraction:

After uploading your document, AI performs an initial classification. If it’s an image-based doc, it uses OCR to extract the data. This is also done with text-based documents as well so we can know the context better. This enables the previously unstructured data to be structured and mapped to our document schema, e.g. a Master Bill of Lading schema.


Data Release:

Once the paperwork has been scanned in, the data is transferred to the internal system. A state of the art IDP platform also gets smarter with each use and  learns from mistakes and improves over time. Data releases hence play a crucial role in providing valuable insight into company processes.

Your Accounts Payable Reconciliation Workflow with IDP:

Step 1:

Receive  Documents

Step 2:

Extract data

Step 3:

Structure data

Step 4:

Exception management

Step 5:

Data entry

Barriers to Effective Change in Logistics Invoice Automation

According to a McKinsey study, 85% of respondents have inefficient digital technologies in their supply chains and only 14% of respondents have made sustained performance improvements.

Despite the many benefits of logistics invoice automation, many organizations face barriers to making a positive change including:


VisionERA- The All in One Document Gateway for the Logistics Industry

VisionERA uses powerful self-trainable AI technology and machine learning algorithms with zero third-party dependency. It helps logistics organizations replace manual data entry with automated data extraction from bills and invoices.

The platform provides DIY workflows and document selection for customizing the entire operation with zero sample training. With VisionERA, our clients get an industry beating table detection system with auto gridlining for effectively extracting data from bills and invoices. The platform offers continuous and active learning via feedback using the AI-Human alliance and can easily be deployed with any infrastructure using the plug-n-play feature. It also allows the user to customize the UI using drag-n-drop, and apply DIY triangulation logic for data validation.

Leveraging on our IDP prowess, crucial logistics information can be captured and accessed swiftly helping the logistics industry boost customer satisfaction and become more agile.

Note: Now the key to data extraction from bills and invoices can be yours at just $0. How? VisionERA is being offered to its customers at just $0. Want to learn the entire details about the offer, click on the link here.

To try out VisionERA on your invoices, use our free trial button.

To get a step-by-step walkthrough of VisionERA and how it can help you, schedule a demo with our automation experts.

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