Instructions for the Bill of Lading: why are they important?

October 18, 2023

18 October 2023

Instructions for the Bill of Lading: why are they important?

In the complex world of logistics, simplification and optimization of processes are critical to the success of companies. 

Among the many documents and procedures involved in supply chain management, Instructions for the Bill of Lading emerge as central elements, playing a crucial role in facilitating efficient shipment management and improving customer service performance.

Bill of Lading Instructions are the information provided by the shipper or consignee to the ocean carrier or forwarding agency to properly create or complete the bill of lading, outlining the key parameters of the shipment. This document defines the origin and destination of the goods, details the characteristics of the goods, specifies the mode of transportation, and indicates shipper, consignee, notified party, booking number, place of receipt, ocean vessel, port of embarkation, port of discharge, final destination, freight payable, package number/type, description of goods, gross and net weight.
In short, the Instructions for the Bill of Lading provide a comprehensive framework for ensuring that goods are transported correctly and in a timely manner. Their proper completion is critical for smooth supply chain management. However, often the customer service department fills out the Bill of Lading through manual data entry of these instructions, which can result in wasted time and increase the risk of errors in the process.


The crucial role of Instructions for the Bill of Lading in supply chain management

Let's therefore try to highlight the crucial role played by the Instructions for the Bill of Lading in managing shipments and ensuring an efficient and reliable supply chain, with a focus on how to improve the productivity of the customer service office.

Instructions for the Bill of lading are a vital element in managing shipments in a well-organized supply chain. The correct completion of these documents ensures that the goods are delivered to the right recipient, at the right place and on time. Traceability is a key aspect: with the information contained in the Bill of Lading Instructions, you can constantly monitor the progress of shipments and intervene promptly in case of delays or problems. This visibility improves not only operational efficiency but also the ability to respond to customer needs. The customer service department, involved in manual data entry of these instructions, can improve productivity and reduce the time spent on this process, allowing them to focus on more strategic activities in logistics management.

Another crucial aspect is regulatory compliance. In an international environment where shipments may cross numerous jurisdictions, it is essential that all documents and declarations comply with local and international regulations. The Instructions for the Bill of Lading provide a framework to ensure that all legal requirements are met, thereby reducing the risk of delays due to customs or administrative problems, helping to ensure that the shipment is handled properly.
In addition, the correct completion of Bill of Lading Instructions greatly reduces the possibility of errors: this results in more reliable shipments and, consequently, greater customer satisfaction.
The digitalization of instructions and the automation of data entry are further steps in minimizing errors and optimizing the Bill of Lading.
We will examine in more detail how the digitalization of Bill of Lading Instructions is revolutionizing the entire process, leading to further efficiency and sustainability benefits, thereby improving supply chain management.


The first step toward automating the Instructions for the Bill of Lading

Logistics is a fragmented and paper-intensive industry, which means that regardless of the type of operation, there are hundreds of paper documents confirming a single activity.

Digitalization has brought significant changes in the way companies handle logistics documents such as Bill of Lading Instructions, bringing a number of benefits that positively impact logistics.
One of the first benefits is the reduction in paper consumption, something that not only improves sustainability but also optimizes the efficiency of the customer service office. Often, customer service consumes too much paper to print documents, which can be wasteful and harmful to the environment.
After all, according to the National Research Council in Turin, Italy's companies consume 1.2 million tons of paper each year. This number rises dramatically for the United States: more than 30 billion paper documents are copied and printed each year by organizations.
A McKinsey analysis indicates that the bill of lading accounts for between 10% and 30% of total trade documentation costs. Adopting an electronic bill of lading could save $6.5 billion in direct costs and enable between $30 billion and $40 billion in new global trade volume, while improving supply chain resilience.

Instructions for the Bill of Lading, being digitalized, are already a step ahead of many other documents. This paves the way for process automation, which helps improve productivity.
Operators often perform repetitive cut-and-paste tasks, even when it comes to handling Bill of Lading Instructions received from customers via email attachments such as invoices or packing lists in pdf format, or directly contained in the text of the email.
Investing in advanced technologies and best practices to take full advantage of automating data entry processes regarding bills of lading can help logistics companies increase back office productivity, thereby helping to make a difference in overall supply chain success.


Maximizing operational efficiency: optimization through Instructions for the Bill of Lading

In the context of logistics, maximizing operational efficiency is a primary goal for companies wishing to ensure timely, reliable and cost-effective shipments. One of the key aspects of achieving this goal is optimizing the processing of Bill of Lading Instructions.

For many companies, the customer service department plays a crucial role in the process of managing the Instructions for the Bill of Lading. However, manual data entry of these instructions can often result in wasted time and increase the risk of errors. In this context, automating data entry using specialized software proves essential to improve customer service performance and maximize operational efficiency.

Automating data entry allows data to be quickly and accurately extracted from the Instructions for the Bill of Lading and automatically entered into logistics management systems. This process not only reduces the risk of human error but also greatly speeds up instruction processing, allowing customer service staff to focus on more strategic, high value-added tasks. This improves the overall productivity of the customer service office, helping to ensure that shipments are handled more efficiently.

In addition to improving the productivity of the customer service office, automating data entry brings significant benefits in terms of accuracy and traceability of information. The ability to extract data consistently and accurately from Bill of Lading instructions minimizes the risk of errors or misunderstandings in shipment management. Furthermore, accurate data entry enables better traceability of shipments, which is essential to respond quickly to any delays or problems that may arise during transportation.



Optimizing the processing of the Instructions for the Bill of Lading through data entry automation is a significant step toward maximizing operational efficiency in the logistics industry.
Bill of Lading Instructions are vital elements of supply chain management and play a crucial role in ensuring timely and reliable shipments. The digitalization of these documents has transformed logistics, reducing paper consumption and paving the way for automation – a major driver for the growth of companies operating in this sector.



1. Omdia, Market Landscape: Intelligent Document Processing

2. The multi-billion-dollar paper jam