Automated invoice processing: Everything you need to know

Manual processing of invoices can be handled comfortably only in the nascent stages of a business. But, once the business starts scaling, utilizing spreadsheets and other manual methods is not conducive in the long term. Hence, manual processes are vulnerable to issues like losing invoices, delayed payments, and even fraud threats— all of which can significantly impact the business expenditure and profitability and subsequently damage the equation with the business partners.

A report by Mckinsey says that most organizations waste 3% to 4% of their overall external expenditure on excessive transaction costs, inefficiency, and non-compliance.

So, how can companies handle invoices more efficiently and avert costly errors? And how can they enhance visibility across the all-inclusive accounts payable process? This is where the role of automated invoice processing comes into play.

What is automated invoice processing, and why is it important?

Automated invoice processing helps capture, validate, and authorize invoices for payment by implementing automation in business processes. It involves collecting, organizing, and reviewing all incoming invoices – typically from customers or suppliers – to ensure accuracy in alignment with previously agreed-upon terms.

Hence, automated invoice processing is a system that streamlines and simplifies the accounts payable process. It captures data from invoices, extracts data such as vendor name, invoice number, and amount due, and stores the information in an organized way for easy access. By automating the invoice process, businesses can save time and money spent manually entering data and reduce the potential for human error.

Automated invoice processing can eliminate paper-based processes by automating data entry tasks and can improve precision in invoicing, ensure timely payments to vendors, and provide better visibility into accounts payable cycles. In addition, invoice processing automation software can help organizations comply with regulatory requirements for invoicing and increase the security of financial information. By taking advantage of this solution, organizations can improve their accounts payable processes by reducing the fraud risks associated with manual data entry. The solutions are also beneficial in terms of compliance and regulatory requirements, as they provide a secure and auditable way to process payments.

Thus, with these solutions, businesses can enjoy improved visibility into their financial processes and real-time visibility into their accounts payable department. This can help organizations improve accuracy and compliance and reduce the costs associated with manual data entry.

Why is it challenging to manually process invoices?

Manual invoice processing can be time-consuming, tedious, and prone to errors. Paper invoices can get lost in the mail or stuck in an administrative bottleneck. Manually exntering data into a digital system is labor-intensive and often subject to errors due to typos, omissions, or data entry mistakes. Even if the physical invoice gets through without problems, incorrect data entry can lead to payment delays and other issues.

Data must be checked for accuracy, followed up on, and cross-referenced with other systems and documents to ensure everything is in order before the invoice is approved and paid. This process requires significant time and resources, even when experienced personnel is available. Automating this process can help companies save money, improve accuracy, and speed up the entire process.

In addition to the processing time, manual invoice processing can be expensive due to labor costs and waste associated with paper handling. The cost of printing and processing paperwork often adds up quickly, as do the fees associated with hiring personnel to enter and review data manually.

What are the current solutions to address the challenges?

The traditional methods used to process invoices manually are tedious, error-prone, and slow. Implementing automated systems is one of the most common solutions for manual invoice processing.

Automated systems use software programs and algorithms to capture data from invoices and store it in a database. This allows companies to quickly access the needed data, reducing manual data entry time. Additionally, automated systems can process invoices faster and more accurately than humans, eliminating errors caused by human error.

Businesses can thus reduce the time and money spent manually processing invoices and focus their resources on other business areas.  In this way, organizations can ensure that invoices are processed quickly and accurately, making it easier to stay on top of payments and maintain a healthy cash flow.

Key benefits of automation in invoice processing

Automated workflows eliminate manual data entry, reducing errors and increasing accuracy.  It also improves efficiency by automating tasks such as generating digital copies of invoices, routing them for approval, and delivering them securely to customers.  Here are some more benefits of automated invoice processing:

Improved scalability:  Automation makes it easier to process large volumes of invoices quickly and accurately. This ensures businesses can grow without investing heavily in manual labor or additional personnel.

Reduced costs: Automated systems can significantly reduce operational costs, as businesses no longer need to handle invoices manually, deal with paper documents or spend time correcting mistakes.

Improved customer service: Automated invoice processing solution ensures that customers receive their invoices quickly and accurately, reducing query handling times and increasing customer satisfaction.

Enhanced visibility: Automating invoice processing makes it easier to track each invoice throughout its lifecycle, ensuring that invoices are paid on time and eliminating the need for manual follow-ups.

Improved traceability: Invoice processing automation software makes it easier for businesses to track the movements of invoices and payments, providing detailed insights into how their process works. This system enables businesses to identify and troubleshoot any issues quickly.

Increased security: Automation reduces the risk of data breaches, as digital documents are less vulnerable to physical damage and manipulation. Automated systems also allow businesses to protect sensitive information and ensure that only authorized individuals can access it.

Increased compliance: Automation makes it easier for businesses to comply with laws, regulations, and industry standards. Automated systems also help reduce the risk of non-compliance penalties.

The future of automated invoice processing

Automated invoice processing is becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes as they look for ways to increase efficiency while decreasing costs. By investing in the right system, companies can benefit from improved accuracy, faster payments, and better data management. With automated invoice processing, businesses can save time and money while reducing errors and improving customer satisfaction.

Companies are increasingly turning to digital solutions such as cloud-based invoicing software, automated payment systems, and online accounting tools to improve efficiency. Automated invoice processing is thus an invaluable solution for any business that needs to process a high volume of invoices quickly and accurately. By eliminating manual data entry, automated invoice processing reduces the risk of errors, saves time and money, increases organizational efficiency, and helps businesses stay organized.

How can AI help overcome supply chain challenges in retail?

Confronting the data stream is challenging for companies in any industry, and the retail segment is no exception. With the retail domain frequently evolving, the players in the industry are coming across various uncalled challenges. Thus, this brings the firms to a situation where they need to streamline their processes with new and innovative decision-making strategies to stand in the competition.

Also, there is a continuous data flow across the supply chain, multiple consumer touchpoints, and digital sources like social media. So, controlling this immense data influx has become a significant challenge for the retail sector as they are over-reliant on manual intervention.  This is where the role of AI in retail supply chain comes into play.

For instance, a Fortune 500 multi-national conglomerate manufacturing and selling semiconductor chip, implemented machine learning and automation and was able to harmonize and auto-verify 80% of the data with the master data for improved retailer collaboration. Consequently, the company can minimize the manual efforts in processing data significantly, thus making data more accessible and decision-making more timely and effective.

However, one of the most significant challenges of retail lately has been the data generated across businesses often exists in silos, along with skills shortages and a lack of data-driven decision making.

Due to this fragmentation, data consolidation becomes a major hurdle for firms to overcome. Hence, retail supply chain solutions become even more crucial for managing the supply chain more effectively, reducing return rates, enhancing store management, designing better products, and targeting customers more successfully.

Limitations in traditional supply chain

Traditional retailing has a long chain of mediating channels like wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. As a result, it becomes difficult for firms still following the traditional approach to directly connect with the customers due to the chain of mediators. Also, with the retailers promoting their products in their stores, their branding and marketing get confined to stores only.

Traditional retailing may or may not have an online presence, as most of their sales are made through stores, and they have an element of uncertainty in gaining consistent sales and revenue. The disconnect with customers can impact customer retention, as the traditional approach caters only to the mass market.

Traditional retailers are not involved in direct sales, and therefore, it becomes difficult for them to identify and act upon unfulfilled customer needs. As the traditional retail business models incur more costs due to middlemen and their commissions,  there are more chances of potential losses for the companies if they are targeting a mass market.

Going beyond conventional data processing model

COVID-19 has compelled many retail firms to shut down physical stores due to the escalating uncertainties for the future. These sudden shifts due to the pandemic and the limitations of the traditional model have forced retailers to look for other options to survive in the e-commerce market.

Consequently, they have prioritized the digital-first and omnichannel approach. Therefore, retailers focused on physical stores and direct engagement over omnichannel strategies have struggled to react quickly. As a result, firms that quickly reimagined their omnichannel approach, besides adapting to the shifting consumer behaviors for establishing a unique customer experience, are recovering faster from the hiccups.

Hence, to remain relevant in this current landscape, retailers should build AI in supply chain to process data more efficiently to serve customers better. However, firms must focus on specific goals across five actions which are:

Due to this shift in customer behaviors, e-commerce sales in apparel, department stores, and beauty products have grown by nearly 10% points, on average, since the commencement of COVID-19. Hence, e-commerce penetration in grocery domain that has soared from 2% to 3% before the crisis, rose to 8% – 10% during the peak period of the pandemic. 1

Importance of supply chain solutions in retail

A retail company has various challenges like prolonged fulfillment times, elevated fulfillment costs, and the incompetence to offer competitive shipping options and prices. Hence, streamlining supply chain and implementing technologies like AI in retail supply chain will nullify the current supply chain challenges.

Hence, applying supply chain solutions such as TradeEdge enables companies to manage back-office operations efficiently by bridging the data gaps, thus boosting productivity and profit margins.

Also, implementing retail supply chain solutions can improve efficiency considerably, especially in the transportation domain, where online vehicle tracking (and, therefore, packages) helps lower indecision and take corrective actions whenever and wherever needed. Thus, real-time supply chain solutions play a crucial role in the Last Mile Delivery (LMD) segment in retail, where geo-coding, real-time traffic, and dynamic route planning facilitate accomplishing better efficiency and service levels.

Benefits of AI and automation in retail supply chain

Automating labor-intensive tasks: AI in retail supply chain facilitates time-consuming tasks such as processing orders, generating essential documents, and paying out invoices that free humans to invest time in more value-added tasks.

Eliminating human errors: Tasks performed manually are prone to errors. Therefore, by removing the intervention of humans, automation lowers the risk of errors like duplicating orders and wrong data entry from inventory.

Increasing visibility in supply chain: Supply chain visibility involves a lot of connectivity, communication, and responsibility from both merchants, suppliers, and service providers. Hence, digital automation automatically records and informs data in near real-time, allowing the involved parties to access important information when required, track inventory, and communicate promptly through the supply chain. Thus, improved supply chain visibility can help firms quickly detect and resolve bottlenecks to avoid further delays and disruptions, thus increasing overall efficiency.

Increasing customer experience: With retail supply chain solutions automating and streamlining supply chain, the customers are bound to reap the benefits. Thus, an automated supply chain gets accurate orders fulfilled and delivered to customers quickly, which helps you provide high customer satisfaction. Thus, most retailers are reliant on effective management strategies that enable them to handle several delivery options and keep their customers satisfied with service.


The retail industry is under pressure as margins are stressed from all sides, from greater costs for overseeing e-commerce supply chains to elevated investments to meet the new competitive ecosphere and the steadily increasing labor costs. Hence, implementing AI in supply chain will reform retail business approaches and the wider value chain, thus forming companies with fewer layers and an improved, trained, and trusted workforce vested by real-time data and analytics.

Document processing automation – Everything you need to know

Document-heavy organizations will agree – enterprise document management is quite a nerve-wracking task, riddled with challenges. Processing and maintaining documents consumes a lot of productive hours, which employees could have otherwise used to serve more valued purposes. The chances of losing important files, extracting and updating incorrect data on the spreadsheet are always high. Then there are risks of digital file management chaos, high document process cycle time, version control, and unavailability of accurate information when needed. Given the current challenging scenario, document processing automation seems like the best bet for all.

Shortcomings of traditional document processing

Paper document-centric industries like banks, healthcare, and other enterprises share one common problem – the unavailability of crucial data on time. Enterprise data plays a significant role in placing organizations ahead of the market competition through strategic decisions and proper implementations. But enterprise data stays hidden amidst piles of paper documents. The legacy approach demands that employees convert those documents into their digital state and extract information accordingly. Unfortunately, humans make mistakes and easily overlook granular subtleties while extracting data. The data thus pulled paints a half-hearted picture of the actual reality, impairing proper and adequate decision-making. New-age technologies like Automation and AI have the power to dive deep into the core of the documents and fetch insights that carry more value. The following is the list of issues document processing automation is designed to override:

7 Reasons for choosing document processing automation

There are varied reasons why document processing automation is the need of the hour. Here are five compelling ones to assist in your decision-making:

What is document processing automation?

Automated document processing comes with in-built capabilities that harness the power of AI and Automation to process, store, and manage documents effectively. With the right tools in place, such platforms can also handle data extraction tasks effectively. And cloud-based document processing automation software accelerates digital transformation initiatives of organizations. Because documents and data play a primary role in scaling an enterprise’s digital transformation journey, uplifting these areas with tech-enabled solutions should be the priority. Hence, document automation is strategically the first step taken towards it.

Document AI platforms like XtractEdge provide a purpose-built document extraction, processing, and comprehension solution that readily apply to most enterprise scenarios. Furthermore, with advanced AI capabilities like Machine Learning and Deep Learning, software tools optimize the document extraction, processing, and comprehension pipeline to help enterprises unlock business value faster.

Document processing automation best practices

Regardless of the types of documents to process, there are a few best practices to observe to prevent time-consuming, costly problems later. Here are a few tips to consider:

Benefits of document processing automation

The key benefits of automating document processing are the most obvious ones, and they are as follows:


Managing complex documents in bulk has always been challenging for enterprises, regardless of which industry they fall under. And extracting and making quality data available on time is another one. Document processing automation is probably the best discovery for organizations and their employees. Its benefits are far-reaching. As technology advances with each passing day, the future of document management looks promising. Automating document processing is probably the first strategic step towards it – an essential milestone for organizations in their quest for digital transformation.

How can document workflow management improve banking processes

Every organization needs a streamlined process with proper guidelines to manage workflows. Managing enterprise documents’ life cycle is a critical area that needs immediate attention because documents are a treasure trove of valuable data. But enterprise data usually stay hidden among piles of paper files, intricate spreadsheets, contracts, images, and long email trails. Extracting information from such sources is not easy, as well as digitizing documents and extracting granular insights. This is where document workflow management software powered by modern technologies can contribute significantly.

Current enterprise document challenges

Emails are one of the choicest communication mediums that allow senders to maintain a record of what is passed on between them and the receiver. Business emails are forecasted to grow by over 347 billion by year-end 2023. That’s not all. 70% of enterprises handle the bulk of paper documents in the form of images, PDF files, and printouts every day. And each document carries critical business data; 80% – 90% of which are unstructured and locked in these documents.

This is challenging for enterprises, especially when they need to extract specific information from document sources for decision-making. Shuffling through file after file or reading through long emails and extracting data from image attachments can be a time-consuming, brain-breaking task. And the required information is not often available when needed. Document workflow management is time, labor, and cost-intensive, negatively affecting the morale of the employees involved with the mundane process. Also, not to mention the trail of errors left behind while manually processing documents and entering data on spreadsheets. Further, physical documents are vulnerable to loss or damage. These challenges work as significant roadblocks in day-to-day business operations.

What is the need for document workflow management?

Let’s start with an example – saving an invoice received via email or from other sources like fax or courier and extracting data for future usage is a typical document workflow. Unfortunately, the chances of misrepresented data in the central repository and loss or damage of the physical document are always high. But document workflow management software harnesses the power of automation and other tech capabilities to prevent mishaps. Such platforms make it easier for employees to acquire documentation and create a central repository for all organizational information, easily accessible as and when needed. That way, an enterprise can save a lot of time spent manually searching for required data or the document as physical evidence.

Document workflow management bridges the data gap and reduces any chances of organizational chaos. In-house teams can complete their tasks faster and more accurately when they can access the required information at their fingertips.

What is a document workflow management system?

A document workflow management system allows enterprise documents to be organized, archived, and maintained with the power of automation, regardless of format. This software solution accommodates easy accessibility of required documents when needed without excessive time and resource investment.

Benefits of document workflow management system

Accountability: Document management software defines users and tasks in a workflow. This enables visibility into each task, ensuring employee accountability for fulfilling their duties. In addition, automated notifications allow for easy tracking of each process and help maintain workflow deadlines.

Error reduction: Auto-document indexing reduces costly human errors and the time spent tracking down and addressing mistakes.

Communication: Document routing automation prevents slowing down processes by manual document sharing. Once documents are added to the system, they are indexed and shared with the intended user. This allows easy accessibility of documents by authorized users, as and when needed.

Productivity: Manual tracking of documents is eliminated, freeing employees from recurring workflows. They are released from mundane request follow-ups or status reports and can refocus on revenue-producing actions.

Oversight: The workflow dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of all active workflows. Users can easily track statuses and add updates automatically. And software administrators can quickly identify slowdowns before they become an issue.

Document management workflow – five enterprise-wide use cases

Document workflow management system helps paper/document-intensive enterprises to convert into digital, paperless organizations. And its features have far-reaching applications in processes that are document-heavy. A few such everyday use cases would be:

Document management workflow – industry use cases

Every organization has to deal with heavy documents and other important files, including supplier-partner contracts, invoices, HR-related documents, employee contracts, legal papers, etc. But some industries are inherently document-heavy, while many among them are still dwelling in the paper era. These industries can benefit immensely from a user-friendly document management workflow software solution.

For example, banking, finance, and healthcare are two specific industry segments where enterprise documents hinder the following processes. Document management in the absence of tech-enabled solutions is a cumbersome task. And employee morale stays at its lowest level, and so does their productivity. In banking, the major challenge arises with KYC documentation and new customer onboarding. Also, processing loans and mortgages are usually document heavy. Handling customer documents and manually extracting information is a long-haul, recurring, and mundane process. Such processes affect team productivity significantly.

Hence, a document management workflow system powered by automation is the ideal software solution for such industries. For example, with software solutions like XtractEdge, a US-based bank improved in-house productivity by 10X or more.

Importance of automation in the banking industry

Banks and financial institutions were the early adopters of automation and digital solutions. However, this sector comprises operations that were executed manually, taking up a lot of time and effort from their staff.  Moreover, the routine activities were repetitive, which impacted the productivity of the in-house team and prevented banking institutions’ chances of moving up the value chain.

Automation was a blessing that reduced redundancies in operations and sped up processes, allowing staff to focus more on productive workflows. Further, the documentation hassle is addressed with automated document workflow management software. It prevents errors or misplaced customer documents. And allows customers to complete their KYC even from a distance. With such software available at your fingertips, storing historical data and customer details for extended periods becomes feasible, with no risk of loss or damage to physical documents. In addition, the auto-processing of different customers’ records happens simultaneously in lesser time, and any possible chances of fraudulent activities by customers are quickly arrested. So, banks can help onboard more customers than before and scale their revenue growth effectively.

Document workflow management is a catalyst for banking success

An automated software solution offers the following benefits:

RPA services boost enterprise productivity – Explore the 8 different ways

As per predictions, we can expect the RPA market value will cross USD 43.52 billion in 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 23.4% from 2021-2029. During the COVID pandemic, RPA was used extensively to speed up the manufacturing of vaccines. Today, its use cases have touched every industry around the world.

RPA industry use cases – a few examples

As stated earlier, RPA services have benefitted every industry worldwide. A few examples of industry-wide use cases would be:

RPA in telecommunications

With RPA tools as leverage, telecom companies can connect disparate data and systems via a digital workforce. It gives enough bandwidth to workers to focus more on customer servicing while keeping operational costs down. Speed, cost, and technology are critical success factors, and RPA services provide just that. The bots improve productivity and scalability, ensure faster call resolution, and reduce overhead costs.

RPA in banking

RPA helps banks automate repetitive manual processes, freeing employees to focus on other critical areas to stay competitive in the market. For example, it helps improve customer service, enables faster KYC and compliance, scales up credit card processing and mortgage loans, and detects fraudulent acts quickly.

RPA in customer care

RPA robots gather insights from various systems to handle service requests and provide personalized experiences to customers. In addition, it updates customer records and automates administrative and back-office tasks.

RPA in insurance

RPA services are meant to augment and extend human capabilities beyond rule-based recurring tasks. But the insurance sector comprises many repetitive long-haul tasks that prevent employees from focusing their talent elsewhere. RPA in insurance eliminates manual work so that claims can be processed faster, with utmost quality and accuracy.

RPA in healthcare

RPA bots remove friction, time, and cost from healthcare processes to elevate patients’ experience from scheduling visits and treatments to billing. Further, it automates mundane tasks like data entry and provides the required insights on time for optimal care decisions.

RPA in manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is quite familiar with robotics. Now it is embracing automation as a key enabler to complete its digital transformation journey. RPA services are leveraged effectively to handle administrative tasks like accounts payable, invoice processing, and supply chain, among many others. RPA optimizes core operations to improve tasks’ speed, agility, and quality. Assembling of products, quality checking, packaging, and back-end processes stand to benefit from RPA bots to obtain cost-effective operations.

RPA in retail

Lastly, RPA in retail automates various tasks such as inventory, supply chain, returns processing, invoice and contract management, and store planning management. Further, software bots also take care of multiple office tasks, including onboarding, staff selection, payroll, training, health, and safety.

Robotic Process Automation: Definition and purpose

Robotic process automation (RPA) is easy to build, deploy, and manage software technology emulating human-machine interactions as closely as possible. They are designed to execute the most basic tasks like understanding what’s on a screen, completing the right keystrokes, navigating systems, identifying and extracting data, and performing a wide range of rule-based actions. Contrary to humans, RPA bots can perform the above-mentioned tasks faster and more consistently without the need for any downtime.

RPA services are leveraged to execute recurring business processes that require lesser human intervention. The software bots are used to process data and information using specific rules. Its main objective is to improve the team’s productivity and enable process efficiency. These bots take the time, labor, and error-intensive factors out of the process, making it more streamlined and cost-effective.

Benefits of RPA services for enterprises

RPA services can improve team productivity, as was justified by one of the leading aerospace suppliers. By deploying RPA bots to key operational areas, the aerospace supplier could save over 35,714 hours of manual handling time. This contributed positively by allowing employees to focus on more important tasks after delivering objectives in less time.

However, elevating performance and productivity is just one fraction of what RPA can do. Here is a list of the top benefits of RPA services for enterprises to consider:

Increase process efficiency: RPA bots are designed to work faster than average human speed, twenty-four hours round the clock. Humans can work so much before they need downtime to recharge their energy; hence, their efficiency level varies. Contrarily, software bots can operate continuously at a stretch, with identical levels of speed and efficiency, completing more tasks in lesser time. Therefore, business processes become more efficient when software bots are in the loop.

Enhance accuracy: To err is human. Humans can make mistakes and take more time to rectify those earlier made. This back-and-forth process can exceed deadlines and gives rise to process inefficiencies. On the other hand, software bots like RPA are programmed to function exactly how the command says. Unless the information fed into its system is filled with errors, the bots will execute the tasks without committing one. Studies show that 85% of organizations surveyed agree that RPA exceeded their expectations for benefits such as accuracy, timeliness, and flexibility.

Increase security: RPA bots perform specific rule-based tasks, operating on a granular level. Hence, there are lesser chances of data leakage from one process to another. Data accesses are fully controlled and documented, which prevents any plausible security breach.

Provide scalable opportunities: During business expansion, owners often find themselves at crossroads due to a lack of process, operations, and team flexibility to adjust to the increasing number of tasks. But they can get all the support from RPA services for handling essential rule-based functions while the rest of the team focuses on core objectives.

Improve data and analytics: RPA can gather and differentiate data in separate fields. These bots can easily extract information regarding cycle times, work volume patterns, errors, and exceptions. Such insights prove major differentiators in decision-making to achieve optimum efficiency.

Elevate customer service: Simply put, employees can redirect their attention to addressing customer queries by hiring RPA services to handle recurring tasks. Customer is king, and this statement applies to every business, regardless of their industries. But winning them is no easy feat. Hence, proficient customer service skills are required to solve customer problems. This is something that bots cannot cater to effectively. Here, businesses need humans-in-the-loop to offer the human touch in their services, as most customers prefer.

Effective resource optimization: Obviously, when employees are freed from recurring tasks that are time and labor-intensive, the former can contribute better to the organization. Hence, their skills are optimally utilized beyond primary data entry roles.

Automate responses and triggers: Every RPA system comes with automated/semi-automated scheduling capabilities, assisting managers with the proactive management of certain events.

Improve communication: RPA bots can automate document creation and modification. And end users can easily access the latest information regardless of their physical location.

How does RPA boost productivity for enterprises – 8 different ways

Every objective of RPA solutions is directed toward improving productivity and operational efficiency. These bots work alongside your team as digital workers, assisting them in every possible way. Here are different ways RPA services offer productivity enhancement for your organization:

Automating recurring tasks
RPA bots automate repetitive tasks, as stated earlier. Contrarily, when company staff is assigned the same task, an interruption in production occurs and slows down the entire process. But bots can quickly fill the gap of shouldering non-revenue generating recurring workload. This frees employees to focus on critical roles that add value to their organization.

Providing uninterrupted service
Unlike humans, software bots can work relentlessly for hours without needing any downtime. Hence, such bots can be better utilized for providing uninterrupted service. And in-house talents can cater to roles for which they were hired and generate better results by leveraging outputs from recurring tasks handled by the bots.

Accelerating workflows
The customer support team can work effortlessly, handling queries with real-time insights and creating an incredible user experience. This is possibly done by leveraging RPA services. The bots provide the insights needed to accelerate workflows and handle customer queries faster and more efficiently.

Eliminating time spent on each task
Marketing and sales team often spend a lot of time attending to unqualified leads. Automating leads nurture with RPA helps teams to segment the leads appropriately. This maximizes the team’s output and productivity.

Supporting reconciliation
In a trade lifecycle, an immense amount of data captured are reconciled in various phases. Harness the power of RPA tools to reconcile data and identify mismatches across datasets. This particular benefit will also increase your team’s accuracy and productivity.

Preventing costly errors
Again, as stated earlier, unlike their human counterparts, RPA bots do not make mistakes while performing mundane tasks. They are programmed to follow the rules; hence, the data extracted by them are accurate. Therefore, teams can leverage accurate, error-free data to perform tasks more efficiently and with the utmost accuracy.

Processing complex documents
Companies resort to the assistance of RPA services to process complex documents and untapped unstructured/semi-structured data without missing out on granular information. By using deep learning algorithms, documents are processed, classified, and insights extracted faster, which is beyond the capacity of any human employee.


Employees can automate everyday tasks with contextual assistance captured by RPA bots. The latter work as a digital assistant for employees, helping them improve their work speed, productivity, and efficiency.

In order for organizations to complete their digital transformation journey, they need automation support in some form or other. They can take the first strategic step towards the common objective by leveraging RPA services and implementing basic automation in time-intensive processes. Once employees are freed from tasks that consume most of their productive hours, they can contribute better to chasing more ambitious automation goals for their organization.

Why are enterprises embracing supply chain digitization?

To make up for the lost time and investments and reach the pre-pandemic growth level, companies need to balance operational efficiency and cost with better supply chain resilience through a supply chain digitization model in their business processes.

According to a Gartner survey, just 21% of respondents said that they currently have a very resilient network, which suggests good responsiveness and visibility to quickly shift sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution activities around. It also indicates that boosting resilience will be a precedence for the majority of firms as they recover from the existing crunches. Resilience can be increased by steps such as alternative factories, dual sourcing, and more generous safety stocks.

However, balancing resiliency and efficiency is a tough ask in most cases as enhanced resilience goes hand in hand with supplementary costs. Hence, it is apt for supply chain leaders to embrace digitization in supply chain to develop superior resilience within their networks.

How is a digital supply chain approach different from a traditional one?

With technology advancing and revenue pressures rising, companies are transitioning from traditional supply chains to digital supply chains. However, the benefits of digital supply chain management continue to develop and expand in most industries.

In traditional supply chains, analysis provides insights to make the correct decision based on a responsive approach. This step includes an assessment of the current stock levels in the organization and past production requirements to identify promptly the needs of the incoming supply of components. Also, external data like distributor stock levels and delivery dates have to be curated physically, affecting the costs, and impacting the data relevance.

On the other hand, in a digital supply chain, purchasers can make timely decisions with the assistance of real-time data that provides accurate insights. However, these decisions are taken by utilizing a supply chain management platform such as TradeEdge, which gives an all-inclusive view of the supply chain that can empower businesses to make more timely and accurate procuring decisions.

However, to generate better visibility, faster payment, and cheaper options, the digital supply chain has made the traditional supply chain even more effective due to lateral information sharing and cross-functional involvement.

A traditional supply chain enables firms to know where the shipment has been according to information from the courier. Currently, the authentic location of a shipment is obtainable, at times, through GPS technology.

What is supply chain digitization, and how does supply chain digitization work?

Supply chain digitization is substituting the identified manual or analog processes throughout the e-commerce supply chain by implementing digital solutions. Hence, digitization in supply chain management includes the application of innovative and groundbreaking digital products and services into various supply chain channels to modernize and simplify processes, increase management, and boost visibility.

The digitization of supply chain is a transformational process with an emphasis on integrating digital technology solutions into various supply chain activities. Essentially, digitization enables companies to optimize supply chains by tackling the key challenges and bringing about a supply chain 4.0, which is much faster and more accurate, cost-effective, and adaptable.

Though the particulars fluctuate from business to business, digitization in supply chain works mainly around three core domains which are:

Why is supply chain digitization important?

Most companies are still scrambling to sustain the flow of products, finances, and information in the supply chain, as disruptions can no longer be deemed as isolated events. Not too long ago, logistics ran on a traditional model (paper) that led to uncalled errors, , and thus the industry is moving towards supply chain digitization in the logistics domain as well. Companies that were not keen on automation are beginning to invest in technology solutions, focusing on resilience and agility to sustain unexpected disruptions.

Post-pandemic, businesses have been confronting volatile out-of-stock situations, abandoned trucks, and a visibility dearth within their supply chains. Also, with the modern-day supply chain posing a multitude of new challenges to cope with rising costs and the difficulties caused by new sales and distribution channels, the companies are finding it tough to oversee the operations competently. Subsequently, it is imperative to enhance the demand and distribution visibility, incorporate new channels, and customize the control process over speed and quality of delivery in the first and last miles of the supply chain.

Following this, productivity can be improved by deploying technologies to facilitate collective execution by combining processes across the shipper and vendor firm to provide end-to-end visibility and procure improved control through transactional execution. Thus, with digitization in supply chain, companies can better align their core resources to continue operations without hiccups to steer through the disruptions.

Bigger companies should endorse the idea of digitization while startups must facilitate new business for smaller firms and the messy processes of supply chain through cloud-based solutions. This two-way approach will only fast-track the digitization in supply management that will streamline the process for a collective execution between the parties involved, thus these initiatives leading to cost reduction.

Some common pitfalls supply chain companies can avoid:

Benefits of supply chain digitization

Quicker demand forecast: In order to provide a quicker and more precise customer demand forecast,, predictive analytics utilize the internal data (demand), external data (comprising market trends, weather, etc.), along with machine status data for the spare-parts demand.

More adaptable: Real-time planning enables companies to react flexibly to the shifting supply and demand. Also, real-time production volume data from machines help businesses to react energetically to the moving requirements or constraints.

More precise: Digital operations provide real-time, end-to-end clarity through the supply chain by applying AI and machine learning to automatically detect risks and exceptions that change the supply chain dynamics. With these resources, the systems can deal with a majority of decisions without the intervention of humans.

More efficient: Strategic planning and automation enhance supply chain efficiency. For instance, robots are handle the warehouse process from receiving phase and unloading to the packing and shipping stage.

Automation prospects: Lowering manual tasks curtails the burden of clerical work, thus freeing the staff from repetitive tasks and enabling them to focus on more value-added tasks.  Automation also lessens human error; thus, the revenue lost can be gained by fixing those errors and speeding up the process of invoicing, leading to quicker payments.

Builds cohesive and connected processes: Digitizing the supply chain generates more opportunities for connecting the contrasting systems, thus allowing communication across the entire company, and creating a single source of authentic information.

Using data for decision-making: According to Gartner, 25% of supply chain decisions will be made across intelligent edge ecosystems through 2025. Decisions need to be made quickly, and agility is vital in the transportation and logistics industry. A digitized supply chain enables gathering and analyzing an immense amount of data with less effort and time than analog systems.

What are the current trends of supply chain digitization?

Digital twins: ‘supply chain digital twin’ implies a virtual simulation model of a real supply chain that enables a company to analyze the detailed performance and efficiency of a supply chain and forecast how it will function in the future. Smart digital twin prototypes offer real-time and actionable insights into both planned and accomplished work and sales orders, supply and demand, value chains, product life cycles, and more.

With digital twins, companies can create a distinct picture of their internal and external business operations. Through this, the involved firms can reimagine what the complete supply chain cycle could look like, and thus the technology can improve communication across processes.

Democratization of technology: Technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and big data offer a full range of abilities to all the participants within a supply chain network without exception. Consequently, tech-democratization unravels the potential of the staff, making them a core component of the digitization effort. Thus, the staff can select the workflows that can be automated, thus allowing them to focus on more value-added tasks.

Introduction of multiparty systems: The pandemic compelled companies to redesign their supply chain communications and partnerships model. Hence the role of supply chain collaboration became significant, leading to an increase in sales.

Multiparty systems enable individuals and companies to take advantage of the shared data infrastructure, efficiently work, and share data in a single unified ecosystem. These systems include distributed ledger, blockchain, database, and tokenization. With multiparty systems, supply chains firms can inculcate better resilience and flexibility, get new approaches to serve their customers and the market.


Organizations have recently realized the importance supply chain digitization in business processes and are therefore turning implementing technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), and big data rampantly in the present digitized global marketplace. A prediction by Gartner suggests that over 75% of commercial supply chain management application vendors will provide embedded advanced analytics (AA), artificial intelligence and data science by 2026.

Hence, it is quite apparent now that companies have realized the significance of digitization in supply chain and have subsequently begun to incorporate such solutions that can add value at multiple levels of the supply chain in the future.

Document automation in KYC process

Industries like finance and banking deal with a pile of paper documents of customers that they have to process daily for specific tasks, like KYC documentation.

Financial institutions usually spend an average of USD 150 million yearly on KYC operations. But many struggles with inefficient and ineffective delivery centers. And non-compliance fines are on the rise. Given the present crisis, automated document processing leverages AI and ML capabilities, along with OCR and Computer Vision technology, to convert paper-intensive industries into digital enterprises. As mentioned, the banking and financial industry is one of the ideal candidates alongside healthcare and others, where extensive documentation dominates the core operations.

Automated document processing – definition and purpose

Document processing automation captures various granular components present in a document with the help of tech-enabled features that don’t require human intervention. It converts manual files and analog data into a machine-readable digital format and is ready for integration into day-to-day business processes. With the help of automated document processing software, enterprises can digitally replicate the paper document’s structure, layout, text, and images, reducing time and labor-intensive recurring workflows, alongside manual errors that might prove costly.

Automated document processing benefits

Intelligent document processing benefits enterprises immensely in terms of increased productivity, faster document retrieval, more accuracy, reduced manual efforts, and many more.

Increases team productivity: When teams spend less time on repetitive long-haul tasks, they can contribute more to value-added services. This is because they are free from mundane workflows and perform other tasks more efficiently, resulting in improved productivity.

Increases process efficiency: Document automation can make processes more efficient by omitting time and error-intensive factors. Document processing takes place in seconds, reducing execution time and increasing process efficiency.

Eliminates manual effort: Handling bulk documents is a labor-intensive task that consumes a lot of productive hours of the team. With adequate software solutions powered by AI and automation, manual efforts can be eliminated from the process.

Enhances data accuracy: Documenting data or extracting granular insights are subjected to errors when addressed manually, which can impair effective decision-making. Automated document processing can improve data extraction accuracy and presents the actual scenario.

Automates document classification: The ability to auto-classify documents into distinct categories helps enterprises to organize business documents. Moreover, the whole process can take place without human interference.

Enhances compliance: Organizations can easily streamline compliance processes by auto-extraction and classification of document data as per predefined criteria. As a result, compliance-related information is accurately and consistently captured minus the labor and time associated with them.

Processes more significant documents faster: Unlike manual tasks, automation can process large volumes of documents in comparatively lesser time, thus, saving valuable time and labor.

Elevates customer satisfaction: Expert data extraction from bulk documents allows businesses to make data-driven decisions to deliver enhanced customer service and experience.

Improves data security: By eliminating human involvement from paper-intensive processes, intelligent document processing software safeguards the company’s confidential data. It restricts unauthorized access and ensures the utmost security of enterprise documents.

Creates a flexible organization: By allowing custom workflows and document management systems, document automation can increase document processing flexibility for an organization. The capacity to drive paper-intensive processes effortlessly improves a firm’s agility and flexibility.

Importance of document processing in the banking sector

Banks and financial institutions handle sensitive client data on a daily basis. Any security breach can result in data theft, placing the organization in serious trouble. Hence, protecting private and corporate financial and other sensitive information should be a top priority. Banks are always vulnerable to such threats, but many of those threats can be handled with an effective document management system following a robust security measure.

A paperless solution helps banks and financial institutions de-clutter their offices and keeps a trustable backup of important information in a protective safe. A digital copy is better protected from damage, loss, or theft. And such documents can be easily accessed as and when needed without having to spend hours shuffling through dust-covered physical files.

Automated document processing can help banks and other institutions easily take care of all the above-mentioned requirements. In addition, such intelligent platforms are secure, user-friendly, effective, and cost-efficient. This means you need fewer human hands doing the same tasks repeatedly.

Document automation in banking – a few use cases

Banks are embracing new-age technology solutions to redefine customer interactions, improve data storage and processing, and increase access and connectivity. Among such high-end solutions, automated document processing has proved to be a blessing in disguise. First and foremost, document automation uncovers previously unrealized opportunities by improving the process of managing documents and generating insights from vast troves of data.

Since the financial sector is document-heavy, automation and AI can play a significant role beyond processing and digitizing enterprise documents. Here are a few use cases for automated document processing to consider:

KYC, or know-your-customer, is a vital banking process for onboarding new customers. It involves handling customer identification, financial statements, and other related personal documents and verifying their authenticity and eligibility. KYC is a long-haul but essential process and covers everything – from validating their credit score to auto-integrating their data with enterprise systems. Since a lot of paperwork is involved, there is a high chance of untimely delays and human errors. That makes the KYC process a perfect candidate for improvement with automated document processing.

Challenges of KYC processes

As mentioned, the document and the data-heavy KYC process are challenging for banking employees. Time is an essential factor that can make or break a customer’s banking experience. And a typical KYC client refresh consumes 1200 minutes for a financial institution. But client profiling and validating consume more than a few hundred minutes. The process is not cost-efficient or capital-intensive. Customer outreach and data acquisition are two crucial areas that add to the processing delay; if not executed carefully can increase the risk of fraudulent activities. Therefore, the common challenges surrounding the KYC process could be summed up in the following points:

How automated document processing is enabling the transformation of KYC workflows?

Since documents are the critical, challenging factor giving rise to all issues surrounding KYC, automation can only prove to be the best bet for banking employees. Automated document processing takes the paper factor out of the process, creating a streamlined, digital workflow that is convenient for customers and bank staff.

The lengthy task of gathering and validating customer information is cut short by many hours, relieving all of the long-haul burden and addressing operational costs associated with it. Moreover, collecting, entering, and verifying data is a recurring task taking place every time a new customer is onboarded. As a result, Back-and-forth communication is no longer required, and customer queries are addressed 24 x7. So unnecessary delays are removed, and customers are kept engaged, which, in turn, reduces onboarding abandon rates.

Moreover, geographical constraints will also not pose a challenge in KYC automation. Further, customers today prefer digital over in-person interactions. Carrying out due diligence under the changed circumstances will not pose any issue with automated document processing. Bank staff can verify the authenticity of documents submitted instantly and more accurately.

Automated document processing has effectively helped enterprises handle the cumbersome document management task. Document-intensive industries like banking and finance stand to benefit from the intelligent solution. Automating KYC documents is just one example but a critical use case. There are other areas where document automation can make a difference, a few of which are mentioned above. Powered by AI capabilities, these platforms can help enterprises to realize their objective of digital transformation at scale effortlessly.

E-commerce supply chain management: An effective guide

The global e-commerce market sales is expected to reach 8.5 trillion by 2025. The rise in power of e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon and the blend of advanced technologies like chatbots, AR, AI, and Big Data are some of the few examples of ongoing E-commerce trends that serve one objective – building incredible customer experiences. From a business perspective, e-commerce shortens product lifecycles, which significantly impacts supply chain management. Following the global health crisis, the heightened demand for online retail necessitates agile, adaptable, and innovative e-commerce supply chains to quickly and efficiently deliver products to customers in the shortest time possible.

E-commerce supply chain – an overview of challenges and opportunities

The e-commerce supply chain is a network of processes involved in moving products from the manufacturing facility to the buyer’s desired shipping location. Customers prefer delivery of ordered items on time. And to accommodate that, e-retailers need to have a proper infrastructure in place and the required personnel to deliver goods on time. This is where e-commerce ventures struggle and the challenges can be categorized into four segments:

However, with the advent of new technology solutions, e-commerce owners are finding ways to address the above-mentioned challenges. A few examples of such innovation would be manufacturing and distributing items geographically closer to the end user, circumnavigating physical store locations to ship goods directly from fulfillment centers to customers, and omnichannel sales and marketing for a unified customer experience across all channels. These new approaches will, in turn, significantly reduce the E-commerce supply chain but present ample opportunities for encashment.

What matters for a successful e-commerce supply chain management?

Even though brick-and-mortar retail sales increased by 13% in 2022, online purchases continue gaining traction alongside physical stores. That places a lot of pressure on the owners to match up with the rising demands for e-retail shopping. But what does it mean for e-commerce supply chains?

To answer the question, e-commerce suppliers and distributors face tremendous pressure to meet buyer expectations for one-day delivery. And since the online market is spoiled for choices having multiple e-stores selling similar products, lowering the expected delivery date is one of the critical factors to staying ahead of the competition. The concept of a just-in-time delivery model arises from the need to accommodate one-day delivery and prevent unnecessary inventory stockpiling and overhead storage and warehousing costs. Proper inventory management, increased mobility and visibility of storage, seamless picking and packing, and adequate transportation are key factors defining a successful eCommerce supply chain management.

What is e-commerce supply chain management?

ECommerce supply chain management focuses on the seamless procurement of raw materials cost-efficiently, manufacturing items in the required quantity and quality, and distributing them at the right time. And the whole concept comprises functions such as managing supply can demand, tracking inventory, warehousing, order entry, and management, distribution, and delivery to end users.

Benefits of supply chain management in e-commerce

Ensuring stock availability: For an E-commerce enterprise, the end goal is to deliver products to customers within a stipulated time. To meet this requirement, the former must maintain a regular flow of stock available to ship to customers following order placements. Owners can either source from other manufacturers or support an in-house production team to manufacture the required quantities.

Planning strategic shipment of goods: Shipping final goods to customers requires much planning beforehand. Therefore, it is advisable to plan ahead to ensure the smooth processing of customer orders. And the strategic shipment of goods forms an integral part of eCommerce supply chain management.

Maximizing order fulfillment: An e-commerce business should aim to increase the number of orders fulfilled daily. And that is the ultimate objective of eCommerce supply chain management.  Ensuring every customer’s order is fulfilled is possible only when the above-mentioned objectives are duly met.

Meeting delivery targets: The promise of convenient delivery on time differentiates an E-commerce business from its brick-and-mortar store. And the latter has to keep up with the same promise. Hence, delivery targets are decided and are based on the number of orders fulfilled, pin codes serviced, and accuracy of delivery information shared with customers.

Adapting to market trends: An efficient e-commerce business is constantly evolving. And its supply chain management entails owners staying up-to-date with what competitors are offering and what customers demand. This allows for maintaining an agile and flexible E-commerce supply chain that keeps owners a few steps ahead of their competitors.

Ensuring transparency of operations: Supply chain management offers complete visibility of orders and their various stages of fulfillment. From supply and production to warehousing and distribution, owners should be able to track every movement of all processes, and customers should be able to see the movement of orders, from ordering to shipping.

Enhancing CRM: All of the above-mentioned points boil down to one crucial aspect – maintaining healthy buyer relations. And e-commerce supply chain management is directly connected to customer relationship management. SCM oversees the timely delivery of goods and fulfilling buyer requirements, which in turn serves to keep customers happy. In order to enhance CRM, the business should stay attuned to changes in various demands of the products and services. With an integrated eCommerce supply chain, companies can easily keep up with users’ requirements and feedback directly.

Reducing overhead costs: A fully optimized e-commerce supply chain aims to eliminate various intermediary stages of distribution, retailers, and many more. This is being done to reduce unnecessary overhead costs and streamline the whole process.

Adopting omnichannel practices: An omnichannel e-commerce approach can deliver stellar customer engagement. It creates various customer touchpoints, much to the convenience of the end users. A well-structured eCommerce SCM facilitating omnichannel engagement provides higher customer satisfaction.

The five key stages in the e-commerce supply chain

Planning: Here, data is collected from various touchpoints in the supply chain and evaluated to determine the inventory needed to meet market demands.

Sourcing: In the e-commerce supply chain, the suppliers and vendors play an influential role in helping e-retailers aptly meet customer needs. They supply the necessary raw materials, semi or finished goods for completing the following stages.

Manufacturing: The manufacturing stage is also crucial for businesses producing their goods. Here the raw materials are converted into finished items matching the quality expectation of buyers. However, those who outsource inventories from other suppliers can skip the stage and straightaway arrange for the goods delivery as per orders.

Delivering: Here, shipping and logistics are primary players, ensuring the timely delivery of goods in the right conditions to end users.

Handling returns: Also known as reverse logistics, this stage involves processing returned goods from customers and recalling damaged or expired items from warehouses back to suppliers.

Key metrics to track e-commerce supply chain

Inventory turnover: It reflects how efficiently an organization can move its inventories over a given period of time. This metric highlights the inefficiencies of E-commerce supply chains and their buying practices and helps gauge the actual demand for one or all of its products.

Perfect order rate: This metric measures the company’s ability to complete the delivery of orders without facing any issues. The ratio of perfect order completion to total orders received reflects the supply chain’s in-house operational efficiency and agility.

Inventory accuracy: A regular comparison of physical inventories stored in the warehouse to the numbers shown on the database prevents unexpected surges in inventory or logistic costs and backorders.

Shipment time: For the e-commerce supply chain, shipment time is essential. Delayed delivery can impact the brand reputation since the success of an online business is directly connected with timely and safe deliveries.

Reasons for returns: This metric provides valuable customer insights into what they want. This is measured against the products delivered to them to understand the gaps in the process.

Cash-to-cash cycle time: This valuable KPI measures the time difference between when a business pays its suppliers to purchase inventory and when it receives money from its customers in exchange for goods sold. It estimates the cash required to fund day-to-day operations and highlights the overall funding needs of the business.

Ten strategies to improve supply chains for e-commerce businesses

By optimizing your e-commerce supply chain, you are implementing the best strategies to maximize sales and revenue. And to achieve the mentioned objective, you have to ensure that you are selling the right items at the appropriate time and to the right audience.

There are a few helpful tips to improve the proper functioning of your -commerce supply chain:

The future scope of e-commerce supply chains

The evolving demands of customers and the rising volatility of markets will continue to pressure ventures to look for more agile and flexible supply chains powered by technology. The future is hard to predict. But with the direction in which the market is heading, there will be more intricate challenges to overcome, followed by increasing market competition. Agility and flexibility will be the critical criteria for e-commerce businesses to ride the changing tides successfully.

Demand forecasting: The pivotal success factor in F&B supply chains

The food and beverage industry (F&B) comprises organizations that process raw food materials, package and distribute them to various centers. Its product line includes fresh, prepared, and packaged food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Following the pandemic, the e-commerce sector dealing with food and beverages gained considerable traction. As a result, the industry grew by over 500 billion compared to the previous year. However, it did face a major setback during the COVID pandemic and the recent economic meltdown. In order for them to attract more customers and increase profit margins, F&B companies need to rely on accurate demand forecasting methods to timely predict changing customer purchasing behaviors.

Key market trends for the F&B industry for demand forecasting

The food and beverage industry has transformed dramatically since the global health crisis hit the world. The pandemic triggered a shift in buyers’ consumption patterns towards packaged and organic goods. Given the historical records, affordable comfort foods usually thrive in stress-induced conditions, so also convenient purchases like online buying. Even though other industries have already made inroads, the F&B industry is just emerging as a digital staple. But to predict the change and prepare aforehand raise the importance of efficient demand forecasting methods in place, allowing companies to change their product line in time to meet demand with adequate supply.

Unfortunately, legacy methods of forecasting demand fell short of meeting the sudden upsurge in panic buying during the initial phase of the pandemic lockdown. Nevertheless, the inventory shortage was an eye-opening phase, compelling F&B companies to turn to tech-enabled demand forecasting methods.

Current challenges faced by the F&B industry supply chain

Changing customer purchasing behavior is just a fraction of the major challenges faced by F&B companies today. And much of it originates in their supply chain. The food supply chain is an intricate network of producers, manufacturers, distributors, logistics providers, and other parties. They work under relentless pressure to get products to the market – quickly, safely, and in the best possible conditions. And the whole network is troubled by critical challenges, namely:

Poor food shipping traceability: The ability to track the food product through all supply chain stages is now a customer demand rather than a request. Knowledgeable buyers want to know where the products/ingredients are sourced from. Such information can bridge the brand integrity and loyalty gap.

Communication silos: Since each sector in the food and beverage supply chain work separately, communication silos are an everyday reality. Poor communication can create challenging hurdles such as delays in moving products, unavailability of certain ingredients, food contamination and spoilage due to poor transportation and distribution. And a single missed deadline can create a domino effect, and customers have to bear the brunt.

Order complexity: Food and beverage orders are no longer simple as they used to be. Courtesy of changing consumers’ buying preferences, demand for a broader range of options, driven by various trends and some health concerns, is increasing.

Supply chain costs: Maintaining a massive network of suppliers and distributors adds to the overhead expenses for F&B companies. That inadvertently reflects on the actual price of the end product. The challenge is to find alternate sources at reasonable rates to prevent loss of business.

Changing regulations: Regulations are drawn to protect customers. But they do increase costs and inconvenience for companies.

Competitive market: Last but not least, the F&B market is spoiled for choices, with new products entering the market every day. With so many cheaper alternatives available, surviving becomes a daily challenge for F&B companies. And they need to be prepared to stay ahead of their competitors.

Most of the above-mentioned challenges can be addressed with tech-enabled demand forecasting and efficient supply chain management solutions.

The importance of accurate demand forecasting in the F&B industry

Demand fluctuations dominate the food and beverage (F&B) industry. For instance, an F&B company dealing with perishable goods must project accurate inventory to meet demand since their food items have a limited shelf life. As a result, there are risks of overstocking goods that can’t leave the shelf before they exceed their life span. Furthermore, when the supply of goods does not align with consumer demand, companies suffer from time, money, and resource wastage.

Demand forecasting based on real-time insights captured from internal and external sources can improve projection accuracy significantly.

Accurate forecasting of upcoming demand helps F&B companies to match their inventories accordingly and make informed decisions about pricing, market potential, and business growth strategies. It evaluates various influential factors like upcoming demand, market change, supply shortages, or disruption in the distribution channels to make apt estimations. This prevents stockpiling or inventory wastage situations for the industry.

What is demand forecasting, and how does it help the efficient functioning of supply chains?

Demand forecasting involves using predictive analytics to evaluate historical data and estimate customers’ future demand for a product or service. As stated earlier, it helps businesses make informed supply decisions by estimating the total sales and revenue for a given period.

Demand forecasting plays a pivotal role in effective supply chain management as it ensures timely replenishment of stocks, enhances capacity management, and fosters optimal sales and revenue. Demand forecasting also improves decision-making and accelerates prospective plans for growth and expansion, enabling the production of the required quantity of inventories within the stipulated time to prevent resource or stock wastage.

It is critical for advanced supply chain planning and inventory management so that manufacturers can determine the number of ingredients required to meet demand. Furthermore, data and insights captured during forecasting immunize companies from future uncertainties, delays, and fluctuations in demand. Besides, F&B companies dealing with multiple items can adequately allocate ingredients and resources for the production of items depending upon their individual demand. Hence, information on demand for each product is necessary as it helps prevent stockout situations, missed customer orders, poor service levels, and loss of business.

Improving demand forecasting with new-age technology

It is quite hard to predict the future demand for products. Just like the global pandemic, which resulted in unprecedented challenges for all, external factors influencing customer buying behavior are hard to estimate even before they occur. Global economic meltdown, rising inflation, and ongoing war are unpredictable elements that can disrupt every industry worldwide. In addition, companies increasingly rely on global supply chains to ensure a steady flow of required items at lower prices. And one disruption at a supplier end can be a significant roadblock for the company. Therefore, demand forecasting should not only predict customer demand for goods but also provide adequate information about what is happening at the supplier-distributor end or what can happen in the coming days.

Many industries are gradually shifting towards more tech-enabled efficient demand forecasting solutions to get an accurate picture of the future. For instance, Machine Learning (ML) is one technology capable of adapting to changing market conditions. When ML capability is integrated into demand forecasting software, the accuracy level of predictions increases manifold. The Internet of Things (IoT) is another powerful tool that works with demand forecasting to notice any shift in buying patterns or the market/industry. Demand forecasting powered by intelligent technology allows:


AI-enabled demand forecasting is a pivotal success factor, especially for the food and beverage industry. As stated, it prevents unnecessary wastage of resources and ensures a steady supply of inventories to meet demand, regardless of market disruptions or a sudden surge in demand for other items. Moreover, since the whole industry is embarking on a radical transformation, innovative demand forecasting solutions are needed more than ever to survive the market competition and stay ahead of the curve.

What are the key steps to strategic supply chain planning?

The pandemic impacted global supply chains, underlining the associated risks and resiliency gaps for most companies.  However, as the effects of the pandemic continue to affect the global supply chain, the question is how should the companies seek to build resilience within their supply chains going forward? This is where the role of strategic supply chain planning comes in.

Current state of supply chains

Although the pandemic continues to disrupt the supply chain landscape with new and unanticipated obstacles to productivity and profitability, some organizations are combating the volatility by making sales through inventory and focusing on their working capital.

Global suppliers and manufacturers have largely been put to the test, thus confronting immense stock shortages, shipping delays, and prolonged backorders on their most profitable inventory items. Research by Gartner suggests that 50% of supply chain companies will invest in applications that support AI and advanced analytics capabilities through 2024.

Here are some of the current global supply chain challenges.

What do you mean by supply chain planning and why is it important?

Supply chain planning is the practice of anticipating the future demand for goods and arranging for materials and other components for timely production, marketing, distribution, and sales. It balances supply and demand to scale sales and revenue opportunities for businesses cost-effectively. The core objective of this planning is to optimize the overall performance of the supply chain to achieve desired levels of cost, service, and sustainability.

As customer demands are shifting, a well-established supply chain execution strategy is essential to design a company’s short and long-term business plan to build agile, resilient, and adaptable supply chains. An efficient supply chain planning strategy can help companies to reduce costs, enhance customer service, and strengthen business targets, besides assisting stakeholders to understand historical data and inventory status.

Supply chain and procurement stakeholders must deal with many unpleasant surprises, such as rising supply chain costs, raw material shortages, transportation strikes, and natural disasters. However, the effect of these shocks can be curtailed through competent supply chain planning.

Steps for strategic planning for supply chain

Benefits of supply chain planning process

Helps realize the historical data: To ensure that their goals are achieved, companies must understand where they have been in the past. This infers that an organization should determine amount of raw materials from the suppliers and the cost of the previous year. The supply chain firm needs to assess the reliability of the suppliers in terms of promised price and on-time delivery and find out the discrepancies in the last year.

Helps in knowing inventory status: To meet customer demand at a viable profit, every firm needs to be aware of their completed inventory or their raw materials in the supply chain. For identifying this, platforms like TradeEdge can be utilized that enable businesses to find out the exact location of their current inventory stock by communicating with vendors in real-time.

Adapt to shifting customer demands: Companies need to be able to identify fluctuations in prices, delivery, and customer demand promptly to generate profits. With the technologies evolving rapidly, organizations with a supply chain strategy can make active adjustments per their cloud-based systems’ daily report.

Adapt to changes in internal product design and management: Innovative products must be manufactured at an appropriate cost for a company to be beneficial. By applying an efficient supply chain strategy, the designs can be optimized for manufacturing and long-term supply levels.

Other key benefits include:


A strategic approach to supply chain planning can help organizations stay ahead of market competition. It is a tactical business strategy that optimizes the manufacturing and delivery of goods on time, effectively meeting customer requirements. In addition, data-driven supply chain planning lowers production costs, mitigates possible risks, increases sales, and effectively manages relationships with suppliers and vendors.