RPA robotic process automation for logistics

The client’s company is spreading its distributed network of contractors to the USA, Mexico, and European countries and needs a customized RPA solution to process a lot of logistics documentation.

Project background

Gartner expects the RPA software market to reach nearly $2 billion this year and expand at double-digit rates through 2024. Nearly 50% of organizations aim to implement RPA over the next year to combat COVID challenges, according to Forrester Consulting. 

In the post-pandemic era, even organizations that were slow to embrace automation are turning to RPA software as a quick, easy way to become more competitive and resilient without worrying about a big software project or system overhaul.

This RPA solution allows  automatically identifying such documents: invoice, bill of lading (BOL), proof of delivery (POD), carrier supplier confirmation, letter of carrier assignment (LOA), and letter of release (LOR), and extract the following information from them:

  • Invoice number​
  • Invoice amount​
  • Invoice date​
  • LDS number​
  • Supplier name​
  • Remit to​
  • QR code​
  • Logo
Duration
  • Sept 2020 – Ongoing
Location
  • Canada
Industry
  • Logistics
Technologies
  • Python
  • Angular
  • OpenCV
  • Tensorflow
  • PyTorch
  • NumPy
  • Neural Networks
  1. Dashboard Uploading PDFs on the Dashboard page
  2. Automatic pages identification Automatically identifying pages into the following categories: invoice, bill of lading (BOL), proof of delivery (POD), carrier supplier confirmation, letter of carrier assignment (LOA), and letter of release (LOR)
  3. Information extraction Extracting information from Invoices, BOL and POD identification
  4. Actions with documents Documents classification, required fields recognition, and text extraction
  5. Detection and recognition QR code recognition and reading, logo detection and recognition
  6. Ability to learn for system We gave our system the ability to learn when adding previously unknown types of documents and fields

Business needs

Every set of docs usually has from 10 up to 25 documents in different formats and languages. The customer company had a huge human staff to process these documents manually. In 2020, when the pandemic started, it became a necessity to reduce human staff to reasonable numbers and cut business costs with the help of RPA process automation.

The customer was interested in custom RPA solutions to handle high-volume, repetitive and time-consuming tasks with documents and emails that required a large human staff.

  • To improve the logistics document process, automate manual tasks, and reduce human staff.
  • To check the idea of automated document processing and find a good development team.
  • To increase the document processing speed. 
  • To achieve an end-to-end automated document processing system capable of self-training.
Solution

CHI Software delivered an RPA solution based on Machine Learning, Natural language processing, Computer Vision, and Optical Character Recognition. This solution replaces manual human labor in the general workflow.

  • The RPA process automation system allows to receive separate incoming logistics documents, upload one-page documents as scanned images, determine their type by checking the established set, extract text from predefined page fields, detect the signatures (if they are provided), recognize the QR codes, and compare data entered earlier in their system. In this case, the system returns them with a request/response, through the API.
  • This RPA robotic process automation solution also allows you to expand existing data (add new documents and recognizable fields to them, as well as edit existing documents).
  • We are also planning to make an application for sorting images of documents and extracting information from them. We will also create a service, hosted in Azure, for automatic reading and processing of email messages and a web application for sorting the results of processing.

Tech block

NLP stack: 

  • Transformers (XLM-RoBERTa, BERT) 
  • Custom training of transformer models with a custom loss function 
  • Embedding comparison algorithms 
  • Dimension reduction 
  • Data cleaning 

DRM stack:  

  • Virtual Machine Service (VM)   
  • Blob Storage 
  • Azure SQL Database  
  • App Service  
  • Service Bus  
  • Azure Functions 

CV & OCR stack (Torch, OpenCV, Sklearn):​

  • Tesseract OCR   ​
  • CRAFT (Text Detection model)​
  • Yolo (text-blocks detection)
  • Custom text blocks aggregation algorithm ​
  • General Image Processing​
  • QR code recognition
Client values
  1. We are currently working on an MVP development of the custom RPA solution that partially replaces manual human labor.
  2. We conducted a profound Discovery stage with several sessions and delivered a POC version.
  3. CHI development team trained the neural network to recognize and sort the defined list of documents.
  4. We created a system that can be easily updated with new document field or type.
  5. We made an ML pipeline both on servers and in the cloud.

Testimonials

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This RPA process automation project addresses a real business case of integrating intelligent processes into an existing system to increase efficiency. The use of Machine Learning models for solving applied CV and NLP problems significantly speeds up workflow and routine tasks and opens up new opportunities. As for me, it’s a step towards a fully automated industry, an opportunity to solve applied problems of language processing, overcome difficulties and search for solutions to problems. The prospects that the project opens are the improvement of skills in the professional field, presentation skills, quick response to emerging difficulties, and the ability to deal with them.

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Testimonial_Shatalov
Oleksii Shatalov ML Developer
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