Generating Quotes for Freight Services with Generative AI

    Key Takeaways

    When we think of a shipping company we imagine it to be an entity that transports manufactured goods from the point where they are manufactured to where they are to be transferred.

    Sounds pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it?

    But not quite!

    Shipping companies have a lot more on their plate than what is apparent!

    Tasks Performed by a Shipping Company:

    • Transportation of goods from one location to another.
    • Managing all logistics functions like scheduling shipments, tracking and coordinating their movement through different locations, etc.
    • Receiving, storing, and despatch of goods from the warehousing
    • Managing inventory.
    • Packing and labeling goods.
    • Managing all the paperwork and legalities involved in customs clearance.
    • They provide freight forwarding services that involve managing the transport of goods on behalf of the shippers.
    • Shipping companies monitor the movement of goods in real-time and provide updates to all stakeholders including customers while updating them about the status of delivery.

    Clients who need freight services may require modifications to the standard services. They may want some additional services or may not require certain services. For instance, they may have their own logistics provider and may not require logistics support. Aspects such as these complicate the process of quote generation.

    Shipping companies have to consider several factors while generating a quote for their services.

    Some of these factors include:

    • Transportation of goods
    • Managing all logistics functions
    • Receiving, storing, and despatch of goods from the warehousing
    • Managing inventory.
    • Packing and labeling goods.
    • Managing paperwork and legalities involved in customs clearance.
    • Freight forwarding services
    • Real-time tracking of shipment

    The quote will depend on these factors and the type of services required. The quote will also take into account other factors like the urgency of delivery, etc., For instance, perishable goods will need to be packaged in a certain way and shipped quickly.

    Needless to say, all these factors make the quote-generation process very tedious and time-consuming. Manual processes are slow and prone to errors. And, delayed deliveries and error-prone processes can lead to poor customer experience. This can tarnish the reputation of the shipping company.

    Automation technologies like RPA (Robotic Process Automation), Artificial Intelligence, and Generative AI can address the bottlenecks in legacy systems and streamline the quote generation process!

    Let us see how!

    RPA is an automation technology where bots can be programmed to perform rule-based tasks.

    RPA can streamline processes like:

    Entering shipment details like commodity description, weight, dimensions, quantities, pickup and delivery address, etc.

    Bots can also determine the best shipping options based on predefined criteria of cost, delivery, desired mode of transport, etc.

    Process rates of multiple carriers and compare them to identify the most suitable carrier.

    Automation of these tasks with the help of RPA makes the process accurate by eliminating human errors. Bots perform these tasks much faster than humans and so the speed of quote generation improves drastically. Higher speed and accuracy boost the customer experience.

    RPA also reduces the costs and increases the revenue of the shipping company. This is because RPA reduces the manpower required for low-skill tasks. It also reduces the infrastructure and operating costs. Due to the high speed of quote generation, the shipping company can generate more quotes in less time. Hence, they can cater to more clients which directly boosts their revenue.

    Traditionally the capabilities of RPA were limited to automating rule-based processes. However, in recent years technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), Generative AI, and more have been integrated into RPA to enhance its capabilities multifold. These technologies have made RPA intelligent leading to limitless capabilities.

    Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial Intelligence enhances the quote generation process by:

    AI algorithms accurately predict shipping quotes based on the analysis of historical shipping data, market trends, and other relevant data. Hence, they create more accurate quotes based on factors like weight, dimensions, quantity, locations, carrier cost, etc.

    Intelligent bots access real-time data of the prices from multiple carriers and process them instantaneously to provide quotes in a quick time.

    AI algorithms can identify the best modes of transportation, shipping routes, and carrier selection by analyzing real-time data thereby ensuring cost-effective and reliable quotes for clients.

    AI-powered platforms can also predict delays and disruptions and this data helps optimize the operations accordingly.

    Intelligent bots can identify suspicious activities and help prevent fraudulent activities in quote generation.

    AI algorithms analyze customer data to identify customer preferences, shipping patterns, etc., to customize the quotes according to the needs of the customer thereby boosting customer experience.

    Generative AI

    Generative is the newest technology that is revolutionizing the quote generation process for the shipping industry!

    What is Generative AI?

    Generative AI is an advanced form of artificial intelligence. Gen AI models are Large Language Models (LLMs) that are trained on vast volumes of data. This technology can generate content from nothing based on human prompts. Gen AI models mimic humans and generate human-like content based on human commands. They can work with both voice and text commands. They can generate content in different formats like text, audio, video, and image. Gen AI can also help users generate codes without programming knowledge. This technology has made inroads in almost every sector and is being extensively used for personal and professional applications.

    Generative AI is relevant for the shipping and logistics industry because it can create novel patterns and trends. It can anticipate unforeseen scenarios and offer solutions that it has not been programmed for!

    Generative AI has enhanced the quote generation process for shipping companies as well!

    In a highly competitive market, shipping companies need to augment their traditional quotation processes with innovative features. Generative AI helps to generate quotes with dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy that fine-tunes the pricing based on real-time insights about supply and demand. Gen AI gathers and analyzes data from multiple sources like transportation costs, demand trends, weather forecasts, carrier capacity, and more. Based on these datasets, Gen AI algorithms optimize carrier selection and load assignments that align with the market demands.

    To generate competitive quotes, the shipping company needs to match available loads with available carriers. Traditionally, the available carriers had to be searched manually and prices had to be negotiated. Hence, the process was slow and inefficient. However, generative AI automates the process of freight matching and provides real-time visibility into carrier availability and pricing.

    Generative AI analyzes customer data, transportation costs, inventory data, and competition data. Based on this comprehensive analysis, Gen Ai enables the shipping company to quote optimal rates while ensuring that these prices are competitive in the market.

    Aside from generating quotes, Generative AI enhances the shipping processes in different ways. Gen AI algorithms analyze data from various sources like GPS tracking devices, weather sensors, etc. Based on this data analysis they provide real-time updates on shipment locations, delivery times, and potential delays or disruptions. These insights help provide real-time visibility into the shipping process which helps boost customer experience.

    Case Study

    Auxiliobits, a leading automation solutions provider automated the quote generation process for a freight and logistics company.

    In their existing model, the company had manual systems for checking inquiries that were received through emails. These emails were segregated and quotations were prepared for individual clients. For preparing the quotations, the client had staff who manually compared the rates of different carriers. The staff had to prepare documents containing all the relevant details of the commodity such as its weight, dimensions, delivery/pickup locations, etc.

    Completing the entire process manually took several days. It also required the efforts of several team members. Besides, there were risks of missing out on details due to oversight, repeated entries, etc.

    The slow and error-prone process resulted in poor customer experience. Also, the business could cater to very few clients and was losing out on business opportunities.

    As part of the RPA initiative, it was proposed to automate a variety of

    processes including the Cargo Freight Quote Generation process that can add value and a quick ROI to the business. The automation process needs to be robust and effective so that it can save time and costs and allow the company to scale its operations without increasing the headcount or being dependent on it. It is proposed that the automation is carried out for defined processes one at a time.

    The client undertook business process automation to optimize, streamline, and make the freight quotation

    process more efficient.

    The whole objective of automation was to realize a great ROI, transform costs, improve profitability, increase efficiency, and thus employee and customer satisfaction.

    ROI Considerations:

    For the project to realize a Return on Investment the following heads were considered

    – Turnaround time for processing transactions.

    – Granular reports for human actions if anything failed. (Analytics)

    – Near 0% error rate for successful transactions where the bot reports a success.

    • Efficient human-in-the-loop implementation to fine-tune the bot.

    The following process was automated:-

    Client Email Cargo Quote Generation Response

    Process Input:

    1. Client email with cargo details.
    2. Email Access


    1) Read data from an email that requested for quotation. The email body and attachments will have the data for quotation.

    2) Fetch quotation from Systems API/UI

    3) Respond to the client’s email with a generated quotation PDF.

    The whole idea is to reduce the manual quotation generation process when a request is received.

    Besides reducing the manual quotation generation process, automation software provided a host of benefits:

    The quotations were dynamic as they were generated based on real-time data about supply and demand.

    The automated quotes were competitive as they were generated by considering the market rates.

    Automated quotes were free of errors and did not require repeated reviews and corrections.

    Automation helped the freight company generate accurate quotes in minimal time. This helped them scale their business by servicing more clients in specific times.

    Automation tools could compare different carriers based on their pricing structures and other parameters accurately and generate quotes for the best shipping solutions for the client.

    Automation also provided a single point of truth for all data which could be accessed by multiple stakeholders ensuring complete transparency.

    Overall the client (the freight and logistics company) could save on costs, and complete the quotation process faster with minimal errors. Automation also boosted the ROI for the client.

    If you are considering automating your quote generation process for your freight services, it is recommended that you work with a reliable automation partner.

    How Auxiliobits Can Help?

    Auxiliobits is a leading automation solutions provider. We have a team of domain experts who have an in-depth knowledge of the latest automation technologies. We provide consultancy services where we guide our clients in choosing the best automation tools for their business. We also provide automation solutions that can be customized according to the specific needs of your business. We have years of experience in the field of automation and have provided automation solutions to several clients across the globe!

    Call Us Now for Cost-effective Automation Solutions!

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