How to Extract Data from Bill of Lading? BoL Data Extraction

Picture of Ashutosh Saitwal
Ashutosh Saitwal

Founder CEO - KlearStack AI

How to Extract Data from Bill of Lading?

Table of Contents

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A Bill of Lading (BoL) is a legal document that contains vital information about the goods being shipped, the parties involved, and the terms of shipment. It also has signatures from all the parties, making it an important document of the transaction in logistics.

Logistics and supply chain companies like yours deal with hundreds and thousands of bills of lading every day.

The process of extracting data from bills of lading is error-prone and time-consuming. One human error, and we can see you lose thousands of dollars in claims. We hope you don’t want that, and that’s why you are here.

This blog will help you understand how to extract data from bill of lading.

What is Bill of Lading Data Extraction?

Bill of Lading data extraction is a process in which data is extracted from the BoL and recorded in the system for further processing. Since the document is of legal significance, all its details must be entered carefully, ensuring there are no errors.

There are two ways to record the data in the system:

  1. Manual
  2. Automation Tools

Let’s understand the difference between both ways. Once the difference is clear, you can choose the best way to extract your data from the bill of lading database.

Manual vs Automated Bill of Lading Data Extraction

Manual vs Automated Bill of Lading Data Extraction

Key Data Fields of a Bill of Lading That Need to Be Extracted

Here are the essential fields of a bill of lading that must be extracted to ensure accurate and efficient shipment processing.

  1. Shipment Identification: PO Number (Purchase Order Number), Shipment Number, Container N°, and Seal N°
  2. Shipper and Consignee Details: Shipper Name, Shipper Address, Ship-To-Party Name, and Ship-To-Party Address
  3. Goods Description and Measurements: Description of Goods, N° Of Packages, Measurement, Measurement Unit, Weight in Kg/ Weight in lb, Total Gross Weight, Unit Weight, HS Code (Harmonized System Codes)
  4. Container Information: Container Type, Total Number of Containers
  5. Financial and Sales Details: Proforma Invoice’s Date, Freight, Freight Charges Payable, and Sales Condition
  6. Dates and Locations: Shipped on Board Date, Port of Loading, Place of Receipt, and Place of Delivery
  7. Documentary and Legal Information: Documentary Credit Number, LC Date of Issue, N° of Originals, and Signatory
  8. Freight Charges: Understanding shipment costs is essential for budgeting, billing, and auditing.

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How does Bill of Lading Data Extraction Software work?

Automation tools to extract data from bill of lading leverages technologies such as AI and ML along with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for capturing accurate information.

KlearStack is an intelligent document processing tool that extracts data from bills of lading with an accuracy of up to 99%. It captures the information from semi-structured or unstructured bills of lading and converts it into structured data.

This data can further be integrated into logistics management systems (LMS) and transportation management systems (TMS).

Here’s the step-by-step flow of how Bill of Lading OCR works.

6 steps to know how Bill of Lading OCR Works

1. Pre-processing

This is the initial step where the scanned or photographed BoL is made ready for processing. The quality of the image is made better by noise reduction and proper alignment to ensure there is better clarity.

2. Document Classification

The software classifies the document type based on the unique field in the document. In this case, the document type is Bill of Lading. Once the document is correctly identified, the tool applies set of rules pre-defined for each document type.

3. Automated Capture & Digitization

The next step is this where documents get converted into digital format with the help of OCR. OCR scans the document and generates a machine-readable text. This forms the base for further digital document processing

4. Intelligent Data Extraction and Analysis

Intelligent data extraction refers to the step where important details are extracted from the BoL. Machine Learning is used to identify the details to be extracted. Once identified, it is the data is analyzed and interpreted. In this stage, data is also checked for its completeness and accuracy.

5. Validation & Integration

After ensuring that the extracted data is accurate, it is validated further to make sure of its usability in other systems. Here the data is checked against the databases available.

It is made sure that the data meets the predefined rules and if any errors are found, those are flagged for review. Post validation, data is integrated into the ERP systems or accounting software.

6. RESTful API Integration

Through RESTful APIs, different logistics and transportation management systems can connect and integrate OCR capabilities via a uniform method. API integration leads to reduced human intervention as data gets transferred automatically.

Benefits of Using Automated Data Extraction from Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading Automated Data Extraction Benefits

1. Better Consistency and Reduced Errors:

The risk of human errors, such as typos or misinterpretations is reduced. Since the automated tools function of the pre-defined set of rules, consistency is maintained in data quality. All this is crucial for the accurate tracking and processing of shipments.

2. Improved Operational Efficiency:

Automated software uses AI and ML along with OCR for data extraction. All of these are highly advanced technologies and it speeds up processing. This allows for quicker turnaround times in processing shipping documents.

3. Cost Savings:

There is a reduction in labor costs as human intervention is reduced by the use of automated software. Also, due to the elimination of manual data entry, the cost incurred by human errors is reduced.

4. Better Compliance and Risk Management:

Since the BoL has legal significance, all the details have to be extracted with precision. Automated software accurately extracts the data and that helps in maintaining compliance with international trade regulations and customs requirements.

5. Scalability and Flexibility:

During the peak shipping season, BoLs are received in bulk. The highly sophisticated automated software can handle the high volumes efficiently. Therefore, there is no decline in performance ensuring maximum productivity. These software are also trained to extract data from different formats, which ensure smooth operations throughout without any glitches.

6. Security and Audit Trails:

Automated software handles sensitive shipment information securely. This reduces the risk of any breaches or unauthorized access to the data. All the extracted data is stored securely which supports audit requirements and enhances overall transparency.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Extract Data from Bill of Lading Using KlearStack

Step 1: Register/login to the software

Once you successfully register with KlearStack as a user, you will get access to the login credentials. Upon entering these, read the terms and conditions carefully, and tick the check box. After this, you can log in to the dashboard, where all the wonders of data extraction start!

Step-by-Step Guide to Extract Data from Bill of Lading Using KlearStack

Step 2: View the dashboard to upload the documents

Once logged in, you will see the dashboard from where different documents can be uploaded. From here, you can add and process various documents, including Bills of Lading, purchase orders, invoices, and over 12 other document types

KlearStack also has an excellent feature that allows bulk processing of the documents, which means you can upload multiple documents and it will process all of those simultaneously giving you speedy and meticulous results.

Click on the Bill of Lading section to proceed to the next step.

Guide to Extract Data from Bill of Lading Using KlearStack

Step 3: Upload the Bill of Lading

Click on the ‘Add new’ tab in the top right corner of the screen. KlearStack allows you to upload documents in different formats such as Electronic PDF, Word, Excel, JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, scanned PDF, and ZIP.

Extract Data from Bill of Lading Using KlearStack

Step 4: Select the number of pages and the business type

If your BoL has multiple pages, and you wish to process only a few of those with relevant information, then you can select the number of pages you wish to process from your BoL. KlearStack can process multiple pages at one go, relieving you of the task of uploading pages one by one. 

Also, here you have an option to select if the BoL is for a B2B or B2C transaction. This ensures better categorization and storage of your data and streamlines your further process of data collection when it comes to final reporting.

Extract Data from Bill of Lading

Step 5: View the added Bill of Lading

Your most recently uploaded Bill of Lading will appear on top. Uploaded documents with their extracted data appear here, providing a quick snapshot of all necessary information at any given time.

Step 6: Click to check the extracted data

For detailed information you can click on the uploaded Bill of Lading, you will see all the fields on one part of the screen and the uploaded BoL on the other. Here you can scroll and check all the data while comparing it with the BoL on the other side.

KLEARSTACK- Extract Data from Bill of Lading

Step 7: Verify the captured information

If you wish to understand where the information has been picked from, simply click on that particular field and it will get highlighted on the uploaded Bill of Lading. If the information is incorrect, you can edit it here. This will retrain the model for the future.

Step 8: Click on approve, once verified

Once you’ve verified the details are correct, click on “approve.” The models are trained to capture data quickly and accurately.

How to extract data from bill of ladding

Step 9: View the Bill of Lading on the dashboard

Once approved, go back to the dashboard and you will see your BoL there with the approval sign. Here you can see all the documents and data extraction done from each.

Extract Data from Bill of Lading Using KlearStack

Outstanding Features of KlearStack’s Bill of Lading OCR

Features of KlearStack's Bill of Lading Data Extraction Tool

1. Template-less Solution

Bill of Lading OCR by KlearStack offers a template-less solution. It is equipped to read different BoL designs and adapt to new formats. It can also extract data from any new BoL layout without the need for model retraining. This feature saves time and money which otherwise would have been spent on manual work.

2. Multi-lingual Support

KlearStack supports over 50 languages for data extraction purposes. This includes English, Hindi, Marathi, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and more. Due to the availability of this feature businesses that operate from different regions and have overseas transaction are greatly benefitted. The language barrier is reduced and the BoL is processed with standard accuracy.

3. Bulk Bill of Lading Processing

The software has a batch processing feature through which multiple Bills of Lading can be processed in one go.  This increases the speed of the entire process and eliminates the need to upload documents one by one.

4. Line-item Data Extraction 

In a BoL there are many critical items to be considered while recording. Line-item data extraction ensures that all the information such as names of the parties, quantities of goods, total amount, etc, are recorded. This detailed extraction helps to eliminate any causes of discrepancies between the amount paid and received goods.

5. Multi-page Data Extraction

Multi-page data extraction makes sure that all the pages are read carefully and data is extracted accurately from all the pages. This feature is essential for BoL as usually, the volume of items is high and details extend to multiple pages. It is ensured that no information is overlooked from these important details.

6. Straight-through Processing (STP)

With STP the processing of BL status gets automated entirely. Right from data extraction to payments, there is no need for manual intervention. The speed increases significantly, costs are reduced and the scope of errors is minimized to a great extent. This helps in efficient financial operations and better cash flow management.

7. Seamless Integration

The seamless integration into the financial management systems ensures that extracted data directly flows into the system. Due to this the manual intervention is reduced, and it leads to lesser risk of errors. It boosts productivity and accuracy.

8. Document Classification

This helps in classifying the document according to its relevant category. The model is trained to identify the documents BoL, Purchase order, invoice, etc., based on the content present. 

9. Automated Document Splitting

This feature provides to separate a BoL from other documents that may be attached to it such as an invoice or purchase order. This is useful for tasks like document categorization, where the content on each page needs to be analyzed independently.

10. Rich Document Audit Engine 

KlearStack’s document engine ensures that the extracted data complies with the rules that have been set up. All the extracted data is validated as per these rules and if any error is found, it is flagged for further review.

11. Rules-based workflows

This allows you to set rules for different documents based on specific criteria. Criteria coils include the name of the supplier, total value, a particular type of product, etc. As per these rules, the document is processed further. The information is sent to the team or members as per the rules workflow.

12. Self-learning AI

Self-learning AI keeps learning and adapting continuously. There is no need for programming and training again and again. This ensures better performance and results over time. 

Schedule a demo with us to know more!

KlearStack Demo Request

KlearStack offers an easy and efficient solution for your Bill of Lading data extraction needs. It ensures precise extraction of all your data, categorizing it appropriately for further use. Upload a BoL in any format, whether semi-structured or unstructured and take advantage of KlearStack’s support for over 50 languages. Our expertly trained models will extract your data seamlessly.

Curious about how KlearStack achieves this? We invite you to test our system in a demo with any BoL format, structured or unstructured, and experience KlearStack’s exceptional information processing capabilities. Simplify data extraction from documents with ease.

Yes, we’re ready to undertake this blind test.

FAQs

What data gets extracted from a Bill of Lading?

Key details such as shipment details, consignee and shipper information, item descriptions, quantities, and transport information get extracted from a Bill of Lading.

What is Bill of Lading data extraction?

The process of identifying and capturing relevant information from a Bill of Lading document is called data extraction from a Bill of Lading. 

What are the two types of data extraction?

Two types of data extraction methods are – manual and automated data extraction software.

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