In the logistics and transportation industry, time and cost are of the utmost importance. Shipping companies are constantly exploring various technologies to help improve shipping efficiency. On a daily basis, shipping companies must handles hundreds and sometimes thousands of documents. Unfortunately, in many cases archaic paper-based processes are still being employed which is resulting in a number of inefficiencies, delays and penalties.
One of the many documents that must be handled is an inspection certificate. In this article we will discuss what inspection certificates are, why they must be properly managed and how document management software such as eFileCabinet helps the freight industry manage these certificates.
What Are Inspection Certificates?
With the rapidly increasing global demand for goods, the cargo industry has been growing exponentially over the past few years. Containers have been the chosen method of transportation of goods in many ports worldwide. Due to the increase in the production of containers globally there has been a great increase in the requests for reliable container inspections.
Inspections are usually required to reduce the risk liability for shipping companies exporting goods by verifying the structural integrity of containers. Container inspection certification activities normally entail factory approval, design approval and specification reviews, prototype test attendance, certifications, and batch testing during mass production among other tasks and activities. Statutory and non-statutory activities include on-hire and off-hire inspections, owner’s acceptance inspections, and in-service inspections.
In addition to inspection of the container itself, another type of inspection common in the freight industry is the pre-inspection of shipping items. Pre-inspection inspections are normally required by the government of the importing country. The pre-inspection certificates are used to ensure that price charged by the exporter reflects the true value of the item being exported, prevent inferior goods from entering the country and minimize attempts to evade customs duties and taxes.
Being able to keep the documents secure and retrieve them at a moment’s notice is crucial to the success of any freight company.
Document Management and Inspection Certificates
Document management software such as eFileCabinet possesses a number of powerful functions and features that make them essential for shipping companies to properly manage their document and forms, especially inspection certificates. Let’s delve into how DMS such as eFileCabinet can be leveraged to improve overall efficiency, increase profitability, and help companies in the freight industry comply with international shipping standards.
In addition to being fully capable DMS, eFileCabinet also contains a powerful workflow module. eFileCabinet’s workflow capabilities make it possible to automate various tasks and processes in a predefined sequence according to a set of rules defined by the user. Obtaining inspection certificates require a great deal of back and forth movement of documents, making automated workflows a valuable feature in the freight industry.
An example of an automated workflow can be:
- The importer notifies the inspector or inspection company in the country of import of a pending shipment.
- An inspection order is forwarded to the inspector in the country of export.
- Once the inspection is completed and no issues are found, the final documents (Clean Report of Findings) are routed to relevant parties informing them of successful inspection.
- The importer is then able to easily retrieve the approved inspection certificate in order to get the imported goods cleared from customs.
By automating the workflow, parties are notified in an instant resulting in greatly reduced time for shipping and reduced risk of shipping complications.
Inspection certificates and be easily shared with customs officials, the consignee and business partners using eFileCabinet online. Inspection certificates can be accessed online by persons with authorized access. Additionally, inspection files can be accessed via mobile phone using eFileCabinet’s mobile app form anywhere in the world.
Inspection certificates are kept secure and confidential with eFileCabinet’s numerous security measures. Files stored on eFileCabinet Online are protected from prying eyes using 256-bit encryption and up-to-date SSL certification. Our data centers are also kept safe using a number of physical barriers and intrusion detection systems.
Lost inspection certificates can result in penalties and fines, so to add to online security all files are constantly backed up to ensure that inspection certificates can be retrieved in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, fires, theft, negligence and hard-drive failure.
With eFileCabinet’s electronic document management software, inspection certificates can be stored digitally in a clean, paperless environment. This eliminates the need for physical storage such as filing cabinets and drawers which can take up valuable office space.
Paperless storage also means that inspection certificates can be retrieved quickly and easily using eFileCabinet’s search function. Certificates can be searched either by document name or even keywords located in the document.
Inspection certificates are too important to the shipping industry to not have them managed effectively. To find out how eFileCabinet’s DMS solutions can further assist in the management of other freight shipping documents and forms please fill out the form provided for a free 15-minute demo.