Document automation
Document automation is the design of systems and workflow that assist in the creation of electronic documents. These include logic based systems that use segments of pre-existing text and/or data to assemble a new document. This process is increasingly used within certain industries to assemble legal documents, contracts and letters. Document automation system can also be used to automate all conditional text, variable text, and data contained within a set of documents.

Automation systems allow companies to minimize data entry, reduce the time spent proof-reading, and reduce the risks associated with human error. Additional benefits include; savings due less paper handling, document loading, storage, distribution, postage/shipping, faxes, telephone, labour and waste.

Document automation in supply chain management & logistics

There are many documents used in logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

. They are called; invoice
An invoice or bill is a commercial document issued by a seller to the buyer, indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller has provided the buyer. An invoice indicates the buyer must pay the seller, according to the payment terms...

s, packing lists/slips/sheets (manifests), pick tickets, forms/reports of many types (e.g. MSDS, damaged goods, returned goods, detailed/summary, etc.), import
The term import is derived from the conceptual meaning as to bring in the goods and services into the port of a country. The buyer of such goods and services is referred to an "importer" who is based in the country of import whereas the overseas based seller is referred to as an "exporter". Thus...

The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

, delivery
Delivery (commerce)
Delivery is the process of transporting goods. Most goods are delivered through a transportation network. Cargo are primarily delivered via roads and railroads on land, shipping lanes on the sea and airline networks in the air...

, bill of lading
Bill of lading
A bill of lading is a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for conveyance to a named place for delivery to the consignee who is usually identified...

 (BOL), etc. These documents are usually the contracts between the consignee
In a contract of carriage, the consignee is the person to whom the shipment is to be delivered to whether by land, sea or air.-A brief statement of law:...

 and the consignor
The consignor, in a contract of carriage, is the person sending a shipment to be delivered whether by land, sea or air. Some carriers, such as national postal entities, use the term "sender" or "shipper" but in the event of a legal dispute the proper and technical term "consignor" will generally be...

, so they are very important for both parties and any intermediary, like a third party logistics company (3PL) and governments. Document
The term document has multiple meanings in ordinary language and in scholarship. WordNet 3.1. lists four meanings :* document, written document, papers...

 handling within logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

, supply chain management
Supply chain management
Supply chain management is the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service packages required by end customers...

 and distribution center
Distribution center
A distribution center for a set of products is a warehouse or other specialized building, often with refrigeration or air conditioning, which is stocked with products to be redistributed to retailers, to wholesalers, or directly to consumers. A distribution center is a principal part, the order...

s is usually performed manual labor or semiautomatically using bar code scanners, software and tabletop laser printer
Laser printer
A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers , laser printers employ a xerographic printing process, but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced...

s. There are some manufacturers of high speed document automation systems that will automatically compare the laser printed document to the order and either insert or automatically apply an enclosed wallet
A wallet, or billfold, is a small, flat case that is used to carry personal items such as cash, credit cards, identification documents , photographs, business cards and other paper or laminated cards...

Pouch may refer to:* A small bag such as a pocket, teabag, money pouch, sporran, etc* Cadaver pouch, body bag * Diplomatic pouch* Electric heating pouch, medical apparatus, electric heating device for curative treatment...

 to the shipping container
Shipping container
A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments to the ubiquitous corrugated boxes...

 (usually a flexible polybag or corrugated fiberboard/rigid container). See below for external website video links showing these document automation systems. Protection of Privacy and Identity Theft
Identity theft
Identity theft is a form of stealing another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name...

 are major concerns, especially with the increase of e-Commerce, Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

/Online shopping and Shopping channel
Shopping channel
Shopping channels are television specialty channels that present shopping related content, particularly for home shopping enthusiasts.-USA:* America's Store* Home Shopping Network* Jewelry Television* QVC* Shop at Home Network* ShopNBC...

 (other, past references are catalogue shopping and mail order
Mail order
Mail order is a term which describes the buying of goods or services by mail delivery. The buyer places an order for the desired products with the merchant through some remote method such as through a telephone call or web site. Then, the products are delivered to the customer...

 shopping) making it more important than ever to guarantee the correct document is married or associated to the correct order or shipment every time. Software that produce documents are; ERP
- Economics :* Economic Report of the President, published annually by the United States President's Council of Economic Advisors on recent economic activity and future policies and predictions...

-Technology and computing:*Warehouse management system, a component of the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse*Web Map Service, a specification which comprises a definition for Internet map servers...

- Organizations :* The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, a professional organization for materials scientists and engineers* Texas Memory Systems, a manufacturer of solid-state drives...

, legacy middleware
Middleware is computer software that connects software components or people and their applications. The software consists of a set of services that allows multiple processes running on one or more machines to interact...

 and most accounting packages.

The document automation/assembly industry

Document assembly was pioneered in the late 1970s in Utah. The basic functions are to replace the cumbersome manual filling in of repetitive documents with template-based systems where the user answers software-driven interview questions or data entry screen. The information collected then populates the document to form a good first draft'. Today's more advanced document automation systems allow users to create their own data and rules (logic) without the need for programming.

While document automation software is used primarily in the legal
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, financial services
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

, and risk management
Risk management
Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities...

 industries, it can be used in any industry that creates transaction-based documents. Popular document automation solutions on the market today include Xinnovation, Business Integrity
Business Integrity
- External links :* * *...

, Exari
Exari is an enterprise software company, founded in 1999, which has pioneered interactive document assembly using a patented XML design that ensures the validity of both the template and the assembled output documents, for arbitrary XML document types...

, HotDocs
HotDocs is an automated document generation software program currently owned and marketed by HotDocs Limited. Version 1.0 was introduced in 1993 by Capsoft Development and its founder, Marshall Morrise. HotDocs has been built upon and enhanced continuously since its introduction and continues to be...

, Intelledox
Intelledox Pty Ltd is a responsive software development company. Founded in 1992, the company originated as a bespoke software development company; producing various products, including Capabiliti LMS, a learning management system.....

, Rapidocs, Xpertdoc
Xpertdoc is a leading provider of document output automation solutions. Xpertdoc's solution helps corporate users to streamline the process of document production, reducing costs while increasing productivity, speed and quality.The Xperdoc solution is primarily used in Insurance, Healthcare,...

 and XpressDox. A good example of how document automation software can be used is with commercial mortgage
Commercial mortgage
A commercial mortgage is a mortgage loan made using commercial real estate as collateral to secure repayment.A commercial mortgage is similar to a residential mortgage, except the collateral is a commercial building or other business real estate, not residential property. In addition, commercial...

 documents. A typical commercial mortgage transaction can include several documents including:
  • promissory note
    Promissory note
    A promissory note is a negotiable instrument, wherein one party makes an unconditional promise in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other , either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms.Referred to as a note payable in accounting, or...

  • environmental indemnity
  • trust deed
    Trust deed
    Deed of trust may refer to:* Trust deed * Trust instrument, a legal instrument in common law systems* Trust Deed , used in Scottish law* Deed of Trust , music album...

  • mortgage
  • guaranty

Some of these documents can contain as many as 80 to 100 pages, with hundreds of optional paragraphs and data elements. Document automation software has the ability to automatically fill in the correct document variables based on the transaction data. In addition, some document automation software has the ability to create a document suite where all related documents are encapsulated into one file, making updates and collaboration easy and fast.

Simpler software applications that are easier to learn can also be used to automate the preparation of documents, without undue complexity. Clipboard managers such as textBEAST allow the user to save frequently-used text fragments, organize them into logical groups, and then quickly access them to paste into final documents.

Document automation in the legal services market

The role of automation technology in the production of legal documents has been widely recognised. For example, Richard Susskind
Richard Susskind
Richard Susskind OBE is a British author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments...

’s book ‘The End of Lawyers’ looks at the use of document automation software that enables clients to generate employment contracts and Wills with the use of an online interview or decision tree. Susskind regards Document Assembly as one of 10 'disruptive technologies
Disruptive technology
A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network , displacing an earlier technology there...

' that are altering the face of the legal profession. In large law firms document assembly systems are increasingly being used to systemise work, such as complex term sheets and the first drafts of credit agreements.

With the liberalisation of the UK legal services market spearheaded by the Legal Services Act 2007
Legal Services Act 2007
The Legal Services Act 2007 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that seeks to liberalise and regulate the market for legal services in England and Wales, to encourage more competition and to provide a new route for consumer complaints...

 large institutions have broadened their services to include legal assistance for their customers. Most of these companies use some element of document automation technology to provide legal document services over the Web. This has been seen as heralding a trend towards commoditisation whereby technologies like document automation result in high volume, low margin legal services being ‘packaged’ and provided to a mass-market audience.

See also

  • Business Integrity
    Business Integrity
    - External links :* * *...

  • Document Modelling
    Document modelling
    Document Modelling looks at the inherent structure in documents. It looks not at the structure in formatting which is the classic realm of word-processing tools, but at the structure in content. Because document content is typically viewed as the ad hoc result of a creative process, the art of...

  • Intelligent Document
    Intelligent document
    Intelligent document is a general term to describe electronic documents with more functionality than a page designed to emulate paper. Formats include PDF from Adobe, InfoPath from Microsoft, Cardiff Software and XForms from W3C, and the non-programming solutions DocFire, Exari and Intelledox...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.