OCR Automation in Customs: The Power of AI-based OCR

Have you ever thought about progressing in smart technology? If yes, you need to study how technology is expanding its branches in different fields. Businesses are always looking for new ways to improve their productivity. And streamline their operations to keep up with the rapid advancements being made in the technological world. Automation that utilizes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is one example of this kind of revolutionary instrument that has seen a meteoric rise in use. 


OCR technology has fundamentally altered how businesses manage their data by converting scanned photos and even handwritten text into formats that are readable and editable by computers. Within the context of this blog, we investigate the possibilities of OCR automation and how it may be used to drive efficiency across a variety of industries, especially in customs.

What is OCR automation?

The optical character recognition system is software that is built to convert the hard forms of documents and photographs into digital systems. But when we align it, like automating OCR, it is state-of-the-art software that quickly transforms scanned documents or photos into text that can be edited on a computer.


OCR in automation can recognize and interpret characters in photographs, such as those obtained from handwritten text or low-resolution scans, as a result of enhanced algorithms and machine learning capabilities. Reducing manual data entry with OCR automation boosts industry efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. 


It’s useful in many different fields, including document management, accounting, healthcare, retail, law, and more, because it helps businesses streamline processes, save money, and make their data more easily accessible. Businesses can digitize paper documents with OCR automation to fully benefit from digital data and the advantages of an increasingly automated and networked future.

What problems do we face without OCR in import and export?

Although OCR is used in almost every working field in the form of automated OCR software’s. Our main focus is in the customs field, so let’s turn ourselves into the customs world. But OCR had a wall that blocked a further successful path. It faced several difficulties, such as:


  • There was still a lot of manual documentation work while importing and exporting, which interpreted multiple errors.
  • The processing time was very slow because adding the documents to the scanning process took longer.
  • The customs freight process faces multiple rejections from HMRC due to errors.
  • Digital platforms and technologies automate and integrate modern import and export procedures. Manual data entry may cause inefficiency and inaccuracies in these systems.
  • Manual data entry allows data tampering and fraud. OCR improves data integrity and reduces fraud.
  • Manual data entry becomes unsustainable as import and export quantities rise. OCR can scale without compromising accuracy.

Different OCR automation types using in customs

Power automate OCR classifies its use cases into subcategories, such as the following:


  1. Deep learning-based OCR:

    Thanks to recent developments in deep learning and AI, OCR models that can be trained on massive datasets have achieved a new level of accuracy. OCR systems powered by deep learning are flexible enough to accommodate numerous scripts, languages, and writing styles.

  2. Intelligent word recognition (IWR):

    IWR is an enhanced optical character recognition method. For more precise results when processing complex or cursive handwriting, it can comprehend the meaning of sentences and the connections between characters.

  3. Optical word recognition (OWR):

    OWR is optimized for word recognition rather than character recognition. It’s especially helpful in cases where the text’s format, typeface, or layout might change.

  4. Handwritten OCR:

    Handwriting OCR stands for “optical character recognition” and is used to refer to the process of digitizing handwritten text. It is useful for digitizing documents and notes written by hand since it employs complex algorithms to evaluate and understand different types of handwriting.

  5. Standard OCR:

     This form of optical character recognition is made to read text from scanned files. When used with legible, well-defined fonts, it successfully translates handwritten text into machine-readable code.

  6. Zonal OCR:

    In zonal OCR, OCR analysis is performed only on an image’s or document’s defined regions (zones). This method comes in handy when OCR processing needs to be customized for various parts of a document.

  7. Matrix OCR:

    Characters in grid format images, such as those found in spreadsheet tables or forms, can be read using matrix OCR. Data collection and form processing systems typically employ it.

  8. Mobile OCR:

     Mobile OCR is designed for handheld devices like smartphones and tablets, facilitating the capture and extraction of text from photos. It is used in augmented reality and mobile scanning apps.

  9. Extraction of Stable Field OCR:

    This sort of optical character recognition is made for picking out things like names, dates, addresses, and invoice numbers from paper documents. It has widespread use in document and data management programs.

Benefits of OCR automation in customs

  1. The OCR automation speeds up the conversion of photos or scanned documents into editable text, decreasing manual data entry.
  2. Automation OCR techniques and machine learning improve accuracy of character recognition and data extraction. Automation improves data quality and reliability.
  3. Businesses can cut data entry expenses by automating text extraction. It also saves money by eliminating document storage
  4. OCR automation digitizes documents, making them searchable. Data management and retrieval improve.
  5. Integrating OCR automation into existing systems speeds data movement and analysis between applications and processes.
  6. OCR automation allows enterprises to process massive amounts of documents in a fraction of the time it would take with manual data entry.

OCR Transformation to IDP:

As the automated OCR software mechanism overflowed due to its new feature earlier, it encouraged people to take advantage of more than just reading the documents. A while later, OCR got a new transformation with a touch of artificial intelligence. The development of OCR into IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) is a step forward in the field of document automation and data extraction. 


In contrast to OCR tools, which excel at transforming scanned text into machine-readable formats, IDP expands upon this concept. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are only a few of the cutting-edge technologies that are incorporated to comprehend data context, validate and rectify extracted information, and automate full document-centric workflows. 


IDP systems learn and change over time, getting more precise and productive. Using IDP, businesses can automate redundant tasks, cut down on wasted time, and mine their data for insights that will help them make better decisions and run more efficiently. This change from OCR to IDP is a major step forward in the development of smarter, more efficient, and data-driven document management tools.

What are iCustoms doing in this regard?

iCustoms has developed a powerful automation system with highly advanced AI technology software named Customs IDP. IDP is the new face of OCR, which is highly capable of reading documents and images and intelligently managing and extracting important information from them.


iCustoms IDP specializes in customs document automation for both import and export. It not only classifies documents of several types but also extracts the relevant information that is required for the HMRC form. It fills in the information in the specified field, and then you can submit it for approval.


It has reduced the error percentage, decreased manual work, minimized the time frame, and is easy to operate and manage. It gives multiple options according to your requirements, which makes your work easy and reliable. Take a look at the iCustoms IDP service through the link.


Automation of optical character recognition (OCR) is a game-changer for organizations of all stripes since it reduces the time and effort required to enter data, improves its quality, and ultimately boosts productivity. This breakthrough technology in today’s data-driven economy allows businesses to cut costs, increase efficiency, and maintain a competitive edge. 


OCR is already a game-changer, and its development will bring many new uses and benefits. So, unlock the potential and transform your business operations by looking into OCR automation if you haven’t already. A new branch of OCR is now in action in all the respective fields in every industry.

How to use OCR in automation?

OCR in your automated workflow streamlines operations, reduces manual involvement and improves accuracy, increasing productivity and resource usage. OCR transforms organizations by automating invoice processing, data entry, and document classification.

How is OCR used in AI?

AI improves OCR technology. Rule-based algorithms and pattern recognition were used for OCR. Due to AI and machine learning, OCR can now process complex and diverse documents more accurately.

What is the difference between RPA and OCR?

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and OCR can automate business operations from start to finish, especially document processing and data entry. RPA automates processes, while OCR extracts useful data from documents. Together, they streamline operations and improve efficiency in numerous industries.

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About iCustoms

iCustoms is an all-in-one solution helping businesses automate customs processes more efficiently. With AI-powered and machine-learning capabilities, iCustoms is designed to streamline your all customs procedures in a few minutes, cut additional costs and save time.


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