date29 February 2024

Digitisation in the Logistics Sector  

As the logistics market continually looks at ways to improve operational and financial performance, we talk to Sohil Ahmad, Sales Director (Touchstar Technologies – EPOD Division) to discuss how a move to digitisation might help with that.  

Sohil has decades of industry experience and with his specialism in mobile EPOD solutions, Sohil brings a keen technical perspective to our logistics division.   

What are the current issues facing the logistics sector and how does digitisation help to address them?  

There are a number of issues that our industry is facing, some are longstanding or historical, while others are newer to us as a sector. However, collectively, these challenges require us, as an industry, to constantly look at ways to improve our operational and financial performance.  

We could look at each of these issues individually, from an ongoing labour shortage through to the lingering effects from the pandemic and how we can address them. Or we could try to address the problems caused by turbulent fuel costs, or the continual technological advances and the fact that this has led to data being lost, or hard to reach and utilise, in legacy systems.  

But if we look at them as a whole, we see that digitisation helps us to address these diverse challenges by creating new operational systems that will ultimately improve the bottom line.   

So, what is digitisation and what does it mean for logistics?  

Quite simply, digitisation is the process of converting traditional paper records into digital form. It is often confused with, or treated as a synonym for, digitalisation. The two are quite similar as digitalisation is the process of changing systems to ones that can be operated by computers and in the cloud.  

For the logistics sector, most businesses are looking to move in this direction, whether they use these labels or not. Most of the people I speak with are using the cloud more, they are using paper less, but equally, they are not moving forward fast enough and with sufficient purpose to improve their business as much as they could. The potential of digitisation is much greater. The most obvious benefit of digitisation is reducing paper and with that the cost, hassle and inefficiencies of dealing with the paperwork.  

Nowadays, instead of physical, paper forms that need to be filled out, drivers can capture a client e-signature on the glass of a connected handheld. This can be matched to the geo-coordinates of the driver at the time of delivery to confirm the point of delivery. The new digitised system can generate an invoice within minutes, removing the cost and time required to process the paperwork and improving cash flow with faster processed invoices.  

But it doesn’t stop there. Geo-fencing technology can allow drivers to automatically send messages to the person receiving the delivery, giving them an estimated time of arrival. This saves time for the delivery as once messaged, the person receiving the delivery can make sure gates are open, people are ready, and maybe if the driver’s lucky a cup of tea is waiting! But again, it makes the whole process more efficient and therefore it saves money for everyone.  And more efficient deliveries mean that routing can be changed and updated, with new digitised systems that can happen in real-time, with drivers receiving new schedules automatically.   

Can you summarise the benefits of delivery digitisation?  

Some of the key benefits are seen in improved operations efficiency. If you reduce the amount of paper in an organisation you also reduce the time and money it takes to deal with it. But perhaps an unexpected benefit is the reduction in human error from misspellings, smudges, paperwork being lost and so on.  

Better routing and real-time updates to routes save time, but they also save fuel which means an improved carbon footprint. This also helps to increase customer satisfaction thanks to better delivery performance.  

These operational benefits of course lead to financial benefits. That may be the improved cash flow we’ve talked about from automatic invoicing, or by simply saving money on the fuel costs for deliveries thanks to better routing. All of which is matched by increased productivity throughout the process, with drivers spending more time driving and delivering and less time on paperwork.   

What is driving the digitisation of delivery?  

Most of the businesses in our sector are looking at ways to increase their efficiency. It is usually this, rather than a specific desire to move to digitisation, that is actually leading to the changes and updates being made.  

Often it is increased efficiency of the delivery itself that is the key driver. Businesses are looking at ways to manage the unpredictable elements that they face, such as the traffic during deliveries and fuel costs, which sometimes feel like they change every day.  

Digitisation can be seen as almost a by-product of upgrades to solve these issues. Our PODStar, for example, can help you manage traffic issues and provide dynamic routing, which can, of course, save money by reducing fuel usage and making drivers more efficient.  

Another driver of digitisation is the move to decarbonisation. Society as a whole is pushing to decarbonise, and the logistics sector is not immune to that. For logistics, decarbonisation mainly means being more efficient with fuel usage during deliveries, which we’ve already touched on, as well as a drive to go paperless.  

One of the key advantages of using PODStar is the ability to turning what was previously a paper trail into a digital trail. Drivers don’t need to print out delivery and route details – they can be dynamically updated to their in-cab device. Nor do they need to fill out paper forms as proof of delivery, e-signatures and digital invoices have replaced all of that.    

Does AI play a big role in logistics digitisation?  

AI is playing a part in nearly every technological advance at the moment and the effective management and manipulation of data is also part of what we’re seeing here. Thanks to that, the logistics sector can predict demand patterns more accurately. It is through intelligently analysing historical data and patterns that digital systems can anticipate demand fluctuations, enable better inventory management and plan more efficient transportation routes.   

It is thanks to data management that routes can be optimised in real-time based on traffic data, weather conditions, and other variables, ensuring timely deliveries and reduced fuel consumption. These more efficient transportation routes enhance supply chain performance, reduce delivery times, and decrease carbon emissions.   

How can Touchstar help me with the digitisation of my delivery process?  

It’s what we do at Touchstar, we digitise the logistics paper trail all the way from the order hitting the system, to dispatch and delivery at the customer, with every process of the job stored.  

Our systems are also really innovative and based on real experience of the logistics sector. We’ve developed our solutions from the back end to the front, applying our practical knowledge on the nuances of delivery and what it actually requires.  

Our PODStar will not only help you to digitise now, but it can also future proof your system through our tireless work and investment in the solution.  

About the author - Sohil Ahmad

Sohil (41) has 15+ years’ experience supporting customers with complex, field based, mobile technology solutions.  He has been with Touchstar Group for over six years, having previously worked for Masternaut and Barclaycard. In his spare time he enjoys family life and is a very active individual! His main passions are football, motor racing, karting, travelling and hiking. 

Contact Sohil at