date05 January 2024

The impact of real-time data capture in Warehousing and Logistics

When it comes to commerce, speed is of the essence and once purchases are made, we want the items delivered fast. No ifs, no buts - we expect rapid fulfilment and full visibility of our shipment from the moment it’s been ordered until it reaches its destination. With demand for fast delivery at an all-time high, warehousing and logistics has become the foundation of global trade. Central to this is the important role of mobile data capture, which is transforming the industry from the ground up by radically improving operational efficiency and accuracy.  

What is mobile data capture?

Mobile data capture refers to the use of devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and specialised handheld scanners, to collect and input data directly into a centralised system. The data is collected at source from anywhere within the warehouse or in the field. It is then immediately recorded within the system, where it is available to be analysed in real-time. Previously, data would be collected and manually entered within the system later. Today, workers can scan barcodes, capture signatures, and update inventories in real time, bypassing the inefficient and error-prone paper trails of the past.  

Why does this matter?

In warehousing and logistics, efficiency and accuracy are crucial - every second counts and every detail matters. Missteps can lead to delays, inaccuracies can cause costly shipment errors and inefficiencies can erode the thin margins on which the industry operates. Warehouse staff using mobile data capture devices address these challenges head-on, providing a quick and accurate method of managing the comings and goings of the goods that we rely on.  

Actionable benefits and insights

Mobile data capture solutions are delivering many benefits, including slashing operational costs by ensuring that every product, every package, and every pallet is accounted for in real-time. Rather than being seen as just a fleeting trend, mobile data capture is causing a fundamental shift in the warehousing and logistics landscape. Here are some of the actionable benefits and insights mobile data capture could provide your company:  

  • Real-Time Data Access: With mobile data capture devices, your data is collected and immediately processed within the system. This allows your managers and workers to access real-time access data and make informed decisions quickly and efficiently, reducing any potential impact on operations.  
  • Improved Accuracy: By automating data entry, mobile data capture reduces the risk of human error. This increased accuracy is crucial in inventory management, order fulfilment and when tracking shipments.  
  • Enhanced Processes and Efficiency: Mobile data capture streamlines various warehouse processes such as inventory management, order picking, and shipping. Employees can update inventory levels, process orders, and confirm shipments on the spot, reducing the time spent on manual data entry and physical paperwork.  
  • Cost Reduction: By increasing efficiency and accuracy, mobile data capture solutions will help you to reduce operational costs. Fewer errors mean less time and resources spent on correcting them. Additionally, improved inventory management can lead to reduced stock holding costs.  
  • Increased Productivity: When equipped with mobile data capture tools, your employees can perform tasks more quickly and accurately. This increase in productivity leads to faster and accurate order fulfilment, as workers can only successfully scan the specific product listed on the order. With this increased efficiency, your workers can handle higher volumes of work with greater accuracy, ensuring your customers promptly receive what they ordered.  
  • Better Stock Management: Mobile data capture allows for more accurate and timely inventory tracking. With access to real-time data your company can control stock levels more efficiently, reduce the instances of overstocking or stockouts, and improve your ability to respond to changes in demand.  
  • Improved Traceability and Compliance: In logistics, traceability of goods is crucial. Mobile data capture solutions make it easier to track products throughout the supply chain, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and facilitating recalls if necessary.  
  • Better Customer Service: With real-time tracking and more efficient operations, your company can provide customers with more accurate and timely information regarding their orders, leading to improved customer satisfaction.  

End to end visibility

As shown, mobile data capture solutions in the warehouse sector are revolutionising the way companies are managing their operations. However, businesses can unlock the true potential of mobile data capture by integrating warehouse-focused data with existing back-office applications, such as Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD), enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and transportation management systems (TMS).  

By integrating, your business can move away from data silos and gain real-time visibility into your operations, from inventory levels in the warehouse and order fulfilment through to transportation logistics. Seamless integration ensures that information captured on the warehouse floor is instantly reflected in the broader backend systems. This provides key insights that can be actionable.  

Integrating mobile data capture with backend systems enhances visibility across the supply chain. It allows for more informed decision-making, and the automation of processes, from procurement to distribution, leading to an even higher level of efficiency and productivity. As a result, companies can respond quickly to market changes and customer demands.  

Transforming operations with seamless integration

Herts FullStop, the UK’s fastest growing Education supplier, wanted to enhance its distribution process, from stock management to logistics. To achieve this the company sought a solution to optimise its delivery operations and, on this basis, selected TouchStar’s 'PODStar' Electronic Proof of Delivery system. This cloud-based system enables Herts FullStop to efficiently manage job runs, assigning drivers and vehicles using real-time information. The system automatically sends manifests to drivers in the field, allowing them to receive job details and provide electronic proof of delivery instantly. Equipped with Zebra handheld devices, the drivers can capture signatures and their locations are tracked. Meanwhile, back at the Welwyn Garden City depot, management can monitor a real-time 'jobs table' for updates on job status, driver performance, and location, along with other relevant data.  

The PODStar system can integrate with various third-party software including warehouse management systems (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Accounts.  It was chosen by Herts FullStop for full integration with their existing Minster WMS system. The result is enhanced supply chain transparency and real-time control. The WMS manages traditional warehouse operations such as receipt, storage, picking, and loading, while the EPOD solution extends stock visibility through to end-delivery. Together, these integrated systems provide Herts FullStop with real-time oversight of functions such as stock replenishment and client invoicing, streamlining the entire supply chain process.    

Elevate your operational efficiency and accuracy

Some technologies can be a passing fad that promise a lot and fail to deliver past the hype. The adoption of mobile data capture solutions in warehouse and logistics operations is more than just a trend: it is playing a key role in streamlining data collection, enhancing real-time accuracy, and improving overall efficiency.  

The integration of mobile data capture with core business systems such as WMS, ERP systems and transport management systems can unlock even greater potential. Through the use of the rapid deployment Evolink integration tool, our customers can increase end to end visibility, significantly boosting their data consistency and decision-making accuracy.  

If your business is looking to increase its operational efficiency and accuracy, now is the time to implement mobile data capture. The long-term benefits, ranging from improved data management to enhanced operational visibility and data accuracy, make this a wise investment choice.  

If you are not sure where to start, speak with the TouchStar PODStar team and we will help you take a strategic move towards future-proofing your business.  

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