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The Future of Logistics: Data-Driven Transformations in 2023 and Beyond

Technological advances have allowed organisations to accumulate data at a rapid pace. Data is now the lifeblood of our digital world and when used effectively can optimise every aspect of business operations. Organisations can use data analytics to make informed decisions, such as understanding customer preferences, through to identifying operational inefficiencies. Data-driven decisions often result in better outcomes and competitive advantages.  

However, to harness the value of data, organisations must find a way to collect, analyse, and use the vast amounts of data they generate to inform decision-making and gain valuable insights. The process of transforming real-world interactions, workflows, and processes into digital data that can be stored, analysed, and monetised is known as datafication.   

The Evolution of Data Use in Logistics

Printed forms, manifests, and paper-based tracking systems dominated logistics management for many decades. It was arduous and manually intensive to maintain accurate record keeping. As technology moved on, organisations embraced systems that could manage inventory, track shipments in real-time with GPS technology, providing precise locations of shipments and revolutionising the way goods were monitored in transit.  

Today, with the explosion of available data, analytics tools can optimise routes, predict demand, and reduce costs. Technology has allowed organisations to shift from basic data collection to advanced analytics and prediction. In the current business landscape, datafication has emerged as a critical trend that profoundly impacts the way supply chain organisation’s function. It has already begun transforming the transport and logistics sector and is poised to drive even more change in the future.  

Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning

Datafication is helping the logistics sector to predict demand patterns more accurately. By analysing historical data and patterns, organisations can anticipate demand fluctuations, enabling better inventory management and the planning of more efficient transportation routes. With predictive analytics, 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.  

Predictive analytics is also facilitating logistics organisations to predict when maintenance is needed for their vehicles and equipment. By analysing maintenance history and performance metrics data gathered from sensors on vehicles and infrastructure, organisations can schedule maintenance tasks proactively, reducing downtime and increasing the lifespan of assets. This reduces operational costs by preventing expensive and unexpected breakdowns.  

Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility in the Logistics Sector

Within the logistics sector, datafication has ushered in advancements in real-time supply chain visibility, enabling logistics companies to identify bottlenecks, optimise inventory levels, and enhance overall supply chain resilience. By analysing data on transportation, warehousing, and inventory management, businesses can streamline processes, reduce lead times, and minimise waste.  

This provides stakeholders with a comprehensive view of the entire supply chain, including monitoring shipments, vehicles, and inventory in real-time. With this insight, organisations can pinpoint a shipment's exact location and monitor specific conditions, such as the temperature for perishable goods, ensuring the integrity of sensitive items during transit.  

This level of transparency is revolutionising inventory management practices. By having precise and timely data, businesses can anticipate potential delays and optimise routes, ensuring smoother operations. This significantly reduces costs associated with non-deliveries and improves customer satisfaction.  

Enhanced Clarity and Insight

Extracting, combining, and analysing data from multiple systems to uncover actionable insights can be challenging. For many companies this remains a manual process, and the complexity of managing information from so many data feeds is often inefficient and prone to human error.  

EVOLink from Touchstar is a cutting-edge software middleware tool that seamlessly tackles the challenges of data integration. Confronted with an array of data sources and formats, businesses often grapple with the herculean task of consolidating information. EVOLink simplifies the process of amalgamating data from multiple systems, whether it’s from the sales order processing system, warehouse management system, or EPOD system. EVOLink centralises data from multiple sources, streamlining and accelerating data analysis. Customers are empowered to derive new insights, craft key performance indicators, and achieve a level of business clarity previously out of reach, all thanks to the transformative capabilities of EVOLink.  

One customer, The Bread Factory, uses EvoLink to automatically consolidate information from various data feeds, even when they occur at different times. After extracting and reformatting the data, EvoLink uploads the information into their proof of delivery system as individual tasks. This gives drivers a comprehensive view of the transport plan, including route details, drop sequences, box counts, and special delivery instructions.  

Using this data, TouchStar’s EPOD system provides route optimisation, estimated arrival times, and an auto-send feature for proof of delivery. As a result of implementing EvoLink with TouchStar’s EPOD solution, The Bread Factory has seen a sharp decrease in customer delivery inquiries, notably faster issue resolution time, and reduced operational costs.  

Autonomous Logistics

In the logistics sector, the rise of autonomous vehicles and drones is revolutionising the landscape of deliveries. Companies, such as Co-op stores in Greater Manchester, are offering autonomous delivery services in efforts to reduce traffic congestion. Customers can choose from a wide range of grocery items, schedule their delivery, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent with the ability to watch the robot travel in real-time via an interactive map.  

Prime Air, Amazon’s much anticipated drone delivery service has begun durability and reliability testing which is required for permission to fly safely over urban areas. Their next generation delivery drone will have increased range, expanded temperature tolerance, and the capability to fly in light rain, bringing the vision of urban drone delivery a step closer.  

As this innovative technology matures, we may see fleets of self-driving trucks and agile delivery drones become more commonplace as logistics companies look toward the horizon and explore the many possibilities that autonomous vehicles can offer.  

Central to the safety and efficiency of these autonomous systems is data. Harnessing vast amounts of information, advanced AI algorithms evaluate, plan, and adapt, ensuring that these vehicles navigate safely. They can intuitively optimise delivery routes and make real-time adjustments in response to variables like unpredictable traffic or sudden weather changes, underscoring the indispensable role of data in the next chapter of logistics.  

Enhanced Customer Experience through Data

Datafication has emerged as a critical tool for elevating customer service and delivering an overall enhanced customer experience. By harnessing the power of data, logistics companies are becoming adept at gathering key customer feedback and perceiving their preferences. This invaluable insight allows for tailored services that align with individual customer needs, fostering enhanced satisfaction and bolstering loyalty. With a cost-of-living crisis and high inflation, retaining customers is vital for any business. The era of data-driven customer service has dawned. By leveraging data analytics, logistics companies can provide updates on shipment statuses, integrate real-time tracking, and engage in proactive communication. This approach not only streamlines operations but is pivotal in cultivating customer trust and loyalty.  

Sustainability through Data-driven Decisions

In today's business environment, an emphasis on sustainability is paramount, and the logistics sector is no exception. Through the lens of data-driven decision-making, organisations are making strides in minimising their carbon footprints. By leveraging data analytics, they can optimise routes and ensure vehicle operations are at peak efficiency, thereby reducing emissions and environmental impact.  

Data plays a transformative role in underpinning environmental, social and governance (ESG) within logistics. Ultimately, the combination of data and sustainability initiatives is facilitating a new era of green logistics. Armed with accurate and real-time analytics, logistics organisations can measure and assess their environmental impact and uncover actionable insights to drive eco-friendly and sustainable improvements.  


The horizon of 2023 and beyond paints a vivid picture of the logistics landscape, fundamentally reimagined by the transformative power of datafication. As logistics organisations advance, they will be able to harness the full potential of their data. The intricacies of business operations will be further unravelled, streamlined, and enhanced through the use of advanced data. This will enable forward looking companies to chart a trajectory of innovation, efficiency, and customer-centricity.  

The combination of real-time analytics, predictive modelling, and deep learning is set to redefine the benchmarks of operational excellence in these sectors. For logistics companies that are pondering the future, the message is crystal clear: investing in and prioritising data-driven strategies isn't just an option—it's an imperative. Those ready to harness the full spectrum of datafication's potential will undoubtedly be the pioneers, leading the industry into a brighter, more sustainable, and interconnected future.