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5 steps to become data-driven
Market Insights

5 steps to become data-driven

Navigation systems have made road maps obsolete and were then themselves replaced by mobile apps. And soon route instructions will be integrated in your windscreen. Data offers unprecedented possibilities. As an organisation, how can you respond in a smart way and stay relevant in this digital age? Pirke van den Elsen, Chief Digital Officer at Van den Bosch, takes us to the fascinating world of data.

There is nothing new about data – we have been storing data since writing was invented in ancient times – but being able to store vast quantities of data and computing power have made it possible to interpret data on a large scale. Consumers have also eagerly adopted the new possibilities: think of the emergence of online shopping and the use of digital navigation.

From gut feeling to data-driven actions
In 2023, no less than 99% of the world’s population is data-driven. Think about it: how often do you order things online, watch a film that has been suggested to you, use mobile navigation or consult a weather app? Data has become an integral part of our daily lives. In business however, this transition is proving to be not so easy. Probably because decisions seem harder than the ones you make at home. Walking round the block with or without a coat certainly has less of an impact than missing out on a customer because the algorithm proposed a price that was too high.

How to use data in business?
Data enables you to make better decisions. And in business, better decisions can give you an advantage over your competitors. I distinguish between 3 levels:

  1. Descriptive: looking for meaning in the past from which you can learn in the future, e.g. a flashing light indicating that your fuel tank is empty.
  2. Predictive: using data to look into the future, e.g. the number of kilometres that you can go with the amount of fuel you have got left in your tank.
  3. Prescriptive: defining an action based on data, e.g. navigation that shows the best route and gas stations based on the amount of fuel in your tank.

Getting started with data-driven working
The most important lesson? You don’t have to become the next Apple, Netflix or Google. Keep it small and be willing to learn from the process. 5 steps to become data-driven:

  1. Start with your core business. 
    What are you good at and how can data help you make better decisions? Then determine the action required. What information do you need to become more successful?
  2. Collect the right data to gain insight. 
    The quantity of data is not the most critical factor. Think small and start with what is available to you.
  3. Create the willingness to act according to insights gained. 
    Insight without action is pointless. But don’t underestimate the impact of data-driven working on your people. Culture is a hurdle that is more difficult to overcome than any technical problem.
  4. If you make mistakes, learn from them and start again. 
    Becoming data-driven is an iterative process. Have no illusions that it will be right the first time. Perfect is the enemy of good. Be content with good enough.
  5. Share data with others. 
    Whether it is with colleagues, customers or suppliers, sharing data will give you the opportunity to gain shared insights and therefore take action together.
Opportunities for the supply chain

• As a carrier, your services are based on transporting goods from A to B. Data can help you work more efficiently and cost-effectively. What do you need for that? That would be insight into paid and unpaid kilometres, fuel consumption and detour kilometres.
• Data can help shippers predict security of supply and stock optimisation. Discuss your goals with your logistics service provider and work towards them together.

Go for joint success
Finally: data leads to useful insights. Using the same data as your customers/suppliers makes analysis a lot easier. Have faith in each other and in your partnership. See data as a conversation starter and as an effective tool for making better decisions that will help you work together for a successful future. Effectively using data will keep you ahead of your competitors. So what are you waiting for?

About Pirke van den Elsen
As Chief Digital Officer, Pirke van den Elsen is responsible for data and reporting within Van den Bosch. Data has been the common thread throughout his career. Twenty years ago he started out developing KPI dashboards. He also was at the forefront of business control and as operations manager, he was an intensive user of data on which he based decisions. Find out more:

Would you like to receive new insights?

At Van den Bosch, we are happy to share our experience to improve the world of bulk logistics together. Please feel free to contact us with any challenge, question or request.

“The more data we receive, the more insights we get from it”

Van den Bosch Marrit Hopmans – Manager Data & Reporting