5 Tips To Navigate Sustainable Logistics
According to Forbes:
Last week I bought t-shirts and shoes from a well-known online fashion store in Europe. The very next day, I had three different tracking codes for my parcels which would be delivered on the same day, at different times. From a consumer perspective, it is impressive to see how fast big supply chains work. But from a sustainable logistics perspective, it seems more like our world is drowning in a sea of packaging waste and smothering the carbon emissions for the cost of rapid delivery.
Does it really have to be like this?
The answer is definitely not. Finding cost-effective sustainable solutions today is much easier for businesses compared to the past. Especially in the post-COVID-19 world where society became more conscious about the responsibility to the environment, we hear everyday news about corporations stepping in the game of being carbon neutral from design to operate. In this alignment, achieving sustainable logistics operations should and must not be an exception.
What practices can businesses apply to increase sustainability within logistics operations? Here are five tips to consider.
1. Harness data for end-to-end visibility
I don’t know if it is just me but whenever leave home for 5 minutes, the delivery guy will turn up in the same time slot! Are they hiding around the corner waiting for me to leave? Recently, I discovered one logistic provider that enables me to live-track the truck which carries my parcel and gives me the chance to change the delivery time up until the last hour. This helps the driver to plan the route to simultaneously lower last-mile carbon footprint, and eliminate a wasted trip, not to mention putting less stress on the customer.
Placing the data at the heart of supply chain operations enables businesses to work more efficiently and effectively. Improving freight collaboration, material, and goods tracking with an open logistics ecosystem connects business partners to manage logistics operations better by monitoring the transport methods in real-time and identifying the best alternatives. Also, businesses can eliminate the risk of empty milages by loading vehicles to optimum capacity, which is both environmental and profit-friendly.
2. Get closer to the customer with pop-up warehouses
Think about a quick win-win-win solution for businesses, consumers, and the environment at the same time. The answer is pop-up warehouses.
Last-mile delivery emissions associated with e-commerce are increasing, and logistics providers are under pressure to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint, which is one of the key measurements of truly sustainable supply chain logistics.
Setting up a pop-up warehouse brings the businesses closer to customers; which means it is an excellent way to reduce last-mile emissions. It helps businesses reduce delivery time and cost; as well as gives more flexibility to mitigate supply chain disruptions.
You can not only using the warehouses for storing inventory close to the demand but also combine on-site retail and pick-up point to cut down the shipping cost completely. Plus, considering the fact that the cost of renting a small warehouse is less than the shipping cost from centrally located facilities, it is a great way for businesses to optimize the supply chain operations while helping the environment.
3. Use alternative vehicle or fuel technologies
Looking out of my window, every day I see delivery vans driving to my neighborhood. Most of those delivery trucks use diesel as a fuel source since it is an affordable option. Not that gas engines are good for the environment, but compared to gas engines, diesel trucks increase the carbon footprint by exhausting %13 more CO2.
Using lower carbon fuels such as biofuel instead of fossil fuels, replacing the old trucks with eco-friendly vehicles would be the measures taken toward ecological and social sustainability goals. There is a wide range of eco-friendly solutions in the market which challenges traditional ways. Sea shipping, eco-friendly train solutions, hybrid or electric vehicles are available green alternatives.
Also, the emissions associated with the distribution facilities can be eliminated via clean energy-powered electricity, solar systems, and water recycling systems. One of the vertical farming companies, &ever, is helping the world minimizing the carbon footprint while producing sustainable and soil-free food. By changing the traditional way of farming, they use 85% less water and can grow 18 cycles a year instead of having 7 cycles a year. Protecting the planet and feeding the world in the most sustainable way possible can be the most profitable path if you take smart steps.
4. Optimize on-site resources, planning, and execution
Have you ever wondered how those huge containers are being carried and transported in between rail, ship, and trucks? What kind of truck is going to carry those pallets or boxes? How those containers will be moving to the next step and transported to the yard?
This is the point businesses use yard logistics to run smooth logistics operations with higher throughput and minimal environmental impact.
Yard logistics is part of the supply chain execution platform which businesses can use to strengthen the bridge between warehouse and transportation management. Efficiently planning the steps and activities in the yard helps to avoid long breaks or processing gaps in between the logistics operations; results in eliminating the waste, transport, and labor cost, and of course carbon emissions.
5. Utilize IoT for simple improvements
Did you know that driving on the highway at 80 kilometers per hour can save about 10 % of fuel? Eco-driving education is another significant way to reduce fuel consumption. It also minimizes the risk of possible damages to the driver, overall vessel, and products in it. As a part of the education, IoT and sensors can be used to monitor and collect the data on speed, fuel consumption, and breaking behavior of drivers.
Also, keeping tires at optimal pressure is an effective tool for keeping fuel consumption under control. With sensors mounted to the rim of the wheel, drivers can monitor the current tire pressure on the display. Using tire pressure sensors helps fuel consumption by up to 12 % at lower speeds, as well as extending the tire lifetime.
There are many ways to make businesses sustainable from design to operate: using sustainable materials, reducing waste, adopting clean energy resources, investing in eco-friendly technologies, and more. Implementing environmental friendly logistic solutions is one of the important building blocks of creating a sustainable supply chain in a journey to become carbon neutral.
At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.
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