Norman Dulwich explains how changes in thinking and fresh technology can make your company’s logistics management processes that extra bit greener. Whatever the sector you’re working in, there’s no doubt that logistics management requires excellent forward-planning and the ability to constantly find better, more efficient ways of carrying out operations. However, something that has been playing on my mind recently has been how managers in the freight forwarding industry can continue to lead while simultaneously operating in ‘greener’ ways. There are no easy answers of course, but I think that we can all agree that environmental sustainability has to become a central part of our long-term strategic thinking.
I’m confident that we can rise to the challenge, as the industry is already beginning to innovate and adopt ‘Green Thinking’. I recently came across a successful case study, in which a leading Japanese forwarder and supply chain provider aspired to reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by a minimum of 10% by 2013. To achieve this headline target, the company set about introducing technological changes and, crucially, encouraging a corporate green mindset through training and campaigns. Hopefully this example will give you some ideas!
To accomplish their goal, the company brought in a raft of fresh equipment, including teardrop bodies and biodiesel vehicles. The former enabled a drop in fuel consumption of 8%. In addition, the company introduced smart sensors in order to give a detailed, real-time reflection of gas and electricity use, as well as investing in timers that were attached to lighting, cooling, electrical and heating equipment.
Creating a Green Mind-set
To get all members of the company involved in the project, training courses were provided, which encouraged participation and emphasised the benefits of energy efficiency for them and the company logistics. Management also implemented ‘site champions’, who held the responsibility of overseeing changes.
For an extra incentive, the Managing Director established an Internal Awards Scheme that awarded a prize to the site which had realised the greatest improvements.
Finally, suppliers were engaged to help tackle the issue of transit-only packaging in an attempt to decrease the quantity of waste that was generated and that was sent to landfills.
Revolution on the Road
Following on from the practice of employee engagement, the logistics management decided to give drivers opportunities to participate in fuel-efficient driving courses that encouraged environmentally-friendly behaviour. Driver league tables were introduced to add a competitive element to the opportunity, along with tracking technology for vehicles to improve MPG rates.
In short, a marriage of technology and an employee-led change in thinking helped achieve remarkable results that clearly made the company’s logistics management much greener:
• 11% reduction in CO2 emissions per vehicle across the fleet
• 35% reduction in electricity use at each site
• Waste miles decreased by 54%
• 46% less general waste going to landfill
• MPG up by 6%
Looking at these statistics, in my mind this scheme greatly benefitted the company, its employees and its customers. Over to you!
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