One of the big benefits of technology and the accessibility to huge amounts of data that we all have now is that it’s much easier to access information that helps us see where we’re kicking goals in our businesses and where we still have a long way to go.
Data sets show us in precise numbers and evidence that humans are having a significant impact on the planet, and much needs to be done to avoid cataclysmic results in turn. As a business owner or manager, it’s up to you to not only live more eco-friendly but take steps to ensure your organization operates by more ethical values, too.
One of the ways to go about this is to implement strategies for creating a greener supply chain. It may only be one area of business, but it’s a vital one, and working here to start with can then help you make other sustainable changes. If you’re unsure where to start, read on for some tips for creating a more earth-friendly supply chain today.
Measure Your Firm’s Impact
Start by measuring your firm’s current impact in the supply chain area. You can’t make effective changes until you know what you’re working with, after all. Look for the places where the most waste and excess gets created in your supply chain and calculate specific details where possible.
Plus, look for clear areas where you can make improvements and get some quick wins. Even if it’s doing a few small things that make a one percent benefit here and there, this can add up to significant pluses over time.
Opt for More Efficient Logistics
As you measure details of your supply chain, be on the lookout for areas where you can create more efficiencies in shipping. For example, one way to do this is to choose smarter delivery routes. Getting drivers to their destinations more quickly and directly will mean less fuel gets used, and carbon emissions become minimized as a result. Plus, there’s less wear and tear on vehicles, too.
You can utilize smartphone applications and other software to determine the shortest and fastest routes on any given day, factoring in potential issues along the way, like busy roads, accidents, road work, etc. Plus, have drivers pay attention to GPS systems with routes planned out for them, so they don’t get lost in transit and waste fuel this way.
They can also fill up with biodiesel and other more eco-friendly alternative fuels. Using electric or hybrid cars and trucks can make a big difference, too, as can choosing those that are the most fuel-efficient possible. Another way to optimize logistics is to track driver behavior. Since gas consumption has one of the biggest impacts on your venture’s carbon footprint, anything that increases fuel efficiency will positively affect sustainability levels.
When drivers are mindful of how they operate vehicles, they can use significantly less fuel. For instance, maintaining consistent speeds, idling less, and using gentle rather than sudden acceleration can reduce fuel consumption. You could install telematics tech in your fleet vehicles to monitor driver behavior and help create awareness and, in turn, improvements in this area.
Utilize Greener Materials
Creating a greener supply chain means being mindful about the materials you use along the way, too. For example, select sustainable materials for packaging products, such as eco bubble wrap, boxes and mailers made from recycled materials, and cornstarch packing peanuts that dissolve or can be composted. Plus, re-use materials wherever possible.
Favor Just-in-Time Supply Chain Management
Eliminating waste in the supply chain is critical in comprehensive, sustainable supply chain management. A top way to increase efficiencies and minimize loss is to go for the just-in-time manufacturing and inventory system. This strategy is all about aligning deliveries of raw materials and products directly with client orders and business production schedules.
By moving goods just before they’re needed in the manufacturing and sales processes, you can reduce the costs associated with your supply chain systems and have lower storage fees, too, as you don’t have to keep so much stuff on hand all the time.
Be Careful with Hazardous Items
You don’t want to hurt the environment with toxic materials at any stage, so be careful about how you handle and ship hazardous items. Transport issues such as oil spills, exploding trucks, and other mishaps have led to the contamination of waterways and oceans and harmed and killed a lot of wildlife and plant life over the years.
Ensure you and your team know which items in shipments and warehouses could be dangerous if mishandled, damaged, shaken, etc. Use temperature indicators and shock watches, and the like to reduce the risks of packages leaking or otherwise becoming unstable in transit. Also, use the necessary packaging materials to protect goods during shipping.
Every decision you make can positively impact the sustainability of your supply chain. As such, start today and see what proactive steps you can take.