What does being green mean for a logistics company? Not only do companies need to consider the emissions and air pollutants that their trucking fleets emit into the atmosphere, but to be a green logistics company, they need to think about other the external costs of logistics associated with climate change such as noise pollution, vibrations and vehicle accidents.
Logistics companies need to balance the demands of the suppliers, the shippers, and even the end consumers. These requirements fall into three categories, economy, society, and environment. Before environmental awareness occurred in the United States, logistics companies focused only on economy and society. The textbook definition was a company providing management over the flow of products and materials between the original supplier to end-user destination. A logistics company typically manages the shipping, inventory, warehousing, packaging and security functions for shipments. As demands for the entire supply chain change to be more environmentally conscious, so do these applications impact logistics companies.
Logistics has five starting points to implement measures for environmental protection and resource conservation:
Customer, market, and product
Shipping products that have wasteful packaging is counterproductive to helping make the logistics supply chain greener. It needs to start with the manufacturers, and the customers need to be made aware of the need to use environmentally friendly products and packaging.
Structures and planning
Logistics companies can often reduce their footprint by implementing time-saving protocol. For example, a customer might only have half a load’s worth of product and can wait a few days. The logistics company can then combine multiple customer partial loads into one full load. This economizes the truck driver’s time, saves on fuel cost and vehicle wear-and-tear, and is better for the environment because it uses less fuel.
Processes, control, and measurement
Identifying the drivers of waste can lead to more efficient and environmentally friendly logistics. Once they are identified, they can be examined to figure out where the opportunity for change occurs. There is a lot of waste grandfathered into many corporations, even lean logistics companies.
Technologies and resources
Thanks to Big Data, companies now have the ability to measure and track loads in a whole new way. Advances in eco-friendly engines provide efficient methods to transport shippers’ loads.
Employees, suppliers and service providers
Getting everyone on board is key to making any cultural changes. It needs to first start with the leadership. Once the entire company observes the new methods and beliefs being used by the c-suite, everyone will follow suit.