10 Tips to Make Your Supply Chain More Eco-Friendly

For years now, we’ve heard about the new trend about transforming your business to “go green”. Companies have been devising new strategies and constantly circumstance monitoring to retain, or improve, efficiency while cutting costs by recycling more and sourcing local products, to name a few.

December 27, 2018
Jani Moisiola

Now, let’s take the green idea a layer deeper. The aforementioned companies are simply consumers of products being churned out of the supply chain of manufacturers. It is vital for the suppliers to implement these green supply chain strategies in their daily production to not only save money, but also pass it down to all their consumers as well. Here are some tips for more eco-friendly logistics:

 

  1. Install low-voltage lights or motion sensors

Warehouses are one of the easiest places to begin incorporating these new green strategies. One method is to install low-voltage lighting in some areas, to reduce energy consumption. You can also consider installing motion sensors or timers on the lighting system. That way, you won’t be losing money while lighting up an area when it is not in work.

  1. Conduct regular safety inspections

By frequently visiting the distribution centers and warehouses, it becomes easier to identify opportunities to renovate places that are in a poor or deteriorating condition. Log the data to keep a record to see the transformation over time. For example: fixing leaky pipes, or incorporating more solar energy panels. Good insulation and decent humidity conditions improve the life-expectancy of buildings and electronics noticeably, not to mention your products! Using a temperature and humidity logger is pretty effortless and cheap these days after all.

  1. Open a regional distribution system

Think about opening regional distribution systems to serve customers on demand, rather than creating a surplus of everything you manufacture. A way of efficiently doing so is through data logging and noting any trends.

  1. Curtail transportation costs

An easy green strategy to implement would be re-assessing your driver’s route and fuel consumption. It becomes easier to find areas to improve your efficiency. Also, consider re-training your drivers to help improve their driving time and skills, while also showing them fuel-saving techniques. New services like Roadcloud can also help account for different weather and traffic situations, allowing adjustments to routes on the fly.

  1. Choose a sustainable material

Make sure that the material you are choosing to replace in your products is something that can be restocked over and over again, and it truly is a “green” product. In cases where truly sustainable materials like wood, paper or fabric cannot be used, going for something that can be completely or almost completely recycled is a good option. If your products are "ageless" in the sense that it can be re-used countless of times, why not offer your customers the option to return used goods to you for a shining, battery change or whatever other maintenance it might need in order to function for years to come?

  1. Be transparent with your customers

One of the most important things you can do for your brand is to always be open with your customers about your green strategies. It helps create a bond of trust between the two of you, and it also motivates them to implement more green methods. Easy-to-read infographics are extremely helpful in keeping customers in the loop. Making your company's green strategies accessible to your customers makes them more likely to adopt them as well, especially if there's something in it for them as well. Maybe you could offer a newer model of a product for a discount price when the old one is returned.

  1. Be always on the hunt for new sources of recycled material

It’s important to continue comparison shopping to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. In many industries, recycled materials are becoming of higher quality all the time. Perhaps your internal operations would allow for more recycling within the company as well.

  1. Intend for your product to fit the recycled material

Ensure your product can function properly with the material you have chosen. If not, it’s a great opportunity to find some creative solution to make your ideas come to life with the material you have access to. On the other hand, it's good to also ensure that

  1. Research companies who have excelled at “greening”

If you can’t think of any possible ideas, take a leaf out of another company’s book! Walmart, for example, has done a tremendous job at greening the company. They have created a sustainability index for its suppliers, to ensure they’re embracing Walmart’s three all-encompassing goals. IKEA is another stellar example, having hundreds of thousands of solar panels powering stores and high percentage of wood sourced from sustained foresters. Not to mention accommodating to the Better Cotton standards!

  1. Take it step by step

Don’t feel overwhelmed about doing it all at once! If you can’t go green on your products, try making the packaging more sustainable. If you can't make the packaging any more sustainable, try reducing the exhaust emissions of your shipping by optimizing the routes. And if your shipping cannot be improved by you, try ensuring your warehouses use as little energy and water as possible. Even the smallest of steps can help make a big impact. Every step towards a greener future is a good one.

Did you enjoy the article? I recommend reading our blog posts on Warehouse Efficiency, Self-Driving Trucks and Reverse Logistics as well. Maybe they'll give you new ideas on a greener supply chain.

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