The shipping industry must use technology and digitization to optimize operations and achieve their sustainability goals.
What’s in this article:
How to gain sustainability through digitalization and technology.
Sustainability and an ecological conscience can be profitable
Some tips to become greener
The pressure on shippers is rarely as high as it is in current times. Besides high shipping rates, container shortage, and port congestion, sustainability is quickly becoming a cause for concern, considering the regulatory compulsion that comes along with it. Managing environmental goals, fulfilling customer expectations, and ensuring a profit margin is a great challenge for shippers.
In order to stay competitive in the market, shippers need to be agile and adapt to new trends. Digital transformation is a key point to gain visibility within the company’s supply chain and internal operations. Only with complete transparency is it possible to increase efficiency and meet sustainability goals in the future.
Through cloud technologies, shippers can connect their network with stakeholders within their supply chain. Understanding the suppliers’ perspective can make decision-making easier to meet environmental ambitions of shippers. Furthermore, supply chain visibility enables more efficient shipping operations. With better visibility, shippers can decide on sustainable ways to ship goods. This is critical as shippers committed to sustainability tend to have a better brand image with vendors and customers. A business that mandates shipping policies targeted at reducing ecological impact will inevitably be better positioned in the market.
Here are five of the most immediate actions that shippers can take to meet their sustainability goals in the future:
Delivery and Last-Mile Solutions
E-commerce has started a revolution in deliveries, translating into yet another challenge for logistics stakeholders, especially with the last-mile. As companies experiment with making the delivery processes more efficient, both in time and cost, countless last-mile solutions are also mushrooming in the space. For example, human and electric-powered bicycles, droids, combination drones, trucks, and collaborative cargo platforms are technology-based solutions that profoundly impact last-mile shipping. Consciously using this type of transport improves the customer experience and is also more sustainable than traditional solutions.
Another challenge to overcome in logistics is returns. The fact that returned products cannot be easily repackaged and sold has raised concerns. This has increased the interest of organizations to implement reverse logistics and end-of-life management in a much more sustainable way. To reduce the environmental footprint and costs, shippers need to adopt a sustainable reverse logistics method.
E-commerce benefits as manufacturers find new ways to convert their by-products and waste into new products through under-recycling or partnerships with other companies.
Furthermore, e-commerce benefits as manufacturers find new ways to convert their by-products and waste into new products through under-recycling or partnerships with other companies. The under-recycling concept refers to the waste recycling process where the new material has lower functionality and quality than the original material.
Freight Transportation Sustainability
Freight transportation in the first mile and the middle section is a vital component of logistics. Trucking has faced many historical challenges in going greener. Battery technology is still holding back the massive deployment of heavy-duty electric trucks for long-haul operations, but transition to digital technologies is allowing companies to manage traditional transport more efficiently. For example, sensors that enable cargo tracking through apps, smart grids, and route planning software change how shipments are handled.
Most shippers need a warehouse where they store their products and prepare the orders that customers place. Through proper management, numerous tasks carried out in the warehouse can be optimized to reduce their environmental impact. Through warehouse management software and data streamlining, processes can be automated and optimized.
One of the most interesting points to achieve a more significant ecological commitment is the reduction of the electrical consumption of the warehouse. This can be achieved in many ways, such as taking advantage of sunlight coming through doors or windows, using energy-efficient lighting, using renewable energy (such as solar panels), and investing in energy-efficient machinery.
Supply Chain Sustainability
Intelligent and sustainable supply chains require an industry-wide effort, but is principally the best way to reduce the impact logistics has on the environment. Sustainability strategies include ethical sourcing practices and closed-loop manufacturing to energy efficiency, reduced fuel emissions, and waste disposal and recycling. Current technologies like big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and robotics drive a revolution in supply chain efficiency behind online sales.
Adapting operations to curb their carbon footprint and ergo, their impact on the environment, will help companies in creating trust and loyalty amongst its customer base.
Government regulations today are directed towards achieving greater sustainability that leaves future generations a clean and healthy natural environment. Adapting operations to curb their carbon footprint and ergo, their impact on the environment, will help companies in creating trust and loyalty amongst its customer base. In essence, shippers must adapt processes to remain competitive, and putting a focus on visibility and sustainability will eventually help them get there.