Strategies for Eco-Friendly Shipping Services
Find out how Eco-friendly shipping services can boost your business while moving towards a greener future in logistics.
Logistics and supply chain are our lifeline to the goods and services we use every day, yet many still don’t think about the effect shipping services have on our environment.
Fortunately, this new generation of entrepreneurs and consumers is very Eco-minded. Trucks, trains, planes and massive ocean liners spew chemicals, use fossil fuels and blight our landscape – it’s time for more eco-friendly shipping services that are just as fast and reliable as the environmentally-unfriendly methods we’ve used until now. Let’s explore the concept of green logistics, and how it can be used for Eco-friendly shipping services with a relatively low financial investment.
What are Green Logistics?
Green logistics means minimizing the environmental impact usually associated with the shipping process. Green logistics practices manage everything from waste disposal, packing and recycling, to reduction of energy output and fuel consumption – making them more eco-friendly at every step of the process. There are a few practical ways businesses have been investing in green logistics, all easy to implement and inexpensive, letting you pass the savings on to the customer.
eCommerce & 3PL
Let’s say you decided to start an eCommerce business selling awesome products, but you have to deliver them in a way that your customers like.
Speed, availability, and cost are three extremely important aspects of your business and specifically your shipping. They can make or break an online store.
Click here to learn the good, bad, and potential reasons to choose drop-shipping, self-fulfillment, and 3PL partnerships.
Get closer to the customer with pop-up warehouses
Most traditional warehouses were constructed in central locations, requiring trucks, trains and delivery vehicles to travel long distances to reach both the warehouse and the customer. Save money and reduce reliance on fuel by getting closer to your customers with pop-up warehouses, nearer to your customer base. The rent you pay for the space will be offset by the reduced amount of fuel and power you will use, and faster delivery times will delight customers.
Use alternative vehicle or fuel technologies
Many businesses who rely on shipping and delivery are already planning to incorporate or completely replace their fleet of delivery vehicles with new, eco-friendly alternative vehicles or fuel technologies. “The last mile remains the biggest challenge both economically and ecologically in e-Commerce, ” said Isaac Hellemn, Brand Manager at P&G. Last mile sustainability has been an increasing focus in the United States and Europe, with 74% and 82% of logistics leaders prioritizing and championing the process.
Optimize on-site resources, planning, and execution
It takes a lot of “yard logistics” to move boxes, packages or pallets between ships, trucks and trains. Maintain your equipment for a smoother and safer option, and plan your loading and unloading process to be as efficient as possible. Greater efficiency and well oiled-machines mean less down-time due to breakage, more productive employees, and a reduction of cost and carbon emissions. It’s important to give some thought to developing a safety management system, and incorporating safety best practices into your new processes, to protect your employees and business.
Leverage a route-planning system
Planning a route for your delivery drivers is critical to saving money and reducing your eco-footprint. Faster and more organized routes mean less reliance on expensive fuel, and less impact on the environment due to exhaust and fuel consumption. Route-planning technology is so inexpensive, it could pay for itself in weeks or even days. But you don’t need technology to plan the best route. Take time to plan each delivery route for maximum coverage and shortest amount of time on the road, and watch profits and customer satisfaction soar.
Lighten the load
Lighten the load by consolidating shipments into the same boxes, and only sending out truck-loads when all space is full. Packing each truck efficiently with no wasted space, means less trucks on the road and less fuel used to deliver products. Another way people are lightening the load is by optimizing shipping pallet choices. Wood pallets can weigh up to 80 pounds, taking up a large amount of space and increasing truck weight. Plastic pallets can hold just as much, but weigh 50 pounds less. They are also recyclable, and reusable, further reducing the cost of your logistics operations.
Eliminate unnecessary trips
Some companies are using “engine shutdown” policies, to help drivers stop wasting fuel due to idling. Or, consider offering your customers more shipping options, or connect them to the USPS shipping calculator for clear information on cost and speed of shipment. By relying on you for shipping, customers eliminate unnecessary trips to the post office or the store. Show your customers that you can provide their products fast and reliably, and reduce both your companies, and your customers carbon footprint on the earth.
Customers love working with businesses who prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly shipping policies. There are so many ways to make a business more sustainable, by focusing on waste, clean energy and recycling, but eco-izing your shipping process has proven to be where businesses save the most money, and customers get the most satisfaction. Rethink your shipping strategies today for a brighter, more profitable and cleaner tomorrow.