Friday, February 23, 2024

How operations managers can increase the sustainability of their supply chains

Supply chains can be challenging to make sustainable but by no means impossible. It will require careful thought, planning and strategy to make your supply chain sustainable, and you should factor in all elements of the chain to ensure the best results.

Supply chains are often the biggest source of emissions for a company, so if you’re dedicated to being sustainable, it is crucial to get these emissions down. It is also important to become as low-emission as possible, as it seems likely that regulations will continue to toughen up in the coming years to match the demand and necessity for sustainability in all areas of business.

Work With Sustainable Suppliers

All of the green initiatives in the world won’t amount to much if you partner with suppliers and businesses that don’t share your commitment to sustainability. You should always thoroughly vet a company before you choose to collaborate with them and ensure that they are ethical and responsible in their practices.

Use Electric Vehicles

Transport emissions are one of the biggest contributors to global warming, and much of these emissions come from business and industry. Switching from fuel-based vehicles to electric or hybrid for your freight can make a massive difference. There isn’t yet an abundance of choice available for electric lorries, but innovations are happening every day. Do some research to find the right electric or hybrid vehicles to add to your fleet.

Get Sustainability Training

While doing your own research into supply chain sustainability is crucial, it can also help to get formal training from an expert in the field. There are many options you could choose from, with expert teachers that can help you implement the best possible choices for your supply chain. An online course in business sustainability management could be the ideal choice.

Optimise Space Usage

Warehouses that are too big can be a significant contributor to inefficiency. If you’re storing more inventory than you need, you will be wasting a substantial amount of energy powering the warehouse. It is crucial to understand the demand for your products and ensure you have inventory that meets and does not exceed demand. This requires careful analysis of your sales and both current and historic.

Throw Nothing Away

Having a policy of throwing nothing away can be fantastic for your supply chain sustainability. Almost everything can be reused, saving the business money. You could use food waste to make compost for the greenery outside your warehouse, reuse packaging and boxes, and sell or recycle anything you can’t use yourself.

Map The Most Efficient Routes

The routes your freight drivers take can also make a big difference to sustainability. It is crucial to choose the most fuel-efficient routes, particularly with non-electric vehicles. Investing in sat-nav tech that plans routes around known traffic build-up is a good idea.

This can ensure that the deliveries will be received on time and with the best fuel economy. Google Maps can be an excellent, free option for your drivers, as it shows real-time traffic and re-routes drivers, when necessary, based on bad traffic ahead.

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