Nowadays, the general belief among many companies with logistics operations is that shifting to sustainable solutions is an expensive move. They consider logistics processes as mere costs that ultimately don’t generate any value for the company and its customers. Therefore, they compress these costs as much as possible, selecting solutions based on the lowest price, trying to limit the consumers’ visibility on these elements. But that is assuredly not so, because organizations can still comply with sustainability guidelines and advanced planning tools and maintain a high profit margin.
Ways to achieve sustainability in Connected Logistics
Supply chain sustainability helps to save money, build strong business relationships, and benefits the environment too. Here are the three elements of supply chain sustainability you have to consider:
It involves principles, ethics, morals and philanthropic expectations of the society from a business. When you consider “people” in the supply chain, it not only means company employees, but even vendors, customers, local communities, and society as a whole. To enhance social sustainability, companies have to come up with measurable goals to maximize their positive social impact.
Anstel’s Connected Logistics solutions help to manage assets, gain better control of fleet operations, boost efficiency, and keep tabs on real-time location of vehicles and drivers at all times. Combined with a driver monitoring system, which allows extensive in-cabin monitoring, it is possible to optimize both vehicle and workforce performance. Both devices automatically record daily driving behavioral data, so fleet managers get a clearer overview of their performance. With the aid of alerts, reports, and driver scorecard analytics, managers stay informed of unsafe driving, negligence, driver fatigue, and other problematic behavioral patterns. Alerts are sent to drivers so they can self-correct their driving immediately to prevent incidents on the road.
Thanks to in-depth data being collected from a fleet monitoring system, managers can identify areas of improvement and take action accordingly. Small distractions on the road could lead to fatal accidents, so it is important to enforce safe driving practices. Apart from rectifying driving behavior issues, managers can protect employees, while ensuring safety of other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Training modules can be developed for grooming employees into conscious and responsible drivers.
Cargo theft is a huge problem these days, which leads to millions of dollars in losses! Fleet management software and telematics are excellent tools to zero in on the fleet’s real-time location and get regular updates. With smart IoT enabled GPS tracking devices and sensors in place, fleet managers can keep track of their shipments to prevent theft. In case there is any deviation from the planned route, the update is shared with the concerned person in real-time. The geo-fencing feature triggers alarms if vehicles travel outside designated zones.
It involves protecting the environment from potential harm caused due to supply chain activities like production, storage, packaging, transportation and other minute operations. The more complex a supply chain, the tougher it is, to achieve true sustainability.
It is the era of technology and digitization. All analog supply chain processes are being gradually transformed into digital ones. It is being achieved by establishing dedicated master data that aggregates information from across your entire supply chain, along with information from external sources. Going paperless is a huge part of this trend, as it not only convenient, but also results in making less of a harmful impact on the environment. For instance, technologies like Electronic Data Interchanges (EDIs) can help your procurement team go paperless—Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms help make the procurement function more efficient and reduce waste in the supply chain. Connected Fleet and Logistics solutions collect, process, and record data, so fleet managers can access it anytime. No longer do they have to write down details on paper or keep them in filing cabinets! It helps to save the environment while lowering operational costs.
Asset management directly impacts the viability of your supply chain. Ultimately, how you keep track of maintenance issues and the ways in which you interpret trends and data have real consequences. Review fuel cost trends, source products and raw materials from locations that are near your customers to minimize transportation costs, and schedule jobs so drivers can focus on the same geographical areas. Drivers should submit post-trip inspection reports so you don’t fall behind on maintenance. A regular maintenance schedule has to be adhered to as well. Route optimization is yet another way to make the supply chain more efficient. Mapping out a cost-effective route not only help drivers complete deliveries faster, but minimizes fuel consumption too.
The incremental costs of losses from damage, wasted time and rework often surprise business owners. For example, on its own, a broken pallet or a defective component might not seem like much. Left unattended, however, such waste can easily run into an exorbitant annual expense that could be eliminated from the balance sheet. Create a list of all the moving parts of your inbound and outbound logistics, highlighting those in particular that you know are high-cost areas. Prioritize those items and any others where performance seems to be below expectations.
Green driving and fuel efficiency
While it is necessary for drivers to follow good driving habits to ensure safety, it is also required for eco driving purposes. Drivers can improve gas mileage and emit fewer greenhouse gases by simply avoiding hard accelerations and slamming on the brakes. Reducing idle time can greatly improve fuel efficiency. Another way to consume less fuel is to ensure that drivers stick to planned routes without any deviations. Keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance is also a must, as a well-maintained vehicle is fuel efficient and offers longer life. Most importantly, it minimizes breakdowns that could otherwise delay shipments, spoil the overall schedule, increase fuel consumption, and so on.
It is time to improve and perfect the Last Mile aspect of businesses, by ensuring timely delivery and receipt of goods. What happens when the recipient isn’t present to sign for the package? The shipment is returned to the warehouse, and delivery has to be attempted again the next day. It results in excessive fuel consumption, which means a negative footprint on the environment. It has to be verified (prior to deliveries being attempted) if the recipient is actually present to sign for the shipment, so that delivery failure is reduced and returns are minimized.
Financial or Economic
Last but not least, is profit! Supply chain sustainability is about helping the people your organization touches and the planet on which we live. However, it is also about positioning your organization to be sustainably profitable.
A sustainable supply chain uses products that are built to have a light environmental footprint, last longer and be easily disassembled and remade or transformed for reuse. It helps to reduce costs in the long run, as efforts are focused on efficiency and reduction of waste.
IoT enabled devices and sensors keep monitoring the vehicle, and when a critical event occurs, details are sent immediately for preventive analysis. Driver behavior is monitored as well, so crashes can be prevented, which reduces costs associated with repair and maintenance due to accidents, while preventing injuries and fatalities. The Autonautics platform allows predictive and prescriptive maintenance, which is a more practical approach as opposed to scheduled inspection procedures that are expensive. The moment a problem is detected, the vehicle is sent for repairs, taking care of the issue right away. Moreover, drivers should be instructed to stick to planned routes, while minimizing idle time, in order to reduce fuel consumption, which in turn helps to control costs.
The supply chain is continuously generating data in real-time. Using this information you can streamline ordering processes and manage inventory, which saves a lot of expenses upfront. For instance, you know exactly which product is in stock and what has to be ordered. Thus, you can keep up with customer demand, ensure there is no wastage, and minimize carrying fees too. Implement a just-in-time system of inventory management, so you order and receive inventory as and when it is needed, rather than having to store lots of unused stock.
Ensure on-time deliveries
Route optimization plays an integral role when it comes to logistics. It is imperative to use the data being generated to optimize routes while dispatching jobs to drives. Tracking data of delivery times from pickup to drop-off at the end location lets businesses find out where inefficiencies lie, in order to better plan their routes going forward. The longer the distance between drops, the higher is the cost of delivery, along with wastage of time and effort. By optimizing routes, you ensure timely delivery and reduce fuel consumption too. The more jobs your drivers complete within designated time frames, the lesser is your revenue leakage. Timely deliveries mean client satisfaction and repeat business, instead of disgruntled customers leaving poor reviews and switching over to the competition.
A core tenet of a sustainable supply chain is that socially responsible business practices aren’t just good for the planet and the people who live here, but it can bring concrete benefits for the business too. By creating a sustainable supply chain using Connected Logistics, businesses can implement more impactful and positive changes on their environmental footprint, reduce costs, and improve reputation at the same time.