Reducing emissions requires efficient supply chain solutions
Published on 3 March 2022
In November 2021, the United States Department of State and the United States Executive Office of the President released a new long-term strategy for reducing CO2 emissions. The report laid out the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2050, which will require significant change, adaptation, and transformation across almost every sector, and in particular the manufacturing and transport industries.
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These ambitious targets build on last year’s summit, where the US pledged to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% in 2030, in line with the European Council’s requirements. According to experts around the world, these new, increased goals are essential when it comes to meeting objectives set for the middle of the 21st century.
Around the world, the food and beverage sector is responsible for about one third of all greenhouse gas emissions, largely due to their complex supply chains. Without taking significant action to address supply chain emissions, meeting emissions targets will be a challenge. Mitigation efforts will require a significant shift in the way supply chain issues are considered within the sector, particularly when it comes to agriculture and land use.
The largest direct source of greenhouse gas emissions, is the US transportation sector, having overtaken the power sector back in 2015. It is responsible for 29% of all US greenhouse gas emissions, according to an EPA report released in 2021. As part of the drive towards Net Zero, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks in December 2021. This set a target of 50% of cars and light trucks to be zero-emissions by 2030 and directed NHTSA to finalize emissions targets for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by December 2022.
These strategies, targets, and directives are a clear indication that the US approach to CO2 emissions is hardening, and that decisions are being made that will have significant impacts on those responsible for supply chains.
However, reducing emissions is not solely linked to vehicles, and clean technologies and lower-emission cars and trucks cannot be the only solution, even in the transportation sector. A huge part of achieving these ambitious goals will come from significant improvement in efficiency throughout the entire logistics process, including, of course, the decisive areas of warehouse and transport management. Warehouse management solutions (WMS) and transport management solutions (TMS) have become key elements that not only improve general efficiency, but are also essential to creating a more effective and seamless supply chain process, optimizing transportation and, in turn, reducing emissions.
Warehouse management solutions
The warehouse is the heart of the entire logistics system, and its management has a direct impact on the rest of the links in the supply chain including, unsurprisingly, on transportation. An effective WMS not only guarantees more efficient use of physical warehouse space but also optimizes the movement of goods and materials inside the warehouse, ensuring cost savings and reduction of emissions right from the outset. But a WMS is not just about managing what goes on in the warehouse itself. It improves the organization of transportation and creates significant improvements in this area by synchronizing warehouse operations with arrivals and departures of carriers, transferring the newfound efficiency of the warehouse to transport, and onwards to the entire supply chain.
Transportation Management Solutions
Increased focus on emissions and environmental improvements reinforces the strategic value of TMS tools as well. According to analysis by Gartner and Supply Chain Digest, among others, TMS tools can offer immediate savings of anywhere between 15% (for the annual transport costs) and 30% (for personnel and management). Greater efficiency also undoubtedly has an effect on the reduction of emissions throughout the entire logistics chain. The two-pronged benefits of using technology to improve your supply chain operations is a decisive element for companies in the immediate future.
Transportation and Climate Initiative
Many leading companies looking to take proactive and practical steps towards decarbonization participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a scheme similar to the European Lean & Green platform. The TCI is a regional collaboration of 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy, and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
As with the Lean & Green initiative in Europe, many companies who operate under the jurisdiction of the TCI take advantage of Generix’s WMS and TMS solutions to achieve greater efficiencies in warehouse and transportation management; solutions without which it would be extremely difficult to reduce and ameliorate the energy costs of transport.
In short, logistics is in the process of a significant transformation to meet the demands of an increasingly demanding market, as well as to address environmental targets and requirements. There are a number of technological tools already standard in the world of logistics that have completely changed the productivity of the sector, and which will be essential to be able to take the next steps towards productivity, efficiency, and decarbonization.
For the manufacturing and transport industries, the path to Net Zero does not have to be a painful one. The tools and processes that are vital for reducing emissions also come with significant benefits and improvements for productivity and efficiency.
Supply chains are central to the fight against climate change. Decarbonization and emission reduction efforts also help improve sustainability, as well as making supply chains more resilient for the future.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint through our solutions, contact us!
Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.