Striving for sustainability in the logistics sector with real-time visibility


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Climate change and the environmental impact of human activity present clear challenges for humanity as a whole. New technologies will play a key role in realising sustainable growth and economic models. Nowadays, many companies view sustainability and greener solutions as potential sources of competitive advantage to survive and thrive in this new environment. In this article Sixfold, Europe’s leading independent provider of visibility services, views solutions for how to reduce CO2 in the transportation sector.

Reducing waste and emissions with real-time visibility

Digital technologies can help the logistics industry better manage and track resources, improve efficiency, and collaborate on ambitious environmental goals. Importantly, we can also quantify and measure progress. Overall, digital technologies have the potential to enable a 20% reduction of global CO2 emissions by 2030 according to the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

An emerging solution for transport managers and drivers is real-time predictive visibility of inbound logistics – knowing precisely when a shipment will arrive and if there are delays. Armed with that knowledge, warehouse managers can better plan the use of resources and offloading. And that means trucks with livestock or refrigerated goods are less likely to be stuck in a queue with their carbon-emitting engines ticking over waiting to be unloaded.

According to Gartner, visibility across the end-to-end supply chain became one of the most important supply chain initiatives in 2019 because the implementation of a visibility platform leads to reduced costs, waste, and emissions.

Smart logistics to transform how goods are transported into the city

In Europe, much legislation is being written to protect inner cities from big polluting trucks. Companies need to rethink their transportation logistics or soon they will not be allowed to drive into cities. Instead, goods will have to be cross docked somewhere in the suburbs. There is a need for a new structure on how to bring goods into the city and most likely this will happen with small sprinter electric vans. 

Furthermore, the new structure requires a state-of-the-art distribution solution. According to Sixfold, with the help of a real-time visibility platform, warehouse managers can achieve up to 30% productivity gains as well as significant reductions in carbon emissions of trucks waiting to be unloaded. All of this can be achieved through the applied use of smart logistics and better programming of resources for timely offloading.

Reducing empty kilometres through digitalisation

According to a report from the international organisation Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), “truck transports account for about 25% of global transport energy use and in Europe a quarter of containers on the road are empty.” The UK transport industry alone could save over 40 million miles of empty journeys by making better use of spare vehicle capacity and thereby lower the unnecessary CO2 emissions. The same applies to Germany’s logistics industry where every fifth run is empty mileage. Thanks to real-time visibility, shippers can identify round-trip opportunities and eliminate piling empty miles.

Visibility to support co-loading and achieve “green” transportation

With the constant race for better and faster services, the transportation sector is also witnessing a rapid increase in customer expectations for delivery speed and quality. Handling over 30,000 keeping units that customers can order till 9 pm and delivering them the next morning is challenging to organise for production companies or wholesalers. Co-loading – the consolidation of shipments across multiple companies on the same transportation vehicles – could help tackle these challenges and make the transportation of ordered goods that much more “green.”

Visibility has become a core part of logistics technology. It plays a complementary function that supports transportation management, warehouse management, yard management and fleet management. Due to the nature of the task, co-loading needs those integrations for efficient execution. Today, shippers lack visibility over their shipments and lack vital data for smarter transport management. There is no access to the knowledge necessary for “green” transportation planning, which has become a crucial goal for companies to play their part in tackling climate change. Real-time visibility provides a comprehensive solution to this problem.

Original article published on Sixfold’s website. 


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