Since there are a growing number of online shoppers, their preferences are also shifting toward sustainability. Therefore, many companies are improving their supply chain and logistics systems to meet customer expectations and stay competitive.
One such initiative taken by the logistics industry is green logistics. It involves eco-friendly measures that leave a minimal environmental impact. The right green supply chain practices can also help to reduce the overall delivery cost and make daily operations more feasible.
In this blog, we will learn what green logistics is, along with its benefits and challenges, and how to adapt to eco-friendly delivery services.
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What is Green Logistics?
Basically, it is the process of following best practices to minimize the environmental impact through improved logistics and delivery process. Green logistics, also known as Eco-logistics, includes eco-friendly strategies to simultaneously lower carbon footprint and overhead costs.
The goal of green logistics is to improve business operations and the organization’s sustainability through eco-friendly deliveries. By adopting environment-friendly deliveries, a company can lower carbon emissions by reducing the number of vehicles and maximizing their energy efficiency.
The concept of cost-effective, green logistics aims to maintain economic and ecological balance. This is why companies are being advised to amend their business policies and add green logistics solutions to let the world thrive along with their businesses.
What is the Purpose of Green Logistics?
The basic purpose of imposing green logistics over traditional last-mile logistics operations are:
1. Measuring and reducing the carbon footprint
Sustainable logistics practices can help companies to realize the carbon footprint they are leaving behind. In this way, the companies can work their way out to reduce these footprints gradually.
The most preferable and widespread methodology for tracking greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption is within the UNE-EN-16258:2013 international standard.
2. Reducing all forms of pollution
One of the major goals of green logistics operations is to reduce or eliminate air, water, noise, and soil pollution in each of the fields of the logistics business.
The transportation areas are implementing major changes, especially in their areas of operations. Vehicle efficiency can help to improve overall energy savings.
3. Recycling and reusing supplies
Green logistics promotes the reusability of existing containers for distribution and storage purposes. The cartons and boxes that the customers send back with their return items are often reused with amendments.
The packaging supplies such as thermocol, air pouches, and wrapping stickers are recycled and remanufactured for continuity of usage without spending money on acquiring more raw materials to manufacture them.
4. Reduce the supply chain costs
With the eco-friendly strategy, the brand representation will be improved at less expense. The environmental-friendly practices in the logistics sector will eventually cost less with lower fuel costs, packaging costs, and fewer labor expenses.
This way, the entire process of a business’s supply management is improved with sustainable logistics practices.
4 Ways to Adopt Green Logistics
Here are evident measures that retailers can take to switch to an eco-friendly logistics chain:
1. Optimize your delivery process
Since Manually created routes are longer and unoptimized for trucks to long-haul deliveries, optimizing your delivery process can help implementing green logistics. It would be best to utilize automated route planning software like Upper Route Planner to correct this flaw.
The optimized routes will help to reduce the number of delivery trips thereby saving fuel consumption. It will also help to reduce emissions thus decreasing the carbon footprint of the logistics industry. Thus, Upper Route Planner is one of the most crucial green logistics strategies that you must implement.
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2. Incentivize sustainable delivery options
On-demand and one-day delivery are often a downfall for the environment and the logistics company that wants to become sustainable. It is because on-demand delivery vehicles don’t head out for delivery with their maximum capacity, which eventually costs a lot to the business.
Customers will accept the fact to get the order a bit late in exchange for some discount. Give them an incentive as an offer or discount for choosing a sustainable delivery option, and most of the customers will pick it.
3. Use e-bikes for urban logistics and smaller deliveries
E-bikes are a great alternative for smaller deliveries because they are more efficient for navigating through congested streets. The use of e-bikes for urban logistics also reduces traffic congestion. So, local deliveries in nearby urban areas can be done on a bike, bicycle, or foot, depending on the delivery distance or urgency.
Bicycle and foot delivery are ideal ways to reduce emissions and promote the health of delivery persons. Implementing the same immediately is difficult, but soon more companies will start this initiative.
4. Dispatch the electric vehicles first
To meet the delivery demands, businesses are rapidly shifting to electric vehicles (EVs) or light commercial vehicles (LCVs). EV fleets are increasingly diverse as they have lower operating costs and less downtime.
So, program your fleet management algorithm to prioritize the delivery of electric vehicles first. As EV vehicles cannot commute farther distances, make sure you use route planner for feasible routes.
Benefits of Switching to Green Logistics
Green logistics is one of the many robust initiatives to control the worsening ecological impact. Modern logistics technologies can help to analyze retail supply chains and delivery data across businesses.
The newcomers to the industry should be aware of the major impact they will experience when they switch to environmental sustainability solutions or green logistics, which includes:
1. Eradicates greenhouse gas emissions
The most thought benefit is that it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The players within this industry are now lowering their energy consumption efficiency and are optimizing delivery operations to reduce carbon emissions.
Another way to contribute to green logistics is by setting up fulfillment centers near the delivery location. It will cut transportation-related emissions and costs, offering the extra advantage of fast and affordable shipping.
2. Minimizing waste
Waste management is the next perk of adapting eco-friendly logistics. Most companies use digital means for documentation, maintaining records, and collecting e-signatures with dedicated software like Upper Route Planner.
With such measures, the amount of waste generated reduces as paper-file keeping is not primarily preferable anymore. Such practices solve one of the major environmental issues and also streamline the business by storing all the information under one central dashboard.
3. Promotes customer awareness
Consumers are now concerned about their contribution towards minimizing carbon footprints. Therefore, they are looking for eco-friendly brands following the same considerations towards maintaining good environmental health.
Modern brands with environmental policies in their core operations can create awareness among customers to protect the environment. They can also spread the word among people who aren’t yet alarmed by environmental degradation.
4. Boosts brand reputation
Lining up your business with sustainable values is the perfect way to build customer trust and improve brand reputation. Implementing environmental logistics to your supply chain draws positive attention from the customers. Moreover, the customers are even ready to pay more and buy from eco-friendly brands.
Following these initiatives and sustainable practices will help you become an eco-conscious retailer. It ultimately leads to more sales giving an identity and competitive edge to your business.
Challenges Faced by Companies implementing Green Logistics
It is really good to know that there is a policy out there that is convincing the efficient logistics processes to go green. But, the logistics companies have expressed their problems with switching and implementing these environmental policies. Even though they want to contribute to the fullest, some challenges are blocking their way, and those challenges are:
1. Finding an alternative to fossil fuels
It is difficult for the industry to find any viable alternative to fossil fuels to switch fuel consumption aspects and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, it is a mandate for them to use the available fuel sources, which are not eco-friendly.
The research experts are still in search of fuel alternatives to help transportation companies conduct their operations without hampering the environment.
2. Management of complex supply chains
The bigger companies that send out many different products have a very complex system. A single product can have many suppliers, manufacturers, and materials alongside its supply chain.
The complexity of imposing sustainability criteria to promote environmental protection is meeting the expectations of customers. All of the elements of a product’s supply chain need to be tracked for the degree of sustainability, which is expensive and daunting.
3. High chances of initial errors
Introducing new eco-logistics or green logistics and business sustainability will increase the risk of mistakes at the initial adaptation stage. And the only reason for the high chances of error can be a lack of knowledge about green technology.
The slightest mistake in overall management can lead to product waste, transportation planning errors, increased pollution levels, and other financial losses.
4. Convincing suppliers and manufacturers to be sustainable
It is one of the common challenges of imposing sustainability measures on the existing supply chain management. To become wholly sustainable logistics providers, you must also bring the suppliers and manufacturers on board.
Well, not all of the role players within the business are convinced to spend money on switching to sustainability, at least not yet. There is still time for the entire world to understand the importance of environmental protection.
5. Lack of financial support
One of the obstacles in logistics implementation is the high investment cost of advanced technologies. For example, many governments do not provide special loans to support companies for eco-friendly operations.
This is why there is a need to educate consumers and business owners about the importance of adopting environmentally friendly policies to reach sustainable development.
Performing Eco-friendly Deliveries is Easier with Upper
The route optimization software is an excellent option for cutting logistical expenses. Upper being the finest route planning software, is more than just a cost-effective investment that a business can make. It is also known to minimize delivery time, increase efficiency, and lower the carbon footprint of vehicles.
The route planner automatically assigns routes to multiple drivers, reducing manual paperwork. Following the most optimized delivery routes can improve operational efficiency and help you switch to sustainable and eco-friendly deliveries.
Upper’s automated process ensures that your drivers spend minimum time on the road by its unique routing features. Just like switching to eco-friendly vehicles is important, using a route planner can equally contribute in developing sustainable delivery processing.
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Green logistics processes are whereby logistics operations and supply chain management are revolutionizing environmental policy. Whereas, reverse logistics is the operational process of reusing and recycling materials within the logistics company.
The ways with which you can cut costs through eco-friendly logistics are:
- Eliminate the use of paper stationeries for keeping records.
- Introduce more fulfillment centers near delivery locations to save fuel.
- Use digital route planning software.
- Provide electric vehicles for delivery.
- Batch the delivery of goods to increase the drop density.
- Supply power to distribution centers through green energy sources like solar or wind.
- Offer discounts to loyal customers.
Some of the advantages of green logistics are listed below:
- Reduces emission of gas
- Increases customer awareness
- Minimizes waste disposal
- Boosts brand reputation
Last-mile delivery companies should focus on making their logistics operations more sustainable. Sustainability can be achieved by adopting green logistics. It includes eco-friendly practices that benefit our world and the company’s future.
Seeing the complexity of deliveries, it becomes important to automate the process. Upper is an automated system that optimizes delivery routes to lower fuel consumption, thus reducing environmental impact. By making sustainability a priority, companies not only switch to green logistics but also reduce time, fuel, and miles spent on deliveries.
You can book a demo today to find out how your logistics business can perform optimally with our software.