It’s interesting to see how corporate attention to environmental matters can have a very real impact on the way companies drive efficiency in their supply chains.
No longer than three or four years ago the judges on the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards were challenged to find any real evidence of environmental thinking coming into the planning of logistics activity. This year we had an abundance of creative examples.
Just one area that caught my attention was the way a number of companies were now looking at taking away waste from retail sites using the very same vehicles that were delivering goods to those units. Although it could be argued that this opportunity always existed to remove unnecessary road miles from the equation – making good operational sense and saving money in the process – somehow the focus was never really there to make this connection and effect the change.
The requirement to hit corporate targets on reducing carbon emissions has changed the way organisations view operational improvements of this nature. Whereas in the past they may have seemed too insignificant to warrant consideration, or perhaps management attention was more focused on expansion, times have changed and savings on vehicle usage and road miles can now be seen in terms of a significant win in the fight to reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
The carbon reduction agenda has changed the way finance is allocated to budgets that bring about operational efficiencies in the supply chain, making it easier for logistics managers to confidently put forward projects that may involve some level of capital investment.
This is just one area where environmental thinking has transformed supply chain activity. There are plenty of other examples to hear about at the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards on the 18th November.