With global warming and ethical sourcing concerns on the rise, the environmental impact of businesses has attracted an unprecedented amount of attention. In light of this growing awareness, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a priority for firms worldwide—and sustainable practices are a vital component of the effort.
Many logistics teams continue to seek scalable solutions for simplifying supply chain sustainability. According to a 2019 Gartner survey, 30% of supply chain leaders said they have no or low-maturity supply chain sustainability initiatives, citing obstacles to supply chain sustainability.
Monitoring and limiting the environmental harm of supply lines can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to global supply chains. That’s where logistics technology comes in: it not only helps firms tackle challenges like labor shortages, but also offers intuitive environmental protections.
With transportation management systems (TMS) and business intelligence insights, logistics teams can support sustainable supply chains by reimagining everyday workflows. These logistics tools offer teams crucial support and cost savings on fuel and paper while improving overall supply chain efficiency.
Data spurs innovation
Streamlined workflows are a good starting point for companies looking to reduce waste and limit carbon emissions. Business intelligence can steer firms in the right direction by providing visibility into the inefficiencies of their shipping processes. This strategic data offers logistics teams insights into supply chain performance and highlights opportunities for continuous improvement.
Key data on shipping activities can enable valuable innovation—but business intelligence goes even further. Through performance forecasting, business intelligence allows companies to see how fuel prices vary with different distribution scenarios. Moreover, logistics teams can consider the amount of fuel necessary for different shipping routes, and select the plan that minimizes costs, time-to-delivery, and environmental impact.
Online payments preserve paper
Supply chain management involves a lot of paperwork: invoices, carrier contracts, and bills of lading (BoLs), to name a few. Fortunately, forward-thinking technology—such as TMSes—can digitize logistics workflows, reducing both paper usage and the burden on supply chain managers. TMSes are compatible with a range of online payment methods, including ACH and EDI.
With this technology, logistics teams can bid paper invoicing goodbye. Instead, they can conveniently carry out freight payment, data entry and lookup, and invoicing online—as well as digitally initiate and email BoLs. With a TMS, logistics leaders can even file carrier claims electronically, cultivating sustainable supply chains while saving time along the way.
Optimized shipping reduces fuel use
By addressing fuel use, firms can substantially reduce their environmental footprint. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the American transportation sector released around 423 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2020 alone.
Improving shipping efficiency can lower transportation costs, save fuel, and minimize the carbon footprint of supply chains. By analyzing shipping variables and making budget- and fuel-friendly decisions, TMSes can optimize shipping flows and create more sustainable supply chains.
TMSes also allow logistics teams to switch flexibly between shipping modes, resulting in even more energy savings. Easily transition between the ocean, air, and roads as fuel- and time-efficient routes are identified in real time. In addition, by streamlining order aggregation and carrier selection, TMSes ensure that supply chains operate at optimal efficiency.
Ethical carriers support sustainability goals
One major obstacle for logistics teams is disorganization. When carrier contract details lie scattered across spreadsheets, logistics teams can be hard-pressed to ensure the fulfillment of sustainability clauses. With a TMS, however, logistics teams can rest assured that carrier contracts—as well as their sustainability stipulations—are clear and organized.
Consider greenhouse gas emissions, for example—a priority for many environmental directives. By consolidating shipping data, TMSes can help logistics teams oversee carrier behavior. With this resource, logistics teams simply reference statistics to select carriers with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions—a far more manageable approach to building sustainable supply chains.
Automation saves resources
Automation technology, by reducing carbon footprints and promoting productivity, is already transforming the way supply chains operate. In Norway, the first autonomous container ship recently completed its first successful voyage. This vessel’s groundbreaking technology has the potential to eliminate 40,000 diesel truck trips each year—a powerful testament to the environmental benefits of automation.
Automation can also transform the management side of supply chains. TMSes automate many labor-intensive tasks associated with supply chain oversight, including order confirmation, carrier selection, and BoL distribution. By radically improving efficiency and accuracy, TMSes save workers time, allowing them to focus on implementing sustainability objectives.
A greener future awaits
Ambitious goals call for dramatic action. Building sustainable supply chains requires 21st-century tools that can drive new, creative approaches to supply chain management. For businesses looking to fulfill CSR through sustainability initiatives, logistics technology offers a scalable way forward. With TMSes and business intelligence, companies of all sizes can enjoy built-in sustainability assistance—and easy implementation.
CTSI-Global’s wide selection of advanced logistics products helps supply chain leaders seamlessly implement sustainable practices. From our in-house transportation management system, Honeybee TMS, to our versatile Strategic Data solutions, our technology helps companies regain control of their supply chains through complete oversight and data-driven insights. Businesses turn to us to minimize their environmental impact, uphold ethical behavior through transparency, and identify opportunities to streamline shipping flows.
With the right technology, you can lead the way toward a more sustainable future. Contact us today.