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Supply chain tweaks that can help save the planet

Learn how to help your forward-thinking customers make their supply chains greener.

November 25, 2019

Your customers (and their customers) are more concerned than ever with the environmental effects of doing business. Products are often scrutinized for their source materials or ingredients, and both brand reputation and sales can suffer if a product is manufactured in a way that harms the environment. Today, many are now looking beyond the manufacturing process to include the impact of distributing goods to their final destination. Here are a few ways forward-thinking organizations are creating eco-friendly supply chains.

Liner-free labels
Barcodes remain a vital part of most supply chains and are used widely and in abundance. It’s safe to assume that trillions, if not more, labels have been printed and affixed to various containers over the years. For each label, there was a backing liner that went into the garbage. To curb such waste, linerless rolls are available and being used in applications and industries such as fast food, libraries, medical, pharmaceutical, warehouses and more.

One linerless label use case that is gaining a lot of traction is applying them to totes for picking items in a warehouse. To reduce tote costs, linerless labels eliminate the need to use a cleaning company to remove permanent labels that are difficult to remove after the tote has been used. The label can be easily removed, and the tote put back into circulation.

Electronic receipts
Another trend gaining in popularity is the paperless receipt. As consumers, we’re now frequently given the option to have receipts sent electronically rather than being printed. However, receipts are also used throughout the supply chain, creating numerous opportunities to save time and paper with electronic versions.

Fleet management
Getting products from one place to another takes considerable expense and often comes at the cost of fossil fuel consumption. Many organizations have followed the efficiency examples set by companies like UPS and begun putting computers in charge of fleet management and route optimization. Solutions that account for driver location, traffic, weather, and more can optimize deliverability times, save organizations millions of dollars and reduce the effect on the environment. Additionally, some companies are evaluating electronic vehicles to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Visibility and transparency
Claiming to have a green supply chain with ethically sourced materials is one thing, but it’s another thing to prove it. To grant visibility into the supply chain and track goods from raw material to the end customer, companies can leverage blockchain technology along with IoT sensors.
 
These are just small steps taken by a relatively small part of the overall world economy, but they can lead to big dividends when the masses join together to help with environmental concerns. If you’d like more information on how you can leverage these solutions and help reduce our negative impact on the planet, contact Daryl Schuster, Ingram Micro’s DCPOS and supply chain expert.