With increasing awareness about climate change, more and more businesses are rethinking their environmental footprint. Those in the shipping and logistics sectors are transforming their supply chain. The focus is shifting from increased productivity to enhanced sustainability quotient.
This brings us to the importance of best shipping practices. While choosing the latest shipping trends, it is also essential to see that they make your shipping environment more sustainable. Here are six effective steps to help you build a sustainable shipping environment:
Go Green with packaging materials
Reconsider the packaging materials your business uses. Polystyrene foam, paper labels, etc., are all hazardous to the environment and add to your carbon footprint. Polystyrene foam is toxic to environment due to its lethal composition, and it takes hundreds of years to decompose. Choose materials which are eco-friendly, recyclable and cost-effective. Corrugated cardboard is one of the most popular packaging material and also the most recycled. When it comes to labeling, thermal printers are one of the best environment-friendly options available. The thermal labels eliminate the need for ink and packing tape if the current labels lack adhesive backing.
Is it the right size?
Larger-than-required packages are one of the most common errors in shipping environments. They lead to manufacturing of unnecessary packaging material and fillers. And, most of the fillers are neither reusable nor recyclable. Large boxes also take up more space in shipping vehicles. This eventually results in increased fuel usage. Pack smarter to avoid these drawbacks. Use tools such as automated box making machines, to manufacture perfect sized boxes. Right-size packaging saves you resources, money, time, warehouse space, reduces product damage, and also helps improve the environmental bottom line.
Weigh it right
It is crucial that all the packages are weighed accurately before shipping. Also, the loaded trucks should be weighed with good quality weighing scales such as truck scales. Generally, it is advisable that the weight of each package should not exceed 50 pounds, due to safety reasons. If in any case it does exceed, then such packages should be clearly labeled accordingly. If the package contains pallets, then the correct weight is the gross weight of the product and pallet combined. And, this combined weight should not exceed 1,500 pounds. All the packages should be secured with appropriate binding materials.
Identify all your customers who place orders for multiple products. For them, you can ship all the products together in the same container. This will help you save considerably on packaging materials. Many a times, based on orders and their urgency, products are required to be shipped individually. However, whenever you can, make it a point to ship in bulk. This helps reduce freight space wastage as well as fuel consumption.
Improve on Sustainability
To improve the sustainability of supply chain, you must first assess its performance. This enables you to act specifically on the problem points, and devise relevant action plans for the same. If your shipment orders do not fill an entire truck or say a plane, you should definitely opt for co-shipping with other companies. This can fairly reduce fuel costs and also help minimize the environmental footprint of your business. Set benchmarks towards a more sustainable supply chain and involve your employees. Because goals are achieved, better together.
Go digital with your paperwork. This is one of the most crucial steps to minimize waste. There are numerous smart phone applications available which enhance productivity while also boosting the ‘green quotient’ of your warehouse operations. You can almost achieve zero paperwork. The equipment can be associated with electronic signature which allows precision tracking of the shipment as well as failsafe confirmation on delivery. As a result, you will be awarded with an added advantage of faster billing and improved cash flow.
Inculcate these ways and maximize the productivity of your warehouse. You will add value to the environment and profits to your business for sure.
Kevin Hill is Online Marketing Manager at Quality Scales Unlimited