Use Technology for More Sustainable Supply Chain

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Companies in the supply chain industry are increasingly turning to technology solutions to help streamline their operations and make themselves more environmentally friendly.

For shippers and transportation buyers, this might mean investing in online tools that allow real-time shipment tracking. It can also mean collaborating with logistics buyers to incorporate new tools like route optimization software or automated shipment notifications.

Technology solution providers are also stepping up their game, offering inventory management software products that utilize IoT sensors and predictive analytics to maximize resource efficiency.

Ultimately, using technology in the supply chain effectively is a win-win proposition: helping companies meet their sustainability goals while also boosting their bottom line.

In this guide we will explore some of the ways to use technology and make the supply chain more environmentally friendly.

5 Ways Technology Makes the Supply Chain Environmentally Friendlier

Supply chains are responsible for huge pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, water, air pollution, and toxic waste. To reduce the damage, here are five ways in which technology can play a role:

1. Tracking Shipments in Real Time

One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to improve supply chain visibility, which allows you to make better decisions about how and when to move goods.

Real-time tracking tools enable you to monitor shipments closely, and proactively address any issues that may arise along the way, reducing the need for air and ground transportation.

But how does this help make your supply chain environmentally friendlier?

Real-time tracking helps you avoid situations where goods are sitting in a warehouse or on a truck because they were not delivered on time. This results in less fuel consumption and fewer emissions.

Many modern tracking solutions also incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning, which can analyze data to predict delays or identify areas of improvement. This allows you to optimize your operations and reduce waste.

2. Utilizing Route Optimization Software

Another way to make the supply chain more environmentally friendly is by optimizing your routes with route optimization software.

You can use this technology to identify the most efficient way to move shipments from origin to destination, cutting down on unnecessary mileage and reducing fuel consumption.

It’s important to note that you can also use route optimization software in reverse. If you deliver goods from multiple locations or consolidate shipments, it can help you arrange pickup and drop-off times and reduce the number of vehicles required.

In addition to optimizing routes, many logistics technology providers offer transportation management systems that incorporate various other tools, including shipment notifications, load planning, and predictive analytics.

3.  Using ESG software solutions

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) programs are vital for a sustainable supply chain, and software solutions play a crucial role in supporting ESG initiatives. These tools help companies monitor environmental performance, optimize resource utilization, and reduce energy consumption. 

Efficient inventory management and predictive analytics minimize waste. ESG programs also encompass social responsibility and governance, ensuring compliance with fair labor practices and ethical sourcing. Implementing responsible practices and the latest technology makes companies contribute to a sustainable future in the supply chain.

4. Carbon Footprint Anticipation and Measurement

Another useful tool for reducing the supply chain’s carbon footprint are systems that allow you to anticipate and measure your carbon emissions at every stage of the process.

This can help you identify areas where you might be able to make improvements and take proactive steps to lower your environmental impact. A good example of this is GPS tracking to monitor and optimize your fleet’s fuel consumption.

5. Integrating IoT sensors into warehouse operations

As more and more supply chain operations become automated and digitized, IoT sensors are becoming more widespread.

These sensors can monitor warehouse conditions in real-time, allowing you to maximize efficiency and reduce waste.

For example, if a sensor detects a door has been left open, it can trigger an alert to close the door and save energy. Moreover, it can help you track inaccurate or missing inventory, improve asset utilization, and reduce waste.

Final Thoughts

Technology has emerged as a powerful ally in transforming the supply chain into a more environmentally friendly and sustainable ecosystem. We have looked into tools that enable companies to minimize their carbon footprint, reduce waste, and enhance resource efficiency — these technological advancements enable better decision-making, proactive problem-solving, and improved operational effectiveness.

Embracing ESG principles and integrating software solutions further reinforces the commitment to sustainable practices. It is through taking the environmental, social, and governance aspects of the supply chain into account that companies foster transparency, accountability, and ethical operations. This holistic approach ensures a greener future while simultaneously driving operational efficiency and cost savings.

As the supply chain industry continues to evolve, the effective use of technology and the integration of sustainable practices will be critical for companies to thrive in the rapidly changing business landscape. Capitalizing on the potential of technology enables organizations to forge a path towards a more environmentally friendly — and socially responsible — supply chain, one that benefits both the planet and their bottom line.

Author

Bryan Christiansen

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy-to-use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.

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