As we wade through the aftermath of the disaster in the Gulf, there is resurgence in discussions about how to protect the environment and whose responsibility it is to do so. Big businesses, once regarded as corporate giants with no identities, have long since taken on personas and play an integral role in our daily lives. Companies like McDonald’s, GE and FedEx spend a great deal of time, energy and money on how their image is perceived. People expect businesses to act as socially and environmentally responsible citizens. Going green sets a positive example for employees and prospective customers, and increases morale with a cleaner and healthier work environment. Leaders are coming to understand that being good to the environment can be good for the bottom line.
Many large corporations are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint:
- GE and Wal-Mart understand that people want more efficient, cleaner products.
- FedEx Airport Operations in Oakland, California is almost entirely supported by solar power.
- Bank of America is developing green technology (such as an eco-friendly credit card) and electronic banking
- Other green companies include McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch, Continental Airlines and DuPont.
The supply chain, an integral part of most businesses, is where going green can offer the most long-term benefits. By cutting down on consumption, going green allows increased efficiency, improved service, and lower operating costs. Businesses can cut down on packaging materials and condense their orders to have more concentrated shipments. The greatest impact going green in one’s supply chain will have is the overall reduction in waste.
A business who manufacturers and distributes goods could use 9 or more pieces of paper per order:
- The purchase order
- 3 printed copies of competitive quotes from freight carriers
- 2 printed copies of the Bill of Lading (BOL)
- Proof of Delivery (POD)
- The customer invoice
- The invoice from the freight carrier
- A daily log of all outbound shipments
This list can get longer if they report inbound or third party “drop shipments” or if management requires other reporting or visibility. A recent article from Information Week discusses how although the financial outlay of a more efficient data system can be overwhelming to small business, there are a number of ways to green a company’s data center easily and cheaply, and the financial rewards can be significant.
By utilizing a non-asset based 3PL such as BlueGrace Logistics, a company can reap the benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS) without any significant upfront cost. A leading edge TMS can be an effective data warehousing system and significantly reduce a company’s output of waste.
A TMS can:
- Produce and store quotes from multiple freight carriers
- Produce and store copies of BOL’s
- Store electronically uploaded POD’s
- Store addresses and product information
- Produce a daily log or other required reports.
In addition to a far cleaner, far greener, and far more efficient order management process, housing your shipping data can save your business a TON of money!