Lately, most supply chain managers have probably recognized a greater public interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards for big businesses. ESG standards seek to make the world better—while also improving a company’s bottom line. Being a sustainability leader does not have to hurt profits. In fact, it can even improve a business’s profitability by offering greater efficiency, productivity, and resource allocation. That is what green warehouse design is all about—using the opportunity that sustainability provides to see a better return on investment in the supply chain.
These efforts also have an indirect impact, as businesses interested in sustainability will practice green purchasing by more closely vetting vendors within their supply chain. By adopting sustainable business practices, warehouse managers can ensure their facility is both a moral and practical fit for manufacturers and retailers looking for partners.
ESG, Green Warehouse Design, and the Changing Supply Chain
Business is no longer solely about profits. As the new focus on ESG has shown, it’s about corporate responsibility, too. Supply chain and warehouse managers need to keep this in mind to ensure their businesses remain viable in the new corporate climate. On the upside, a focus on green supply chain management practices will benefit both the business and the environment. Here are just a few examples:
|Practice||Benefit for the Business||Benefit for the Environment|
|Automation: Tools like Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems help to replace human labor and streamline production.||Automation reduces the risk of human error and improves efficiency, which saves companies money on returns and overall labor costs.||Carbon emissions related to returns for incorrect or broken shipments are minimized due to the greater accuracy of automation. An ASRS uses space more efficiently, reducing energy usage and allowing buildings to have a smaller footprint.|
|Decentralized distribution centers: Warehouses and distributions centers are smaller and strategically placed in major metropolitan hubs to reduce travel costs.||Decentralized locations allow companies to optimize routes and reduce costs related to the transportation of products. They also reduce warehouse size, which minimizes energy costs.||Decentralized locations can limit urban sprawl. Their strategic locations also improve route efficiency and cut back on carbon emissions, especially via air transportation of products.|
|Solar paneled roofs: Businesses attach solar panels to their roofs to capture UV rays which they convert to energy.||The cost of energy is offset by the use of free, renewable resources.||The company eliminates its dependency on fossil fuels and cuts back on carbon emissions.|
|LED lights and sensors: Low-energy lights work in conjunction with sensors that trigger on-off switches to reduce unnecessary light usage.||Energy costs go down as only what is needed is used. The cost of replacement bulbs is lower due to the use of longer-lasting LED lights.||Resource consumption is controlled automatically, reducing wasted energy.|
It’s important to know how to get the most out of a green warehouse once you’ve invested in it.
By focusing on reducing unnecessary energy consumption, waste, and carbon emissions, companies can also control their costs. However, many of these approaches to warehouse design are costly. That means it’s important to know how to get the most out of a green warehouse once you’ve invested in it. To do this, you’ll need equipment that works in conjunction with your sustainability initiatives.
Using Plastic Pallet Pooling to Optimize the Green Warehouse
Plastic pallet pooling is an excellent option for supporting green warehouse standards. In fact, the pooling model itself is eco-friendly. Renting allows managers to scale their pallet supply as needed, reducing the amount of warehouse space dedicated to storing excess pallets. Pooling services also use transportation routes designed for maximum efficiency to transport pallets from customer to customer, cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions.
Plastic pallets are also the perfect fit for automation, as they are uniform in weight and size.
HDPE plastic pallets are recyclable and much lighter than wood block pallets, which reduces fuel consumption during transport. Plastic pallets are also the perfect fit for automation, as they are uniform in weight and size, allowing for easy equipment calibration. Unlike wood, plastic pallets won’t shed debris or hardware that could cause systems to jam and damage products.
Green warehouse design has the potential to offer both direct and indirect cost savings for businesses. In a green warehouse, resources last longer and are replaced less often, energy costs are lower, and human error is reduced. When a company makes a point of improving its impact on the environment, its reputation and public perception may also be enhanced. By taking steps toward a more sustainable warehouse now, supply chain managers will be better prepared for a future in which a company’s ethical and environmental track record are crucial to profitability.
iGPS pooled plastic pallets are sustainable, recyclable, and lightweight. We make sustainability part of our business, and part of yours, with our efficient pallet rental model. For more details on our pallets or pooling program, contact us at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.