DA Systems Founder: Green is Good for Business
Investing in ways to become more environmentally friendly is good for business. It makes financial sense and helps to differentiate transport providers in an increasingly crowded market.
For instance, image conscious retailers looking for an e-commerce delivery partner are more likely to prefer Provider A, who shares their environmental values, than Provider B who has not yet taken steps to minimise environmental impact. This trend directly mirrors consumer behaviour.
According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 55 percent of consumers say they take time to understand the environmental impact of the products they buy and 77 percent said they would pay a premium for greener goods. It’s inevitable then that this sentiment would follow through to the supply chain and a retailer’s transportation providers for e-commerce.
Environmental impact has always been discussed, yet it is only now, with the advancement of iPads, smartphones, white boards, cloud technology including skydrives to dropbox, all being able to communicate with each other and existing systems, that a truly sustainable approach can be achieved.
Adopting transport technology and with innovations in the mobile world, greener credentials are more attainable than ever; with the ability of SatNav, job scheduling, signature capture working on new devices with NFC and RFID capabilities encased in a more consumerist look and feel than previous rugged enterprise products means greater user adoption, think Honeywell Dolphin Black to Motorola TC55.
So introducing greener working is now a natural progression for the transport and logistics industry to seriously consider. In addition to improving productivity and cost savings, using an electronic proof of delivery system, mobile field service management or a real-time job scheduling and route optimisation system for instance, has been shown to have a significant impact on reducing physical costs i.e. of consumables and labour costs. It also has a significant impact on reducing CO2 emissions and the carbon footprint of logistics operators.
The following results demonstrate the savings achieved by a medium sized delivery company, “XYZ Courier Services Ltd” using actual data. “XYZ” operates a cloud based technology system to manage its fleet of 2,000 full time drivers. Before introducing mobile data to its fleet of drivers, the company had to provide each driver with a 15 page printed manifest showing their daily workload and schedule.
Over the course of a year, this amounted to 7,800,000 individual pages, or 15,600 reams of paper. The cost of purchasing paper equates to £55,000, print toner costs amounted to £110,000, which means that over a three year period the company spent half a million just on paper and toner alone.
Although financial savings are a factor in the decision to adopt mobile data that improves greener credentials, there are also carbon costs to appreciate, due to the energy and environmental impact of the printing process. Taking into account the amount of paper produced over a three year period for the paper manifests equated to 648 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which has now been saved.
The transportation of raw materials and finished products are a significant source of carbon emissions in the supply chain. For some companies, logistics can be the primary component of supply chain carbon emissions. The Department of Transport found road transport accounts for 21.7 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions; of that, 19.8 percent is attributable to heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and 15.2 percent to vans. The government is aiming to position the UK at the global forefront of ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) development, manufacture and use, and has a vision for ‘almost every car and van’ to be zero-emission by 2050. Furthermore, by implementing effective route optimisation that ensures the most optimal route is taken by a driver will result in less driven miles and fuel reduction.
What this analysis highlights is that for a mid-sized delivery company, introducing mobile data technology such as ePOD to the drivers has had a significant impact not just by reducing costs, but also by improving the company’s overall carbon footprint. And these cost savings are relevant to smaller and larger organisations alike.
Not only will changing to transportation and logistics partners with greener credentials help meet a company’s corporate social responsibility and environmental policies, by utilising transport technology allows a company to get a clearer picture of deliveries, scheduling, managing peak times; reviewing carbon emissions, driver behaviour -in readable, legible reports based on date and time driven events. This means more power through real-time knowledge transference, without having to sift through volumes of paperwork.
A business can never entirely eliminate its environmental impact, but that should not be a reason to not take advantage of the technology available to reduce it. By having a green approach to your transport fleet helps to achieve positive environmental and financial goals.
About the author
David Upton is a software and technology entrepreneur. He founded DA Systems in January 1999 after identifying a need amongst transport and logistics companies for real-time proof of delivery software to support the growing e-commerce delivery business.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.