The pressure on e-commerce companies to be more environmentally conscious is higher than ever. Legislation aside, the public being more aware of environmental issues around the world has led to consumers asking more questions about the products they purchase. Companies can now expect to have to justify how green their operations are, before a customer will part with their money; and being able to claim proficiency in this area can be a serious competitive advantage in an increasing number of sectors.
While efforts to improve the sustainability of supply chains have been underway for many years now, greener warehouse operations have only been added to the agenda relatively recently. As it turns out, sustainability initiatives in warehouses and distribution centres are proving to offer more benefits than might be expected. Mitigating harmful effects to the environment, promoting employee health and safety, as well as earning the respect of your customers and community aside; introducing sustainable practices to your warehouse operations can also lower operating costs and improve your financial performance. Win: win.
Below, we outline some practical examples of how you can make your warehouse operations more efficient and sustainable.
Install energy-efficient lighting
If you’re still using older lighting and are constantly changing bulbs, you’d do well to change to LED lighting, which offers greater longevity, as well as being more energy efficient and generally brighter than standard bulbs. Pair with motion detectors and light sensors to fully optimise your energy usage and reduce costs even further.
Stop wasting energy
Making sure all your warehouse and office space is properly insulated will help to reduce your energy usage. You should also implement strict policies to prevent things like doors being left open and vehicles from being left running in your yards and car parks.
Use renewable energy
Why not put the roof of your warehouse to work? Adding solar panels to your roof space will not only bring down your energy costs, they will help you qualify for tax incentives, making the return on investment even greater.
Change to electric forklifts
Ditch your petrol or diesel forklifts and move to rechargeable electric forklifts instead. In addition to being kinder to the environment, they are also considerably quieter than their more traditional counterparts.
Deploy smart meters
Monitor your energy usage with more accuracy and adjust your usage to take advantage of off-peak energy rates, which are becoming more common, as monitoring technology becomes more widely available and intelligent.
Using Warehouse Management Software (WMS) to organise your warehouse operations will remove a huge amount of unnecessary paperwork. It will also make it much simpler to optimise the layout of your warehouse(s) and make changes, as required, allowing you to be more responsive to variations in demand.
Use recycled packing materials
Switching to recycled packing materials, if you’re not already using them, will dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your business. With new eco-friendly packaging solutions being developed all the time, there are increasingly competitive options available for e-commerce businesses looking to go green.
Innovations like waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and faucets with motion detectors have allowed companies to drastically reduce their water usage, while also improving general health and safety for their employees.
Zone your energy use
Energy use in warehouses tends to follow distinct patterns. If you install separate meters in different areas of your facilities, you can isolate and then optimise each area individually, using the appropriate means for each energy zone.
Involve your staff and suppliers
For environmental initiatives to have maximum impact, your employees and suppliers need to be actively involved. Educating your staff in sustainable behaviours, and starting a discussion with them about additional improvements that could be made, will help to instigate change and potentially highlight areas that might have otherwise been missed.
If you would like to learn more about making your warehouse operations more energy-efficient, contact us anytime for a free, no obligation consultation. To find out about all the benefits Peoplevox Warehouse Management Software could offer your e-commerce business; download our WMS Buyers Guide.