No matter what industry you’re in, the call for more environmentally friendly practices has been loud and clear. Industries of all sizes are expected to do their part, and their choices undoubtedly impact their bottom line. In 2019, Amazon co-founded and became the first signatory to The Climate Pledge—a commitment to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. In the supply chain arena, the term “green warehousing” is becoming more and more popular. What does it actually mean and can it be beneficial? Let’s find out.
What is green warehousing:
Quite simply, green warehousing is the idea of having fulfillment centers do more to address environmental pollution. It’s the thought that with specific strategies, warehouses can work to reduce their carbon footprint in a meaningful way. Different warehouses will be able to address a variety of concerns, from carbon dioxide emissions and energy and water consumption to the rate of materials being used. What’s one way all warehouses can reduce their carbon footprint? With a WMS, of course.
The link between green warehousing and WMS
You may be asking yourself, how can a software solution help a warehouse become greener? And the answer is, in many ways! Implementing a WMS can help a warehouse with:
- Printing costs
- Transportation costs
- Physical footprint
- Digital coordination
Let’s dig into the specifics and identify the area where your warehouse can become greener while you safeguard your bottom line.
If a warehouse chooses to implement a WMS, they inadvertently choose a paperless route, which is already a step in the right direction. This will of course reduce printing costs for the warehouse, but it helps the environment in a much bigger way. The process of making paper has a pretty significant and negative impact on the planet, and it’s estimated that almost half the documents a warehouse prints are binned that same day. This means eliminating paper use has a huge impact on an organization’s ROI and on conservation strategies.
But the best part is, by far, the fact that it’s far more efficient too. Relevant information is now housed on a centralized system that can be accessed via computer by those who need it. Looking through a pile of papers for data you need will no longer slow you down!
The COVID-19 pandemic has gotten a lot of the credit for enabling work from home, but WMSs have been around for way longer, and they empower admin and office employees to work from anywhere. With a cloud-based WMS, employees can track orders, check on inventory, review expiry dates, and more, without ever having to get on the road! Today’s cloud-based solutions, not only give your employees more flexibility, they cut down on transportation costs too.
The average US commuter travels to work by car just under one hour each day – roughly 32 miles, which generates about 3.2 tonnes of CO2 per person every year. If more and more people were able to work from home every day, there would be fewer cars on the road, less money spent on gas, and less time spent traveling from one location to the other. Not only that, but with fewer employees on the premises, you can save on energy, lighting, and water costs too.
Space constraints are a very real concern for warehouses, with very few solutions other than moving or building a larger facility, but a WMS can help with that. WMSs were designed to analyze warehouses to determine the best way to use a particular floor plan. They help organize inventory to ensure you’re utilizing your space in the most efficient way, eliminating the need to move to a larger space. Staying in a smaller location will allow you to save on energy consumption, thereby reducing your total carbon footprint.
Warehouses produce waste, and lots of it, but they don’t have to. Investing in a WMS will not only reduce waste by going paperless, but it can also help with inventory levels and forecasting. This means you won’t overorder stock which could end up in the landfill when you run out of space. Plus, a WMS allows you to track all items, so you’re less likely to lose track of stock that you then need to reorder.
In addition to accurate inventory tracking, the right WMS can enhance order picking through automation. This increases the speed and accuracy of warehouse orders, while simultaneously reducing paper consumption.
It’s pretty clear, using a WMS can help you with your green warehousing goals. But with so many different options out there, it’s hard to know which WMS is right for your operation. That’s where Cornerstone Edge can help. We’ve evaluated and become familiar with over 80 software solutions over the past decade. If you’re looking for guidance on which WMS to go with, look no further, we can help. Give us a call, and let’s see how we can help you make your supply chain your differentiator.