Integrating sustainable value into intralogistics

The concept of sustainability has become a key topic of discussion in the media and business world, having embedded itself firmly into the minds and strategies of corporations worldwide. Sustainability is the ability to reduce business risk, reduce environmental impact, and reduce costs by optimising the various components of the logistics network.

As businesses are under pressure to prioritise sustainability – both to address environmental concerns and also realise economic benefits as a result – Phil Pearson, Sales Management Director at Jungheinrich explores what steps can they take to achieve both these goals.

Three Pronged Approach

Permanent and reliable business partners that share common values are critical to a successful sustainable journey. For instance, three key elements to consider when it comes to business sustainability within supply chains are social, economical and environmental. However, in the warehouse, businesses should start with addressing the economical and environmental factors as a priority.

As governments demand that companies reduce their carbon footprints, water and electrical usage, and overall environmental impact, the environmental pillar often receives the most attention. For instance, the elimination of the Red Diesel business entitlement in 2022 will require many businesses to overhaul their diesel equipment and consider more energy-efficient power alternatives.

Although this may appear to be a logistical nightmare, companies that invest in their environmental CSR efforts often find they can also unlock significant financial benefits. Materials handling equipment, such as lithium-ion batteries, has found that sustainable outcomes can also yield productivity and efficiency benefits, such as charging vehicles at the correct time and supporting 24×7 operations, thereby increasing profits and ensuring business continuity.

Materials handling equipment, such as lithium-ion batteries, has found that sustainable outcomes can also yield productivity and efficiency benefits, such as charging vehicles at the correct time and supporting 24×7 operations, thereby increasing profits and ensuring business continuity.

Economic pillars provide a counterweight to the high-risk measures corporate leaders are typically pushed into, such as dropping fossil fuels rather than phasing in changes gradually. With tough competition in today’s industry and turbulent economic environment, factories need to adjust their strategies so that they can produce as many products as possible at a minimal cost. The goal is to make the production process more efficient, productive and ultimately – sustainable. So how should businesses improve their environmental credentials while also improving their bottom line?

Technology Acceleration

Pre-pandemic, the concept of innovating to survive was for some businesses not a core focus. Despite this, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown of the global economy in 2020 has accelerated companies’ need to ensure seamless operations while preparing for any future disruption.

COVID-19, however, was found to have uncovered gaps and inefficiencies in warehouse and supply chain automation strategies because of its impact on the warehouse and supply chain industries. Yet, these hurdles have prompted warehouse managers to adopt and implement automation technology, allowing them to shift and adapt to peaks in demand and improve productivity.

In some repetitive warehouse tasks, such as picking, packing, and transporting goods, robotic warehouses can augment human workers, but they cannot replace them in more complex jobs, such as repair and analysis. During a crisis such as the current pandemic, such a strategy can not only provide ROI but also the continuity to meet long-term business objectives.

Pre-pandemic, automation was viewed as a luxury; now it’s a necessity. Warehouse managers cannot afford to let productivity slip in the booming e-commerce intralogistics market. Automating processes will make operations leaner, greener and more efficient while also contributing to sustainability.

Conclusion

Globalisation poses several challenges for companies, such as heightened global competition, an increase in consumer demands and expectations, and an increase in environmental regulations.

Considering these challenges and integrating environmental, social, and economic considerations into their strategy planning and execution, companies have been looking for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient solutions that can help them achieve maximum results across the board.

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