Real-time insight boosts sustainability – Logistics Business® مجلة – News Couple
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Real-time insight boosts sustainability – Logistics Business® مجلة


The latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the extent to which human activity affects the climate is grim, Vernon O’Donnell, Chief Product Officer, wrote Project 44. It calls for quick action and reminds us that “every ton of carbon dioxide emissions contributes to global warming.” The supply chain sector is under scrutiny because it currently accounts for nearly a fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. While other industries have already begun to reduce emissions, albeit slowly, supply chain transmission is lagging far behind.

This is frustrating because supply chains are well placed to help achieve sustainability goals. While many in the industry are waiting for electric cars to be a panacea, others are taking action right away. There are immediate and cost-effective solutions that can be implemented when time is of the essence. The greater insight and questioning of supply chains, as well as reducing inefficiencies and emissions through intelligent use of data, should be the first point of contact.

From Ikea to Unilever, and from Apple to Coca-Cola, many of the world’s best-known names have publicly announced their net target schedule. While that’s impressive, it doesn’t tell us how the goals will be measured – not least within the supply chain. As research indicates, while 36% of supply chains are just beginning to measure their sustainability or climate impact, more than a quarter don’t measure impact at all.

There is a stark lack of visibility across supply chains, which are often complex and multifaceted in nature. Measuring the overall environmental impact of a supply chain is a complex task, but one that must be undertaken in order to achieve sustainability goals. If we don’t know our current baseline, how can we know when we’re moving in the right direction?

Achieving a supply chain vision requires a multifaceted approach. As estimated by the World Economic Forum, digitization has the potential to reduce emissions from logistics by 10% to 12% by 2025, however, 50% of organizations still have to embark on supply chain digitization and enable visibility. Only with high-quality insight data can supply chains improve waste-leading practices. For example, new software platforms are emerging to help with sustainable sourcing, supply chain emissions visibility, supplier management and monitoring, as well as ensuring products are brought back into the value chain through a circular economy.

Companies are increasingly feeling pressure from consumers and governments to have a more comprehensive, real-time view of every step of the value chain as well as to use more sustainable materials and production practices. For example, smarter use of these vision technology could enable companies to analyze shipments to identify areas for improvement, and to choose which paths and methods will lead to the least amount of waste. These technologies are ambitious. Most transportation management systems in use today only consider two factors when choosing a carrier – cost and performance. A third dimension showing the carbon footprint should be added so that a balanced decision in line with the emissions targets can be made. While this is a challenge that is still a long way off for many companies, it is a model that everyone should aspire to and it is a solution closer than ever.

While this level of insight may be ambitious for some, there is still a lot that can be done by seeing the data. For example, long-term truck stops generate 11 million tons of carbon dioxide and 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxides each year. Magna International, a global automaker that has produced more than 3.5 million vehicles including models for brands such as BMW and Jaguar, analyzed its vision data to identify potential process improvements. They found that shipments were late 2% of the time and early 50% of the time, both scenarios causing missing berth appointments. Access to this information allowed them to optimize processes to ensure an additional 40% of their shipments arrived in a 30-minute appointment window, significantly reducing stay time.

Better together

If the shipping sector is to end up decarbonizing, it will require a combined effort. The US Digital LTL Council, of which Project 44 is a founding member, is a great example of how industry leaders have come together to address the issues facing the industry. The council is focused on setting standards across the sector, which will be key in the fight against climate change.

These collaborative efforts demonstrate the industry’s determination to play its part in this challenge. However, to harness the power of data to drive sustainable supply chains, this collaboration must go further. The vision can only be achieved when each player shows his hand and plays the same game. In other words, more openness and standardization of green data within the supply chain is needed to realize the benefits of data-led sustainability strategies. With the desire of all parties involved, this will be the first step towards a more sustainable industry. This buys the transportation sector time while technologies such as electric and hydrogen vehicles remain in development.

And when these green technologies are ready for mass adoption, we as an industry will be ready to measure their impact. Once we establish a baseline for now, we can ensure that they play as transformative a role as possible in the future.

A cleaner and brighter future depends on the sustainable vision of data in moving the supply chain.

At the moment we don’t see the emissions data widely used, but the tide is turning. More organizations are collaborating to bring about change, share ideas, and make data public, which is critical for impact analysis and strategy development. Our future is one in which businesses can continue to thrive and meet customer expectations, backed by efficient procedures ready to welcome the hydrogen ships, electric trucks and drones that will propel us forward. For now, though, we must rely on what we have — data, analytics, and each other — to turn the tables.



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