Logistics management focuses on planning, designing, and controlling the process that transforms inputs into outputs. Meanwhile, sustainable logistics management (SLM) is the practice of managing a company’s logistics while considering its social and environmental impact, this includes the consideration of raw materials, energy use, and waste treatment. This type of logistics management offers a promising alternative that aims to reduce product transportation’s environmental and social costs by optimizing the whole process.
It is not only about reducing emissions or making design changes, it also includes redesigning the supply chain and considering a whole new set of drivers, such as governance, gender equity, and social inclusion. SLMs provide measurable benefits for all stakeholders, customers, producers, employees, and communities. To mention some of the major benefits it provides primarily are that it reduces transport emissions because trucks use less fuel when they do not have to go too far. It also helps with the congestion and disruption in traffic because of the lesser number of transportation vehicles on the road. After all, it can help with product costs since freight carriers charge by weight, so less weight means lower prices for products.
Adopted measures to achieve SLM
The use of alternative vehicles or fuel technologies, where diesel trucks are being replaced by vehicles such as electric and hybrid vehicles. If we want to save the planet, we might have to switch to eco-friendly vehicles instead of diesel ones. If we use renewable energy, like Biofuel, instead of fossil fuels, it will help us be both socially and environmentally sustainable. On a postive note, yard work affects the way goods move through the supply chain . It is described as the intersection between warehouses and transport management. Logistics planning is about making sure activities are planned in a way that avoids gaps in the flow of supplies. Contributory to this, there are small-scale centers with multiple locations, which makes distribution less cumbersome and more geographically accessible.
The implementation of the 4Rs of waste management has assisted in this type of logistics management. This includes Reducing, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. Reduce the accumulation of waste by using reusable materials and cutting down on the use of excess materials. When you reuse materials, you can reduce the amount of waste that is created. Recycle materials where possible and recover waste items that be converted into resources and energy.
Importance of Green logistics
Conventional transport vehicles constitute the most of particulate pollution in metro cities. For rejuvenating and implementing green logistics in India, we need to address the issue at three levels, that is, public policy, business, and individuals. Logistics industry players in India have not completely understood the concept of green logistics and how to implement them on a larger scale yet. By implementing energy-efficient warehousing measures, more than 20% of cost savings can be achieved. Moreover, the reverse logistics industry takes care of the recovery of the goods and should be paid more attention to in India. Fuel efficiency, payload management, routing, and driving techniques all play a role in how much money a driver can save on fuel. Additionally, many e-retailers no longer provide paper receipts to enhance their green image, and they still need to provide consumers with the option of disposing of the packaging material, even at a minimal cost. Mandatory legislation regarding these aspects provides a path for consumers and businesses and a push toward a circular economy while contributing to the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan as well.
Robust, AI-powered, cloud-based logistics solutions are at the core of the supply chains of the future by helping businesses to consolidate loads, automate dispatch and tracking, optimize routes, determine when and where to charge batteries, monitor vehicle maintenance and many more.
Impact of digitisation
The term Logistics 4.0 deals with the support and co-design of digitalization and automation of logistics tasks. Digital transformation, especially the networking of logistical processes provides more transparency in the supply and dispatch chains. For example, the cargo itself could become intelligent and organize its transport independently. ‘Digital India initiated by the Indian government aided the logistics industry to create new investment opportunities. Some of the Indian logistics players that have adopted this approach are DHL, FedEx, UPS and TNT. These companies have a strong network in the country and are able to provide door-to-door services with digital aid. They have a fleet of vehicles that are equipped with GPS tracking system, which helps to track the moment of goods and ensure timely delivery.
Sustainable logistics management is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Businesses face a backlash from customers if they do not adopt sustainable practices to ‘green’ their supply chains. A lot of initiatives are already taken in this direction by various stakeholders. Making changes sooner rather than later is the right approach to benefit everyone on the planet for generations to come.
(The author is Mr. Aashirwad Deshmukkh, Founder and CEO, Howdyy and the views expressed in this article are his own)