Temperatures on Earth will reach unsuitable levels within 20 years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With one-third of all US carbon emissions coming from transportation, companies in the manufacturing sector are looking at ways to make their supply chains more sustainable. Using transportation management software (TMS) to increase network efficiencies in ways that reduce mileage and fuel consumption is a good place to start.
The Environmental Benefits of Advanced Transportation Technology
Manufacturers have reduced the amount of energy it takes to produce one dollar of goods by 50% over the past 30 years. This is a noteworthy environmental achievement but even more can be done. Consumers demand it, which explains why 81% of global shippers have increased sustainability initiatives over the last three years, according to a supply chain management research report.
Next-generation technology is playing a significant role in helping manufacturers reduce carbon emissions. Shippers of manufactured goods are transitioning to cloud-based TMS systems and using recent developments that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) capabilities. These advanced technologies can instantly determine the optimal way to match loads with trucks and routes to reduce empty miles and move more loads with fewer trucks.
TMS platforms that leverage AI and ML deliver cost savings and increase productivity in ways that have a direct, measurable impact on the environment. These systems do this by accounting for traffic, weather, driver schedules, delays at docks and other variables to determine the optimal schedules and routes to solve complex logistical challenges.
By automating daily load planning and decision making with optimal solutions, manufacturers can:
- Lower empty miles and deadhead. According to estimates, one-quarter of all trucks on the road today in the U.S. are empty.
- TMS platforms with AI can maximize truck capacity and ensure full loads with backhaul routing.
- Optimize route planning. Shippers can maximize driver productivity and create the most efficient routes with a TMS that automates daily load planning.
- Reduce fuel waste. Idling trucks are expensive, especially with today’s fuel costs. It’s not just a monetary expense. Idling emits a lot of CO2. The North American Council on Freight Efficiency found that tractor-trailers idling five to eight hours a day for 300 days per year use about 1,200 gallons of diesel and produce 24,000 pounds of CO2.
- AI algorithms can determine the best possible time to arrive at a facility and reduce wait time and carbon emissions.
- Access data to track/monitor carbon emissions, fuel consumption and fuel efficiency. The more data inputs integrated into a TMS, the better its algorithms will perform. Additionally, shippers with private fleets can benefit from using advanced tools to:
- Reduce environmental and safety risks by using telematics data to monitor driver behaviors, including idling and speeding.
- Use real-time data to help route drivers around construction, weather impediments or traffic accidents.
- Increase automation by eliminating the use of paper and keeping it out of landfills and cutting down on people power.
Sustainability is Good for Business Too
Sustainability initiatives have significant bottom-line impacts. In fact, one large retailer doubled its transportation fleet’s efficiency through implementing a TMS system and saw a 13% rate of return on capital. This saved the company more than a billion dollars a year. On average, businesses can reduce freight spend by 8% by using a TMS, adding to the list of environmental benefits that include fewer miles driven, fewer trucks on the road, more-efficient routing, and more productive – and happier – drivers.
Download our visual guide, “Manufacturing Sustainability” from PCS Software to see more statistics and strategies that manufacturers can use to improve sustainability and efficiency.
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