Warehouses and distribution centres play an essential role in supply chain management.
The issue with many warehouse setups is that it comes with a huge environmental cost.
Warehouses consume a lot of energy and contribute more than average when it comes to carbon emissions. Warehouse managers are willing to make changes to their warehouse setups so their operation is more sustainable for the environment.
The team from National Storage Solutions have provided the following tips to help transform your warehouse into an environmentally friendly supply centre.
Select an environmentally friendly location for your warehouse
The location of the warehouse has one of the highest impacts on sustainability. The location will determine the transportation use and logistics that is required to have a successful supply chain operation. Warehouse managers should aim to locate their warehouse operations closer to ports and customers, which will help to reduce energy consumption from local transportation. Centralised distribution networks are more energy efficient and can help to reduce transportation-related energy consumption costs.
Consider lighting designs that can aid with the warehouse’s sustainability efforts
It is important to design good lighting within the warehouse to improve safety and work conditions. Traditional lighting designs have relied on incandescent light bulbs, which consume a high amount of energy and also lose up to 90% of energy through heat. Warehouses are advised to switch their artificial lighting solutions to energy-friendly alternatives such as LED lights. The energy consumption from these light bulbs can be reduced by up to 90%, reducing electricity costs and impacts on the environment.
Additionally, implementing natural light solutions can help to illuminate the warehouse while reducing the reliance on artificial lighting. Skylights and solar tubes are great options that are inexpensive green-friendly solutions that can be installed.
Another clever initiative to consider is installing motion sensors that adjust to the amount of light coming into the building, as well as illuminating when sensing worker’s activity in the area.
Separate the warehouse into different energy zones
The warehouse may require different energy requirements such as refrigeration or differences in lighting. Each zone can have their own energy readers to optimise the energy consumption habits.
Get employees involved in green initiatives
Aim to get employees involved in sustainable practices within the warehouse. Have them improve their packing habits. For example, pickers and packers could use less wrap packaging by using pallet-wrapping machines that stretch the film much more. Also, encourage employees to get involved in recycling initiatives to manage areas such as paper and cardboard disposals.
Install water-saving fixtures that can reduce water wastage. Items such as waterless urinals and dual flush cisterns on toilets can help to make a difference.
Install Warehouse Management Software
Warehouse Management Software, or WMS, is a great way to manage the efficiency of the people, processes and stock inside your warehouse. Implemented correctly, a WMS will not only make your warehouse more productive, but can also make it more sustainable by reducing spoilage of consumable goods and optimising the space requirements for your warehouse. PeopleVox WMS are the experts in warehouse efficiency and can help to make your sustainable warehouse a productive one.
High volume low speed fans
Installing these fans in warehouses can reduce heat stress for employees by increasing air movement cost effectively. The large volume of air that is dispersed from these fans travels further from lower speeds and relying on much lower energy consumption.
Choose green friendly materials and resources to use in your warehouse.
Identify areas where your warehouse can choose biodegradable materials for the warehouse. For example, packaging products with biodegradable paper or cardboard.
The savings from green initiatives goes beyond environmental factors
Many businesses that have implemented sustainable practices in their warehouse have reported seeing benefits. Many have noticed their operational costs reduce, allowing their warehouse to operate a positive cash flow when compared to their previous warehouse solution. Savings can usually be seen in as little as 6 months!
The sustainability actions that warehouses commit to will help reduce carbon emissions that negatively impact the environment. Although it may appear to be a significant upfront investment, it pays for itself over the long term in terms of cash flow and productivity. Take a look at your warehouse today to identify any areas that you feel could be improved.
Our staff writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.