Logistics expertise 18.09.2023

Improving sustainability in transport companies? No problem!

Sustainable picture with earth and glass tree

The EU’s position on the issue as is follows: ‘Any legislation on corporate responsibility must ensure that the future belongs to companies that treat people and the environment in a sustainable way and not to those that have made a business model out of exploitation and environmental damage.’


Time for change

For decades, supply chain management was focussed solely on increasing efficiency, all in the name of saving money. However, the unforeseen events of recent years such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have highlighted just how vulnerable international supply chains are. The knock-on effect of this saw many companies attempt to plug the gaps in their own supply chains, leaving little time and energy for sustainability and long-term strategy changes, especially in smaller businesses. But since the turn of the year, companies have had to manage their supply chains in a way that not only minimises risks and prepares them for potential disruption, but also in a way that meets sustainability requirements.


Thinking big about sustainability

While many companies may have set themselves sustainability goals, very few of them are as comprehensive as they could – or should – be. There is a variety of reasons for this. They often don’t have reliable – but basic – data on emissions or vehicle utilisation. It’s also often impossible to harmonise the desire for or commitment to sustainability with a profitable corporate strategy. This ends up with sustainability requirements being saddled on top of the systems that are already in place rather than being integrated into the company as a whole. Companies also focus on making short-term changes all too often, not least because they lack the people, partners, resources and knowledge to make their future a sustainable one.


Tips on how to quickly reduce the size of your carbon footprint

Integrating sustainability into existing systems often seems like a complicated task, but more often than not, making small tweaks is all it takes. For instance, minimising the number of empty runs you make not only helps optimise how you utilise your capacity, but it also helps reduce your carbon footprint.

The first step towards becoming more sustainable is performing a thorough analysis of where you’re currently at. This will help you define suitable sustainability strategies that include concrete goals. Thanks to our partner Big Mile, TIMOCOM customers can easily get immediate access to a deeper analysis of their carbon data to help them identify specific areas they can optimise.


The fastest and most effective ways to reduce your CO2 output

1. Plan your routes efficiently:

Reducing the amount of petrol you consume is the key to sustainable logistics. The use of fossil fuels for transport is the main source of environmentally harmful emissions, which is why tackling the issue is considered vital to making logistics sustainable. What’s more, improving fuel efficiency gives transport companies an excellent opportunity to make their goods transport more efficient and cost-effective, while optimising route planning is an easy, low-effort way to minimise driving distances and significantly reduce fuel consumption. Using GPS and telematics systems also ensures greater efficiency and lower costs.

2. Optimise your vehicle space:

Using your vehicle space efficiently can reduce the number of extra journeys that need to be made. Empty runs aren’t just extremely expensive – they’re also an absolute disaster from a sustainability point of view. Calculating specific loads or planning additional transports for the return journey after completing an order automatically makes the fleet more sustainable.

3. Use telematics and data analysis tools:

Using telematics systems and data analysis tools allows you to closely monitor vehicle operations and all of your logistics processes. This enables you to use resources more efficiently and continuously improve your sustainability performance.

4. Work together with suppliers and customers:

Having a close working relationship with your suppliers and customers can help you develop more sustainable transport solutions together. Sustainability is something that affects us all, so we should be looking to work together rather than pursue individual solutions. Having CO2-optimised warehouses that are in closer proximity to one another or merging orders in order to better utilise lorry capacity are things that can be developed together.


Improve sustainability by making medium-term optimisations

1. Use environmentally friendly vehicles:

Replacing older lorries with environmentally friendly models such as electric or hybrid vehicles can make a significant dent in your carbon footprint. But don’t forget that newer combustion and diesel engine are also much kinder to the environment than the older ones, too. 

2. Use renewable energy source:

Using renewable energy sources to power logistics centres, warehouses, offices and business premises can reduce a company’s overall carbon footprint. Options here include solar energy, wind energy and other renewable energy sources.

3. Provide training on and raise awareness of sustainability:

Transport companies should raise their employees’ awareness of sustainability by providing information and guidance on the topic and its importance. This will encourage them to use resources more responsibly and foster a more sustainable corporate culture.


Room for improvement

There are some simple strategies that companies can implement that can lead to significant improvements. For instance, just simply providing drivers with the proper training can lead to petrol being used more efficiently. It’s also important to avoid unnecessarily long transport routes and reduce the distance vehicles travel as much as possible. Having modern planning software and well-trained dispatchers will immediately help avoid unnecessary journeys. What’s more, intelligently networking all your logistics systems not only potentially allows you reduce your carbon footprint immediately, but it also makes them even more efficient. Looking further ahead, the topic of electromobility will become a key aspect in the sustainability strategy of tomorrow. But in addition to major investments, this will also need the economy as a whole, along with policy-makers and society in general, to work together, for instance to optimise infrastructures and make sustainability a feasible option for companies and businesses with weaker sales.

Keep an eye on the market and how it is developing so that you can react flexibly to changes and make the right decisions at the right moment. But don’t forget to prepare for the future and start working right now on improving the efficiency of your fleet and optimising its capacities. IT solutions such as TIMOCOM’s Marketplace can help you with this. You can also take inspiration from companies such as Timotrans and discover ways to integrate sustainability into your business model each and every day.


What is sustainable logistics?

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