Modern Retail

Delivering Sustainability 

Delivery sustainability

Delivery sustainability: The importance of introducing efficiency measures and future proofing businesses to enable environmentally friendly operations.

It is no surprise that there has been an increase in home deliveries due to the pandemic as people have become heavily dependent on ecommerce. But while ecommerce has been a life saver for those stuck inside during lockdowns, and for those shielding, the environmental concerns have been overlooked. Experts calculated that Christmas presents being delivered last year led to an additional 150,000 trips by delivery vans – resulting in 86,488 tonnes of additional CO2 emissions.

While the pressures on ecommerce are increasing, the onus on climate change and reducing our carbon footprint is also growing. The UK government has outlined certain measures to combat this and encourage industries to be more environmentally friendly. From climate change agreements (CCAs) to legislation which aims to guarantee an end to the UK’s contribution to global warming by 2050 and reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by this date or sooner, the government is taking a serious step towards sustainability. With 2020 being the joint hottest year on record, now is the time to start taking sustainability seriously.

So what can be done to make deliveries more energy efficient, while future proofing businesses for this shift to more environmentally friendly operations? Andrew Tavener, Head of Marketing, Descartes UK, considers how deliveries can be more sustainable and efficient whilst keeping up with consumer demand.

Introducing efficiencies

By introducing efficiency measures into deliveries, it is possible to make them more environmentally friendly and fall in line with sustainability goals. Telematics data can be used to produce fuel efficiency reports and help improve drivers’ habits by reducing engine idling, revving, speeding and through a comparison of vehicles and drivers’ fuel consumption. This data helps to identify improvement areas when training drivers to drive more efficiently and can also reduce vehicle maintenance and servicing, in turn contributing to lower costs and maximising profits.

Adding mobile data communications and advanced routing solutions allows transport operators to use fewer vehicles to deliver more goods in fewer miles. Through increased visibility and an automated schedule set by the routing and scheduling software drivers can save time, take the most efficient route possible and re-route a vehicle to avoid traffic. Additionally, transport operators are able to add new jobs and ensure that the process is smooth and transparent for the end customer. Notifying customers of the status of a delivery and any delays will also improve first time delivery rates and eliminate unnecessary return trips.

Telematics and routing software can also be applied to electric vehicles, including vans, cars and even bikes and e-Scooters. The routing software for electric vehicles allows for range and battery charging and can also take advantage of bicycle routes that are not accessible for cars. With real-time traffic information, delivery schedules can be adapted accordingly, taking into account the various speed profiles for each type of vehicle. Routing for bicycles and other vehicles, such as cars and vans, can also be combined in the software, which further ensures that deliveries are as efficient as possible. Adopting services which makes certain that electric vehicles fulfil their potential in terms of the number of deliveries in the range available means that organisations will add yet more sustainability into their operations.

Routing, mobile and telematics software, can reduce fuel consumption by 5%-25% and save around 552,000 tons of CO2 emissions, essential in the fight against climate change. Add to that the potential to greatly increase the capacity of a fleet and ensure customer satisfaction, there are multiple benefits to be unlocked.

Sustainable Decisions

Environmentally friendly solutions are readily available to support courier services and delivery companies wishing to integrate more sustainable practices into their business operations, while also benefiting them in the long term in line with government goals and regulations. For example, using a system that automates manual processes by eliminating physical documents, such as paper-based driver logs or proof of delivery documents will minimise the carbon footprint associated with creating and disposing of large amounts of paperwork. Limiting greenhouse gas emissions associated with any delivery, through introducing operational efficiencies and reducing fuel consumption, further ensures that companies are doing the best they can to work towards that net-zero goal. 

With increasing deliveries and a shift towards ecommerce, organisations will need to embrace the opportunity to adopt the tools which help streamline deliveries to be more energy efficient and protect the environment against climate change. By introducing operational efficiencies and making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint, delivery companies can work towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions and safeguarding the environment – and their business – for the future.

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Andrew Tavener

Andrew is Head of Marketing at Descartes Systems UK Ltd and has over twenty years’ business-to-business senior marketing management experience with high technology solutions (hardware, software and services) in complex business-to-business markets that includes logistics and transport with organisations such as Intel, Securicor, Unipart Technology Logistics and Orange.

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