Warehouses can both reduce their carbon footprint, and their cost, through a number of innovations widely available today. Strategic development from multiple angles, including paradigms which surround construction as well as manufacturing, can be put to task as a means of reducing carbon footprints. Several will be explored here.
There is a lot of waste which simply is not necessary in modern manufacturing, and some which is. Storage additionally has waste which sometimes is, and sometimes isn’t, necessary. Some waste can be recycled, some can’t. Some can be reduced, some can’t. Look at operational areas which produce unnecessary waste, and cut down.
For example: do you have a break-room filled with Styrofoam and paper implements which are under-used and traditionally wasted? Well, you might get rid of these break-room supplies and institute a policy requiring workers to bring their own cups, utensils, plates, etc. This may not be popular with workers, but depending on how many warehouses you manage, you could cut down your footprint substantially.
There are sometimes tax-breaks for green initiatives of this type as well. You might set your legal team to considering specific areas where reduction of waste can be pursued in a way that will reduce your costs while simultaneously reducing your environmental impact.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, either! Time conservation can itself be green.Wasted time can be bad for your business and the environment, as it may keep toxic substances around longer than they have to be. Maximizing time can help you reduce environmental impact just as much as reducing physical waste, for some warehouses.
Solar energy can be more effective than many facilities realize, and redundant wind energy can be combined with access to the traditional grid for a trivalent power solution that may foster independence in ideal conditions, and cumulatively cuts down on ecological impact otherwise.Solar power additionally increases property value, nets tax breaks, and is very affordable.
You can install a 3.2 kWh solar energy system for less than $5k if you know what you’re doing. You could install a 9.6 kWh system for less than $15k. What are your warehouse’s energy needs? Do you only need lighting? Do you need heating? Do you need AC? Between solar, wind, and grid access, you can cut down your consumption and decrease property maintenance costs while still enjoying the same level of energy access—depending, of course, on your overall needs.
Certainly one of the least economically friendly aspects of operating a warehouse is the fallout which naturally stems from production. There is the aforementioned waste, and there are energy consumption costs as well. Then there’s factor X, and things like prototyping, which can take a long time and be very expensive.
There are several strategies to help you both reduce cost and environmental impact in production or manufacturing which takes place in a warehouse you manage. First, look at areas of operation that take a while, but can conceivably be reduced—like prototyping.
Where before, weeks and months were mandatory in many prototyping endeavors, today that can be dialed back to days, allowing you to save money in the design process while saving time, and also conserving resources. When you conserve resources and save time and money in this way, you produce lest waste, which is good for the environment. Accordingly, finding the right prototyping services is integral.
3ERP provides product development services; as the site says: “Our rapid prototyping and precision CNC machining services ensure your designs and ideas will make sense in the real world in just a few days, allowing you to review the design and functionality of products before you have them mass produced for the market.”
Something else that’s good for the environment and your bottom line is smart manufacturing. If you’re unfamiliar, the process of smart manufacturing uses cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to increase operational visibility on a given production floor.
Increased visibility deigns to more effective management which induces expanded productivity through streamlined optimization. You can reduce operational redundancies, you can maximize lifecycles of manufacturing machines, you can reduce accidents through visibility, and you can produce better products; all while lessening your total impact on the environment.
IoT in conjunction with cloud computing can additionally reduce the cost of things like supply chain management. Generally, application of cloud computing in conjunction with IoT provides you more hands-on, consolidated management tools which allow you to more carefully husband your resources.
Something else many warehousing companies are involved with today as regards reduction of environmental impact involves charity, endorsement, and affiliation with varying causes. Sometimes you’ve done everything you can to optimize your warehouse so that it has the least possible impact on the environment—but you have yet to involve yourself with an eco-centric group who could use your resources.
Doing something like this has no direct cost-reduction. However, collaterally, if you become involved with green organizations, this looks good in a Public Relations sense. Good PR increases your salability and desirability to multiple clients. It looks good to work with green organizations for you, and for them. Getting involved in this way can be an effective means of increasing profit while reducing environmental degradation over time.
There are many different ways you can reduce your impact on the environment in terms of the warehousing industry. What works best for your particular operation may not work the same for another. What’s important to remember is that if you can reduce cost while reducing environmental impact, this represents a cumulative win for your company and the world at large.
Consider what’s been put on display here, and how you might reduce operational expenses and even cut back on a potentially negative impact to the environment. You may be surprised at the options you have access to today.
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