No More Running on Empty: Reducing Emissions Through Better Fleet Management

Jenny - author
No More Running on Empty: Reducing Emissions Through Better Fleet Management

As businesses continue to focus more on sustainability, one key area that many are looking at is reducing emissions. In some cases, local governments are placing pressure on companies to act faster.

In the United Kingdom and Europe, for instance, some urban areas have implemented restrictions on what types of vehicles can enter the city at certain times of the day, according to Will Salter, CEO of Paragon Software Systems, which has headquarters in Dorking, Surrey, in the United Kingdom, but also has an office in Frisco, Texas. “We’re seeing more of this coming through in the U.S. as well,” he notes. “It’s a very complicated thing when it comes to planning.

“Just by doing your planning more efficiently, you can cut the CO2 emissions quite significantly,” says Salter. “Doing things like reducing the empty running, and maybe doing some collections that you can then bring back to the DC, while also bringing back pallets, packaging and that type of thing, can all help in that area.”

He notes that in the United Kingdom, Asda Walmart has reduced its fuel usage and decreased vehicle emissions, thanks in part to Paragon’s fleet management software. Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, managed 2,000 fewer empty-vehicle journeys in a week.

Zero Waste World

George Brehovsky, director of customer solutions for Alpharetta, Ga.-based CHEP North America, says that his company is engaged in several creative ways to help companies reduce emissions by eradicating empty miles. 

No More Running on Empty: Reducing Emissions Through Better Fleet Management
Sainsbury’s in the United Kingdom managed 2,000 fewer empty-vehicle journeys in a week, with the help of fleet management software from Paragon Software Systems

“About 15 years ago, we started offering transport collaboration, in which we’ll partner with a retailer’s fleet to help us accommodate the return of our assets — pallets, containers and crates — back from the retailer to a CHEP service center. This has helped retailers fill empty miles while also utilizing their driver hours,” he explains.

Now CHEP is taking this idea a step further by offering what it calls transport orchestration or lane matching. “We started this in Europe and are now translating it to North America,” says Brehovsky. With transport orchestration, CHEP leverages the scale and density of its network, along with the data that scale enables, to identify matching partners in the industry to help build closed loops to facilitate the movement of each other’s products.

“So, if there’s a customer that’s moving product from Atlanta to Orlando, and they have empty miles coming back, we will find a comparable customer that’s shipping product, and we’ll match them,” he explains.

CHEP relies on its sister company, BXB Digital, to analyze the vast amount of data from its customers and develop actionable insights for these programs, continues Brehovsky. Meanwhile, since customer data privacy is of the upmost importance to the companies, CHEP gains permission from its customers upfront to participate.

To accelerate the evolution of its transport orchestration program, CHEP recently launched a bold new program, Zero Waste World. The program aims to use the power of CHEP’s logistics network to help its customers find new ways to tackle three shared challenges: eradicating empty miles, eliminating waste and cutting out inefficiencies.

“We hope to build a collaboration platform within the industry in order to facilitate effective matching between customers to solve for things like capacity, restraints in transportation, and to connect unlikely parties that normally wouldn’t be talking to each other,” says Brehovsky.

CHEP’s vast reach in the North American market includes around 14,000 manufacturing locations and more than 19,000 retail locations.

About the Author

Jenny - author

Jenny McTaggart

Jenny McTaggart is a contributing editor at Progressive Grocer.

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