How to Use Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility in Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain

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Supply chain sustainability processes are evolving at a rapid pace. However, there is no one right process for any company. Often sustainability involves multiple processes that require integration from function to overall corporate goals. How are industry leaders navigating sustainability throughout the supply chain? Technology that measures sustainability initiatives in real-time helps achieve this. Below, we’ve highlighted a few examples of how companies and technologies measure sustainability success.

Why Tackling Emissions Reductions through Transportation is a Good Start

The FourKites’ Sustainability Dashboard identifies specific areas within the supply chain that contribute to high greenhouse gas emissions levels.

Half of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from the transportation and industry sectors. This statistic challenges companies to balance supply chain performance KPIs and track emissions reductions.

Real-time supply chain visibility platforms help balance efficiency and sustainability. Visibility gives companies a single, central source of truth. The FourKites Sustainability Dashboard tracks cost savings and emissions progress. Designed for shippers, carriers, brokers, and 3PLS, the dashboard identifies the highest freight-related emissions sources in the supply chain.

Our new Sustainability Dashboard is fueled by real-time logistics data from the FourKites platform. It will help our network achieve their sustainability objectives. It will jointly reduce operating costs and gain additional business efficiencies.

 – Matt Elenjickal, Founder and CEO, FourKites

FourKites’ Sustainability Dashboard provides customers with insight into:

  • Estimated greenhouse gas emissions from freight activity
  • How emission levels and patterns are changing over time
  • Which lanes have the highest and lowest emissions
  • Transportation modes (rail, ocean, truck) that contribute the most and least to emissions, at an aggregate level and on a per-shipment basis

Longtime FourKites customer, Land O’Lakes, Inc., a Fortune 500 agricultural production and consumer foods member-owned cooperative, says the Sustainability Dashboard is an important new addition to their supply chain visibility toolkit.

Implementing sustainable practices is one of Land O’Lakes’ top priorities. By leveraging the Sustainability Dashboard, we are able to assess and validate our sustainability efforts on an ongoing basis.

– Dustin Braun, Senior Director, Logistics at Land O’Lakes

Transportation is a leading offender of emissions, especially road freight which accounts for 74% of all transportation-related emissions. A real-time Sustainability Dashboard helps companies tackle emissions reductions from implementation to meet ongoing goals.

Reduce Empty Miles. Reduce Emissions.

FourKites’ Lane Connect platform helps companies make tangible progress toward sustainability goals. By reducing the number of unnecessary miles driven, the supply chain reduces carbon emissions. Lane Connect is an innovative platform, expanding across lanes, carriers and partners. It identifies and optimizes opportunities for greater efficiency through collaboration.

How Two Organizations Used Visibility to Team Up and Shrink Excess Miles

Land O’Lakes, which operates in 50 states and more than 60 countries, wanted to shrink excess empty miles. The goal was to improve the bottom line and do its part to reduce greenhouse emissions. Working with Lane Connect, Land O’Lakes achieved this by gaining visibility. Working with partners on lanes and shared hauls minimizes deadheads or an empty truck on any leg of a round trip.

Using Lane Connect, Land O’Lakes shared capacity with a grocery wholesaler’s private fleet to combine backhauls. The result was a total transportation cost-savings of 20%–25%. It also reduced the wholesaler’s empty hauls by 502 miles per trip, twice a week.

Lane Connect is giving us the invaluable ability to collaborate with other grocery manufacturers and food retailers who share common lanes. That translates into higher utilization and better cost management, and helps ensure that we’re collaborating with carriers to keep trucks moving. 

 – Yone Dewberry, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Land O’Lakes

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Reduce Dwell Time Through Real-Time Data and Collaboration

Like empty miles, dwell time is a significant contributor to unnecessary GHG emissions. Heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles’ idling wastes about 6 billion gallons of fuel each year. This idling equates to 11.5 million passenger vehicles driven for an entire year.

The FourKites’ Dwell Scorecard details load activities to include average delay hours, percentage of delayed arrivals and median dwell time with numerous filters such as carrier, time of day, transportation mode and more.

Another emissions offender is long detentions. These cause missed appointment times. Detentions create lost opportunities of one or more loads per month for 80% of carriers in the United States. Being able to manage appointment times ensures the usage of only the required assets.

How can companies manage other supply chain dynamics? In 2019, FourKites joined forces with the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), along with major shippers and transportation partners. Participants in the joint pilot study reduced the miles driven by empty trucks between 3% and 7%. This reduction was through improved utilization of both private and dedicated fleets.

We see [sustainability] regulations taking place at a country level, a city level, and also from consumers. Companies are looking to technology as a way to identify their sustainability footprint.

– Bart De Muynck, Research VP Transportation Technology, Gartner

Trading Partner Alliance Pilot Study Report

FourKites joined TPA and industry leaders Coca-Cola, Land O’Lakes, Giant Eagle and Wegmans in a pilot study. The study used real-time visibility to understand dwell time root causes at four real-world facilities. The next step created strategies to minimize it. Tangible results from the Dwell Dashboard’s real-time data analyzed metrics such as:

  • Number of loads and appointments
  • Percentage of non-compliant loads and delayed carrier arrivals
  • Average delay of late arrival loads
  • Additional tier 2 metrics such as day of the week, time of day, inbound or outbound load, temperature class and type of product

Each participant gained insights on specific activities that contributed to dwell times. They also received recommendations to reduce them. See the full report for the post-pilot results.

Manage Space and Reduce Waste

Screenshot of the FourKites Real-Time Visibility platform with Recommendation Engine, which uses a combination of historical data to make proactive recommendations in real-time to mitigate potential problems before they occur.

The best real-time transportation visibility technologies facilitate proactive planning. Access to predictive ETAs of in-transit loads provides efficient planning at the yard and facility. Unused assets aren’t taking up space and burning fuel. On-site labor more effectively allocated saves the consignee time and money as well.

In addition to Lane Connect shrinking empty miles, Land O’Lakes drew on FourKites’ real-time visibility platform. The platform predicts arrival times for more than 200,000 shipments per year with accuracy. It also represents between 90% and 95% of its total loads.

The most successful sustainability programs are ones that realize cost-savings, especially that drive wastes out of the system.

 – Meghan Stasz, Vice President, Sustainability and Packaging, Consumer Brands Association

Eliminate Unnecessary Miles. Reduce Greenhouse Emissions.

The FourKites platform includes mode-specific exception management and analytics dashboards. It seamlessly tracks freight in one unified platform across truckload, less-than-truckload, ocean, rail, intermodal, air, parcel and courier.

With AI and machine-learning technologies behind the scenes, automated features of the platform include:

  • Calculating actual miles driven for accurate reporting
  • Alerting off route recommendations to minimize unnecessary miles traveled
  • Notifying late loads delivered and the reason (inefficient route, extended dwell time) for the delay

Other efficiencies that companies gain by using real-time visibility platforms to reduce GHG emissions entail unnecessary mail, empty miles, missed appointments and inefficient use of yard and dock management.

The ability to trace the end-to-end supply chain enables critical sustainability goal management, from origin to destination.

Coca-Cola has seen significant cost savings and reduced empty miles for our carriers by leveraging Lane Connect. 

– Rob Haddock, Group Director, Planning and Logistics, The Coca-Cola Company

For more resources on how companies are using real-time visibility for supply chain sustainability, check out the Lane Connect ebook, Dwell Time report and Sustainability Dashboard. Or view the three-minute video on 10 great features that our real-time visibility platform can provide your company.

Featured Sustainability Resources

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