There are various ways that warehouses can become more sustainable, from installing energy-efficient lighting to incorporating better heating and cooling systems in buildings, reported GreenBiz. In addition, automated data collection can help operations and supply chain managers make decisions that will improve efficiency and sustainability throughout not only the warehouse, but also the supply chain.
For example, bar code data collection allows warehouse workers to create barcode and RFID labels using a handheld device so that workers can easily identify products, packages and pallets. This can save time, as workers can find products more easily, and can also reduce wasted paper by replacing labels that are traditionally printed in large batches. This method allows employees to print labels only as they're needed.
A second way that warehouses can incorporate more sustainable practices is through packaging. Many organizations spend thousands or millions of dollars annually on packaging, using more materials than they need to and struggling to keep pace with advances. Packaging World suggested that as an industry, the supply chain should address these issues and make it easier for companies to adopt more efficient packaging systems.
"We need to challenge everything that was done in the past in light of changes in the global environment and in consumer behavior; increases in consumption; and a growing population," Sudhakar Gupta, director at International Food Stuffs Company, told Packaging World. "We must find a way to engage the various disciplines and stakeholders impacted by the changes and find a balanced approach so we together innovate and create packaging solutions that can preserve and contribute to providing food at a reasonable value, thus creating a sustainable future."