Top 3 Strategies for Greening Your Warehouse

If you’re thinking of going green in your warehouse, you’re not alone. Surveys have shown that organisations of all sizes are introducing sustainability practices throughout their entire supply chain to reduce costs and environmental impact and to improve brand image and customer satisfaction. While there are countless ways to go green, the warehouse, with its vital role in the supply chain, is one of the best places to get started in greening your business. From upgrading equipment to redesigning facilities such as shelving systems, any organisation can reduce their environmental impact and reduce operating costs by greening their warehouse.

Step 1. Assess Your Warehouse Operations

The first step in greening your warehouse is to asses your current facilities and operations. In basic terms this means to take stock of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Sometimes it’s helpful to go through your warehouse operations with a green specialist to get a second opinion.

  • Facilities. How green are your facilities? What can you do to improve energy efficiency, reduce lighting costs, and improve insulation?
  • Equipment. Which fuels do your trucks run on? Are your equipment and vehicles regularly service to ensure efficient energy consumption?
  • Systems and Procedures. Transport arrangements, inventory slotting, routing and layout – these can all significantly impact on energy consumption.

Step 2. Check Facilities

In your facilities, there are three main areas to consider:

  • Lighting. Using skylight and photo sensor activated lighting can help you dramatically reduce lighting costs in the warehouse. Pre-programmed sensors automatically adjust lights according to degree of sunlight in the space. Focused lights can be used in work areas to keep crucial areas well lit. Compact fluorescent light-bulbs can be used where possible.
  • Heating and Cooling. Consider insulation, electric fans over air conditioning, and setting out a good energy saving procedure in the warehouse. This checklist can include procedures for keeping doors and windows closed in winter times and setting the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Keeping dock seals in a good condition can reduce heat escape in winter, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
  • Equipment. Using fuel efficient or hybrid technology vehicles can reduce carbon emissions, pollution, and fuel costs. Using the right picking equipment, such as forklifts, hand trucks, and life jacks, can improve picking speeds while supporting occupational health and safety.

Warehouses are fairly energy intensive by nature and businesses can also save a lot of money by installing solar panels.

Step 3. Optimising Systems and Procedures

Optimising systems and procedures within the warehouse can reduce energy use and lead to productivity gains.

  • Inventory slotting and zoning. Inventories and zones can be organised to enhance access to high demand SKUs. High activity zones can be designed to ensure multiple numbers of pickers members or large vehicles can access the stock.
  • Routing. Design your warehouse routes to minimise time required for pickers to travel back and forth. Systems should be designed to allow multiple or staggered orders to be collated and picked up at the same time.
  • Improving storage solutions. Using space efficient pallet racking storage systems can improve storage capacity and improve retrieval times.
  • Good inventory management practices can be effectively harnessed to reduce wasted out of date stock.
  • Recycling and reuse. Where possible, give waste a second life by recycling and emphasising reusable items.
  • Packaging. Reduce unnecessary packaging can help reduce overheads, energy consumption, and transport costs.

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