How a WMS can reduce your carbon footprint.

In the wake of COP26 and its aim to bring climate change under control, more companies are actively looking to reduce their carbon footprint and to contribute to national and international endeavours to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Striving to operate a carbon neutral warehouse is just one way that a company can reduce its carbon footprint and reach its net zero objectives. Using a warehouse management system (WMS) offers a simple way to do that. It doesn’t need any radical changes to a warehouse infrastructure, like adding new insulation, retrofitting heating and air conditioning systems, or implementing new renewable energy methods.

Here’s how using a warehouse management system (WMS) can help cut your carbon footprint.

Reduce the size of your warehouse.

A WMS optimises where and how you store your products in the warehouse and will almost certainly result in a reduction in the amount of space you require. Using a smaller warehouse entails a corresponding reduction in energy required because you don’t need to light it or heat and air-condition as large a space. You might therefore benefit from relocating to a smaller warehouse. Or you could instead sub-let some of your space to another company and gain additional revenue at the same time. And if you planned in the future to expand, using a WMS might mean you could carry the additional stock needed without forcing you to move to a larger warehouse.

Reduce energy consumption of materials handling equipment.

Whether your forklift trucks are powered by electricity, diesel or LPG/gas, you can reduce how much energy they use and so cut your carbon footprint. A WMS optimises movement-intensive operations like putaway and picking so that the routes travelled are minimised. It ensures that operatives are driving fewer miles around the warehouse by finding them the shortest routes to take. A WMS can also employ more advanced methods such as task interleaving, which combines different tasks into a single trip within the warehouse.

With functionality such as directed putaway, your staff won’t be driving up and down the aisles looking for a location to store goods – the WMS system will direct them where to go. Equally, a WMS can optimise picking strategies, using methods like batch picking or zone picking to reduce how far your workers need to drive, again limiting the energy you are expending.

Eliminate paper from the warehouse.

A paper-driven warehouse is costly – in terms of both the money you use on printer ink and paper and in terms of the cost to the environment. When you implement a WMS, you eliminate the costs and save precious resources. With a WMS, your staff use mobile devices that direct them where to go and what to do. Processes are automatically recorded, instead of needing to be input back into the system and there’s an accurate trail of actions that isn’t reliant on paper.

A paper-free operation is more efficient, places fewer demands on the environment and will reduce your carbon emissions.

Cut packaging costs.

Packaging costs in the warehouse can be substantial – especially in high volume operations. A WMS helps you by reducing the amount of packaging you use and eliminating costly waste.

The WMS can calculate the best packaging to use for each order, according to its profile. That might be based on weight or size or other parameters you set. Using the smallest, most apt size of container or box means you don’t despatch a single lipstick packed in an A4 box with a mass of unneeded polystyrene packing chips.

Using the optimum packaging reduces your costs and the environmental impact of your operation.

Increase productivity.

By automating and optimising processes, a WMS increases the productivity of your warehouse staff. The WMS ensures that operations are run efficiently, meaning your operatives can get through more work in less time.

All the time your warehouse is in operational use you are using power to light it, heat it and ventilate it. If you can cut the number of shifts per month or reduce the total time that the warehouse is operational, then you will reduce your electricity bill and cut your carbon footprint.

Assess and address energy use.

A WMS can pinpoint how and where you can limit the use of material handling systems and equipment. For example, you might be able to combine tasks in such a way that means there are times when conveyors or carousels are idle. Then, you could switch these off during those times, cutting the amount of energy you use.

Or you might identify times when operatives aren’t working in certain areas, allowing you to temporarily switch off the lighting in those empty zones.

Manage automation in a dark warehouse.

By employing automation in the warehouse, many operations can substantially reduce the number of people needed on the warehouse floor. Facilities operated by robots and automated systems are known as dark warehouses – because they can theoretically be run entirely in the dark.

The automation is directed by the WMS, sometimes alongside a warehouse control system (WCS). With no human operatives to indulge, lighting and heating are not required. This significantly slashes the energy used and reduces the carbon footprint of the warehouse.

Helping our customers to reduce carbon emissions is something that Balloon is passionate about. Carbon neutrality is something we’re aiming  for ourselves, in alignment with our commitment to The Climate Pledge.

If you would like to reduce energy consumption and get on the way to achieving net zero, call us on 020 8819 9071 or get in touch to find out how Korber WMS can help.

Why not stay updated on LinkedIn?