Order fulfillment can be a rather dirty business. It is not that it is immoral or wrong in any way, but rather that it can be somewhat damaging to the environment. Order fulfillment usually involves fossil fuel expenditure and the use of disposable items, both of which can be harmful to the environment. Promofill is constantly looking for ways to make our processes greener. Here’s a few tips If you want to conduct your order fulfillment in a “greener” way…
Local (When You Can)
Those who follow green initiatives know that using local sources is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. Using a local source cuts down on fossil fuels used both in order fulfillment and in basic shipping and it helps to support your local economy. When you can do so, try to make use of local companies for your order fulfillment needs. This might mean using a local bike courier for a local delivery or even ordering your shipping supplies from a local vendor instead of a national chain, but it will help you to reduce the amount of impact that your fulfillment activities have on the environment.
Recycled is Better
Try your best to use recycled material if you can. It is very easy to find recycled shipping containers, and most boxes on the market today are clearly marked as made from recycled material. You can also take it a step further by making use of recycled packing materials. Re-using old packing peanuts, for example, helps to cut down on the amount of Styrofoam that will be delivered to landfills. Likewise, using old newspaper instead of packing paper helps to re-use materials and eliminates the need for the manufacture of mostly-disposable paper products.
It should go without saying that you should always shoot to reduce the size of your packaging. The smaller the package, after all, the less material that goes into its creation and the fewer fossil fuels that are needed to keep those assembly lines working. Small packages also take up less room in transit, allowing shippers to fit more packages on a truck and to use less fuel. If you can shrink your packaging size by ten percent, you might help to reduce the amount of shipping down by several percentage points. As a bonus to you, smaller items usually ship for far less than larger items.
Who Ships It?
If you want to make your order fulfillment process greener, you have to consider the business practices of your shipping company. Certain companies make use of “greener” practices than others do, and using these companies both promotes environmental stewardship and helps you to keep your own carbon footprint down. Try to find out of the shipping company that you use has any particular environmental initiatives in place and do what you can to make sure that you only use green companies for shipping. You might be surprised by the difference that using a new shipping company can make in your life.
One Stop Shipping
Most of the major shipping companies (including the USPS, to some degree) actually have pick up services. While this might not seem to be the “greenest” of all order fulfillment options, a quick look at the logic behind using these services reveals it to be quite environmentally friendly. The driver is already out on rounds, and stopping by your place of business on the way to the depot takes less fuel than if you were to drop them off yourself. While there might be a slight cost involved in using some of these services, one must also remember that doing so saves time that you can then use to focus on other business matters.
More than anything else, though, you should consider the environmental impact of your own shipping policies. Consider, for example, the frequency of your shipping. If you ship one or two items every day, you might be using more fossil fuels and creating more pollution than if you simply did large shipments once a week. While this might slow down your overall profits, you might make a major environmental impact. You have to find a good balance between keeping your business running and making sure that you stay true to your green initiatives.
These tips are only a few of the ways that you can make your order fulfillment process more environmentally friendly. While it may take time to switch over to such processes, they will be worthwhile in the end. The changes are not only helpful for the world around you, but can also make your businesses more attractive to environmentally-minded consumers.