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Using Good Supply Chain Visibility to Support ESG

by | IntelliTrans | Nov 4, 2021 | Blog News

How a global supply chain visibility platform can help high-volume, process industries chip away at their carbon footprints and operate more sustainably.

With everyone from end consumers and B2B buyers to business partners and investors paying closer attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG), companies across all industries are sharpening their sustainability pencils and implementing strategies that align with the three core components that fall under the ESG umbrella.

An acronym originally meant to help investors pick “like-minded” organizations to invest in, ESG has become more mainstream and can apply to many different aspects of the business world. Here’s how the acronym breaks down:

  • Environmental criteria account for a company’s performance as a steward of nature;
  • social criteria examine how that firm manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates;
  • and governance criteria focus on an entity’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls and shareholder rights.

Combined, these three pillars help identify specific levels of commitment on the part of individual companies that want to run responsible operations focused on sustainability, social impact and corporate management. “Everyone is focused on ESG right now, both from an investment standpoint and in terms of the actions of individual companies,” said Ken Sherman president at IntelliTrans.

Not Just Another Box to Check

Much more than just another “box to check,” ESG is of particular importance in supply chain management, where organizations are increasingly interconnected and interdependent. As we’ve witnessed throughout the pandemic, such interdependencies can quickly make or break an entire supply network—both on the B2B and B2C side of the equation. 

By helping companies effectively tackle these issues while also saving them money and ensuring that they’re using the most efficient means of transport for their shipments, IntelliTrans has become a key ESG tool for its customers’ operations. Its Global Visibility Platform (GVP) also ensures that companies load as much product as possible into every shipment, thus reducing that company’s (and that carrier’s) carbon footprint, reducing any “empty miles” and using every inch of available capacity. 

“Each of these functions ties directly to sustainability,” Sherman explained. Knowing exactly where inventory is located in the supply chain, for example, and having that inventory positioned as close to the customer as possible helps reduce the time and effort it takes to get those products to market. “With clear and accurate visibility over deployed inventory within a supply chain, there’s less chance of duplicated efforts and/or having to unnecessarily expedite shipments.” 

IntelliTrans supports flawless execution to get the product to market and automatically audits freight bills so that companies only pay what they're contractually-obligated to pay. With accurate insights into current inventory availability and location, companies can run more efficient manufacturing operations which, in turn, also reduces their carbon footprints.

Fewer Empty Miles

A global visibility platform also helps companies make better freight decisions in advance versus when they’re under the gun and forced to make quick decisions in order to get product from point A to point B as quickly as possible. The organization that’s trying to decide between using truck versus rail, for example, may select the latter for its lower carbon footprint. Or, another company may pick full truckload over less-than-truckload—both of which are better than airfreight in terms of carbon footprint—for a similar reason.

In another example, companies will often shop both on price and on how well a carrier’s network aligns with their own distribution network when selecting a transportation partner to work with. As a result, the carrier that’s offering a lower price is doing so because it has fewer empty miles to traverse as it goes to pick up the shipment. These fewer empty miles translate into carbon footprint reduction (for trucks) and total shorter transit times and/or fewer switches (for rail).

IntelliTrans also helps companies further enhance their environmental sustainability by helping them put more product in each conveyance. This is especially critical for companies operating in high-volume industries and repeatedly shipping to the same destination. For example, the organization that sends 100 shipments every year to the same destination, and that gets an extra 5% of product into each conveyance, can send just 95 shipments versus 100. “This obviously reduces the company’s transportation costs while also reducing its carbon footprint,” Sherman said.

Getting a Little Better Every Day

By managing flawless execution, ensuring that carriers show up on time and eliminating extra rail switches, IntelliTrans helps companies achieve their ESG goals in a very cost-efficient, effective manner. It also helps organizations save money: when carriers show up on time, detention and demurrage bills are reduced right along with the amount of time that trucks have to sit idle.

“We not only help companies automate their business processes, improve their proactive customer service and reduce their distribution costs, but as a consequence of those, we also reduce their carbon footprints,” Sherman said, acknowledging the fact that high-volume companies in process-related industries tend to naturally have larger carbon footprints than others to begin with. This leaves much room for improvement, and IntelliTrans is the right partner to help companies achieve these and other ESG-related goals. “We help them get a little better every day in this important area,” he added, “and we're really glad to be able to do that.”


We’ll Help You Prepare for the Next Disruption

IntelliTrans’ Global Control Tower provides high levels of supply chain transparency; aggregates, completes, and enhances data from a variety of sources; offers visibility into and execution of different aspects of the supply chain; and generates data-driven alerts and analytics that ask deeper questions and deliver meaningful insights.

 By leveraging tracking information, the Global Control Tower provides analytics that measures key performance indicators (KPIs) like fleet cycle time, origin/destination dwell time, lane and hauler performance, back orders, freight spend, load optimization, and more. With their rate, equipment, lease, tracking, and invoice data in a central repository that’s accessible 24/7, companies can position themselves for success in any market conditions.