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“Throughout the manufacturing and distribution industries, we’re seeing an increasing level of adoption of green technologies and practices.”



Study: Manufacturing companies are making steady improvements in their green performance

Josh Bond
Modern Materials Handling
17 October 2012


PA’s Alex Davison, logistics expert, discusses PA’s second annual benchmarking study of manufacturing companies.PA’s study shows that the companies under review have improved their green performance since early 2011. The benchmarking analysis is a snapshot of four global manufacturing companies, Siemens, GE, Alstom and ABB, which improved their green performance through various methods.

Alex observed that as industry leaders, these large companies are in a unique position to drive change among their suppliers and carriers, as well as within their own organisations.

He says: “Throughout the manufacturing and distribution industries, we’re seeing an increasing level of adoption of green technologies and practices. It’s a classic case of large organisations using purchasing power and clout to go green while driving out costs.”

Alex discusses how both energy costs and customers are pushing supply chains to enhance efficiency. He explains that the rise in e-commerce highlights the need for efficient reverse logistics, which can be as important to a company’s bottom line as outbound logistics. For example, reusable packaging, such as pallets made of cardboard, is also increasingly used.

On the topic of supply chains, Alex says: “In the manufacturing and other sectors, we will see increased sharing of resources between companies.” He noted that these practices are already underway in retail: “Where previously you wouldn’t see competitor’s products on the same truck, that will change, and it will be mutually beneficial.

Alex also shared some measures a company can take to improve its green footprint:

Reduce emissions:

● reduce handling steps, transportation and storage (lean production)

● adopt intelligent route planning (or lean lift movement planning), reduce empty tours

● deploy energy efficient motors for any kind of drives

● reduce weight of any moved parts (racks, lifts, etc.)

● use stored energy if loads are lifted up into racks.


● higher efficiency (energy saving tires)

● energy management for batteries

● explore biodiesel or new battery technology (which can raise battery effectiveness from 55-75 per cent up to 95 per cent)

● consider hybrid forklifts, which can save up to 25 per cent of fuel and costs

Save energy:

● lighting costs create 2-20 per cent of total energy costs, and new lighting techniques can reduce demand on electricity by up to 70 per cent. Choose energy efficient lights with good reflectors and switch of lights in areas not used.

● switch off continuous handling equipment when not used

● change to de-centralised steering instead of central steering (potential for 50 per cent savings)

● improve insulation

● use modern sliding gates (insulated, sealed), air fan curtains, fast operating gates

● modernise heating and cooling systems, for instance by using infrared heating (warms objects, not air), and consider special treatments for cold storage that can save up to 5-50 per cent of cost.


To view the article in Modern Materials Handling, click here.  

For more information on PA's greening business expertise, click here or contact us now for more information.

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