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How to Green Your Supply Chain

April 16, 2008
Ryder offers strategies aimed at running a more eco-friendly operation.

Adopting green designs and processes can help manufacturing companies reduce supply chain risk, while adding value for their customers, with the end result of becoming more efficient, agile and profitable, suggests Ryder System Inc., a provider of logistics services and solutions. Ryder offers the following strategies for developing a more environmentally-friendly supply chain.

Warehousing and Distribution

  • Integrate energy conservation strategies in the warehouse to reduce reliance on greenhouse gas-producing sources.
  • Set targets for reduction of energy consumption and conduct annual audits to ensure progress.
  • Use low-voltage lighting and install motion sensors or timers on lighting systems.
  • Conduct regular facility inspections to identify opportunities to upgrade the building envelope (i.e., roofing, doors and windows) or to repair leaking water pipes and irrigation systems.
  • Integrate real-time inventory visibility in the warehouse to reduce unnecessary trips and wasteful inventory obsolescence.
  • Leverage innovative technology to streamline and improve the accuracy of inventory levels.
  • Create a closed-loop system for reporting and reconciling inventory levels with front-office.
  • Optimize distribution networks to require fewer trips, less idling and lower overall delivery costs.
  • Establish regional distribution centers to serve customers based on demand.
  • Optimize and consolidate routes to reduce the number of loads overall.


  • Align inbound and outbound shipments to reduce carbon emissions with less fuel and speed cash-to-cash cycles.
  • Connect in real-time to customers to synchronize returns with maximized fleet use (i.e., backhauls).
  • Coordinate supplier shipments to consolidate freight costs and negotiate better rates.
  • Automate transportation management systems.
  • Switch to an electronic freight, bill, audit and payment process to reduce or eliminate paper transactions.
  • Synchronize with warehouse operations to extend efficiency.
  • Consider a dedicated fleet solution.
  • Control routes, fuel consumption and idle time.
  • Enhance driver training with courses that improve driving skills and performance, and teach drivers simple techniques to reduce fuel consumption.
Ryder, meanwhile, has taken a number of steps to green its own vehicles and thereby enhancing the relative "green-ness" of its customers. The company has taken steps to reduce the amount of sulfur emitted from diesel-powered engines by providing ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel at all Ryder fueling operations in the U.S. Ryder also provides biodiesel supplies in areas where this fuel is mandated by regulation.

In addition, the RydeGreen line of tractors and trailers conforms to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, with these vehicles designed to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

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