By now, everyone is aware of global warming and the danger it presents to our environment. With this universal understanding has come an overwhelming desire to use more sustainable business practices. In a general sense, sustainability means using the world’s resources wisely, always keeping one’s effect on the environment top of mind — like cutting down on plastics to stop them from polluting the oceans, or recycling, which nowadays also means reusing old material for new clothing, as some fashion houses are doing.
This move to go green means companies are feeling pressure to incorporate practices that make the least impact on the environment. There’s actually a metric for sustainability in companies, which is called the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) score. This score is arrived at by looking at publicly available records and company performance and takes into account treatment of workers, materials used, and business practices, among other things.
A good ESG rating is becoming more and more important. Finance and investment firms use it to make decisions about loans, NGOs use it to make decisions about whom to partner with, and government agencies use it too. In fact, starting in 2024, the EU will make it mandatory for all companies, either those in their jurisdiction or those doing business in their jurisdiction, to disclose their ESG rating.
With this in mind, it’s vitally important for companies to comply and run their operations as sustainably as they possibly can. Consumers are demanding sustainability – and often rewarding companies that practice it – and it’s the right thing to do.
In this blog, we’re going to look at approaches you can take to make your inventory management sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Ways to make your inventory management sustainable
Buy eco-friendly raw materials and components
What we’re talking about here is raw material made from natural products, items that are biodegradable, compostable, and, ideally, don’t require a lot of resources, like labor, to produce. It’s becoming easier and easier to find these eco-friendly items. Bamboo, for instance, is becoming more and more useful. Growing prodigiously very quickly, it makes a great hardwood, and its fibers can be turned into cloth.
Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about what they buy, and they tend to reward companies that source eco-friendly items and components. First Insight reported in 2019 that 62% of Gen Z consumers preferred sustainable products, while 73% of them were willing to pay more for items that were eco-friendly. Of course, locating eco-friendly materials can take time. Fortunately, automating your inventory management will free up your time for the search.
Use local suppliers and vendors
It’s not always possible to get what you need from local suppliers, but if you can, you’re reducing the carbon footprint in a big way. By using local suppliers, you’re cutting back drastically on transportation and the energy involved in moving goods from one place to another.
Optimizing inventory levels and sustainability go hand in hand. If you have too much inventory, you have used too many resources to produce, store, and transport items that might not even sell. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough inventory, you could risk running out and causing a shutdown, and if that happens, you’ll have to tap into additional resources – power and workforce – to start production up again.
Sustainably optimized inventory can be achieved with automation. A reputable inventory management system system like Cin7 Core will not only track inventory through the supply chain, it will give alerts when the level of items in stock reaches a predetermined low. Cin7 Core can also be programmed to send out purchase orders when it detects the need to order more stock. For manufacturers, Cin7 Core offers a materials requirements planning (MRP) feature that assesses your raw material needs, compares your needs to your stock, and puts in orders for the items you’re lacking. In other words, it takes care of optimizing for you.
Minimize inventory damage/loss
To be sustainable, you should not have more inventory than you need at any given time. It’s also important to make the best use of what you have. This means using perishable items up before they expire and doing your best to make sure items do not get damaged.
Consolidate order deliveries
Delivering several orders at the same time in one package instead of sending each one out individually is, of course, a great carbon-footprint reducer. Consolidation uses less packaging, trucking, and manpower.
However, order consolidation can be complicated, and it’s almost impossible to do without a good automated system to make sure everything is in place. By integrating with several shipping companies, Cin7 Core lets you select an eco-friendly carrier.
Get rid of paper records
While paper and print is only responsible for less than 1% of our carbon footprint, it is made from trees, and that, as we know, is a vital resource in today’s eco-friendly world.
Maintaining records digitally does away with the need for paper — and saves all those trees.
Digitizing records with automation also speeds up communication because all anyone who needs information has to do is check out the database — no more need to send invoices or purchase orders by mail, and no more need for paper spreadsheets to keep track of inventory. A digital system is quicker and far more efficient.
The urgency to become as carbon neutral as possible has never been greater than it is right now, and companies can play a big part in getting there. Making the necessary changes to inventory management is not altruism; eco-friendliness wins customer approval and can make a company stand out from its competition.
When it comes to companies becoming sustainable, all roads lead to automation. If you’re in the market for a software to help make your enterprise greener, click here to set up a call with one of our Cin7 Core experts.