Participants included Tamara Barker, chief sustainability officer and VP for UPS; Randolph L. Bradley, technical fellow, supply chain management, Boeing; and Rick Bingle, VP of supply chain, REI. Bingle discussed REI’s new “platinum” LEED certified DC, which runs largely on energy efficient 24-volt systems, has solar panels on its roofs, and features eight goods-to-person workstations that can fill for either store or e-commerce fulfillment from a single stream of inventory.
Bingle’s advice included pulling together a team at the design phase that is willing to challenge preconceived notions about green DCs being too costly or hard to design. Bringing in experts in green building design helps, said Bingle, but its starts with an internal team that “has the belief you can do things differently.”
Barker said UPS’s deployment of a route optimization system that considers real-time traffic patterns and service commitments, and uses fleet telematics to track trucks, will reduce fleet mileage by 100 million miles per year. Boeing’s Bradley explained how new positioning and air traffic control technologies in Boeing planes are helping carriers find the most efficient altitudes and routes into airports, helping to avoid cancellations due to bad weather. At Boeing’s plants, more efficient packing and shipping processes with suppliers are helping to reduce supply chain costs.
Green DCs, added Bingle, can also help attract customers and employees who can see that reducing waste and being green is part of REI’s purpose and as such, is evidence of a purpose-driven company.