A contemporary challenge to supply chain managers is how to maintain international standards and achieve the best TMS systems and practices in social and environmental responsibility and in turn boost their brand value. Corporate responsibility is increasingly demanded across supply chain networks, as customers become more aware of the importance of making ethical consumption choices and are empowered to apply pressure in social media on companies they do business with.

Developing in-house expertise through training gets your teams so far, but can be cost prohibitive for smaller companies and knowledge of personnel is only one part of the expertise equation.

More freight forwarding, brokerages and shipping companies are catching on to the potential power of big data to transform business processes and improve decision making.  A good example of how ethical accountability can be supported by transport planning software, for instance, is in terms of carbon footprint impact measurement.

Environmental Responsibility

For globally inter-connected supply chains, reliant upon each other for last minute delivery, consistency of service is essential.  If a single freight management service provider is threatened with non-compliance penalties for exceeding truck fleet pollution levels, or an ocean freight carrier is witnessed dumping toxic cargo at sea, subsequent fines can potentially put them out of business; this can have a knock on effect for a business partner whose reputation relies upon their environmental credentials and supply chain accountability.

It is no longer enough for individual companies to minimise their carbon footprint, or treat their drivers and other staff fairly. In an increasingly complex international regulatory environment, supply chain companies want to investigate and report on their supply chain’s high standards and respect for regulation.  There are good reasons for this.

The Regulatory Environment

Regulators of environmental laws, your customers and shareholders increasingly expect higher standards of environmental protection.  ISO standards are a significant consideration for legal and compliance transport teams. Since 2015 they must now pay due regard to ISO 14001:2015, the International Standard for environmental management systems.  Also, ISO 19011:2011 established the auditing requirements for environmental management systems based on ISO 14001:2015.

Within TMS modular options, there are compliance focussed data management functions that can consolidate your regulatory environment data and keep your information updated and integrated to your documentation and administration systems.  This eliminates room for error, giving staff the chance to apply their expertise, supported by a more robust compliance system to manage and enhance your impact on the environment. Data entry templates and machine learning over time can enhance insights into your environmental performance.

For truck, ocean or aircraft carrier fleet owners, combined with data sets on fuel consumption, environmental reporting can be broken down to a local level, by driver, third party transport provider, by time period, or customised granular or global criteria.  Flexible reporting means you can identify where your carbon footprint is greatest and identify room for improvement.  According to an Inbound Logistics Trucking Perspectives Survey in 2015, 22 percent of trucking companies cited sustainability as one of their greatest challenges.

For example, less than load (LTL) capacity shipping, or even empty trucks on roads are not uncommon, wasting valuable fuel and profits. Automated reminders for fleet servicing and push notification to operatives on the road means that vehicles perform optimally.

Knowing where the profit leaks are happening and marginal improvements can be significant not only for your bottom line, but make good business sense to partners and customers who will appreciate your professionalism. Smart use of data and better supply chain reporting, via a unified, simple to use dashboard, together with scalable software functionality to suit your business, is where the best TMS systems help you become your best too.