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Sustainable Order Fulfilment

by Simon Bragg on 30th March 2022

At Whitehouse Solutions we understand the importance of looking after our environment and reducing the impact our fulfilment services have on the planet. As part of our mission to reduce the impact on the planet, there are three key areas we focus on, transport, packaging and our general operations.

Transport

We work closely with our transport and delivery partners to reduce the emissions associated with delivering your items to your customers. The transport companies we partner with are leaders in two separate areas, the vehicles themselves and the technology that supports them.

Our delivery partners are aiming for the most fuel-efficient fleets on the marketplace to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with moving parcels from A to B. For example, DPD is investing in electric vehicles, while three-quarters of Royal Mail deliveries are made purely on foot or by using the park and loop method.

While reducing the emissions are the key benefit to a more efficient fleet there are also cost savings as fewer litres of diesel are needed. These small cost savings eventually trickle down to businesses such as ourselves who can pass this on to our customers.

Another area that our partners are constantly working on is increasing the capacity of each load. With more parcels being delivered while using the same amount of fuel, the impact of each parcel is reduced. This is achieved by using longer length trailers and double-decker trailers.

The second area that the transport companies we work with are focussed on is using technology to further reduce emissions. These include intelligent route planning systems that will take into account things such as congestion and the providing the route with the least emissions. One of the pallet networks we use has over 70% of their vehicles on a centralised telematics system. This ensures they can monitor MPG and time spent idle across the majority of their fleet. With this data, they can continue to improve and reduce emissions.

 

Packaging

As part of our sustainability efforts we work with our customers to reduce packaging, offer recycled and eco-friendly packaging, recycle our waste and we can even help with product packaging design.

Reducing Packaging

We work with our customers to reduce the packaging when the product is first sent to us. This includes reducing the number of boxes that items are packaged in, using fewer packing materials, making sure the remaining packing material is recyclable and using less tape. By making these small changes we can reduce the materials we use while still keeping your products safe during shipping.

By working with our customers to reduce the packaging that we receive in the first place we can reduce the amount of waste sent for recycling. We achieve this by removing unnecessary inserts, reducing the need for void filler, reducing or removing labels from packaging and making our customers aware.

Most of the time simply having a conversation with our customers about how they can improve their packaging, or how their supplier can improve their packing results in the biggest savings. It’s not just saving on excess packaging either.

By removing unnecessary packaging you save money along the whole journey of your product, from delivery to us to the customer getting your product. When you reduce the amount of packaging for each product you’ll save money on the packaging itself, which is an obvious one.

However, you also save money on shipping costs as your products become smaller and lighter. You also save on storage fees as your products now take up less shelf space within the warehouse. While these changes aim to reduce the impact on the environment, it also helps to increase your bottom line.

 

Eco-Friendly Packaging Options

At Whitehouse Solutions, we offer our customers eco-friendly packaging options when they take advantage of our value-added and pick and pack options. These include cardboard boxes made from recycled paper, paper void filler, compostable mailers and paper parcel tape.

These small changes can add up when you have hundreds or thousands of orders throughout the year. Switching to easy to recycle paper packing material rather than bubble wrap lets your customers recycle rather than send plastic to landfills.

Compostable mailers are an easy switch to make as a fashion business as the compostable mailers are nearly identical to the plastic versions. Paper parcel tape rather than plastic is another simple switch. This change allows customers to put packaging directly into the recycling bin without having to peel off plastic tape.

 

Product Packaging Design

We’ve seen our fair share of different kinds of packaging over the years and this has given us unique insight into packaging designs. As part of our value-added services, we can work with your internal team and suppliers to help create a more eco-friendly packaging design. This can include removing excess packaging from the product, advising on the different packaging materials or designing custom-sized packaging from scratch. This means that you can reduce the impact of your products before they even arrive at our warehouse.

 

General Operations

As a business, we also look at our impact on the environment and find ways to reduce this. While this includes the basics such as energy-efficient lighting, reducing our standby energy consumption and purchasing energy-efficient equipment we also go further.

We have recently invested in the latest technology and all of our new forklift trucks are battery-powered. We have also invested in our order management system to deliver a fully paperless solution for our warehouse teams. With handheld computers and barcode scanners, there is no need for any paper until we print the shipping labels and dispatch your products to your customers.

 

Start Your More Sustainable Fulfillment Today

Here at Whitehouse, we understand the need to shift to a more sustainable present so that we can look forward to and protect our future. We’re not perfect but we know that by making small changes and taking positive steps in the right direction we can become sustainable in the long term.

If you’re looking to partner with a fulfilment company that’s always finding new ways to make order fulfilment more sustainable then get in contact with our friendly team today.

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