Many businesses are going green these days, and that includes warehouses. There are a number of benefits to embracing the environment. Many customers are going green, and they’re much more likely to shop at a business that also focuses on maintaining the environment than one that causes pollution. Going green can also be good for your finances—while some green technology does have a sizable initial investment, it often costs much less to operate or maintain. That means it pays for itself fairly quickly, and then you will see what’s often quite a sizable savings every month.
So how can a warehouse go green? Here are a few of the current trends that can be seen in warehouses across the world.
Many warehouses have started using forklifts that run on batteries instead of gasoline or other fuel. Advancements in electric vehicle technology have led to batteries that can power a forklift for hours. These vehicles make it easy to access all warehouse shelving without worrying about frequent recharges, fumes, or loud engine noise. You can install recharging stations directly in the warehouse, too, so recharging can be done quickly without leaving the building.
Streamlining Pallet Movement
Another way warehouses can go green is by reducing the amount of work done. If a pallet is moved from the loading dock to a shelf, then from that shelf to another, then to another area before finally reaching its final destination or being loaded onto another vehicle, that’s a lot of extra lifting and moving. The idea is to cut down on the number of touches—the times a forklift is used to move a pallet. If pallets can be moved directly to their final destination from the loading dock, less energy is required.
One method many storage warehouses implement is called cross-docking. This method involves moving pallets directly from the truck they came in on to the loading dock of the truck they are going to be loaded onto for ship-out. To successfully pull it off, trucks have to be perfectly scheduled and everything has to be running on time. If it can be done, however, then inventory moves in and out on a steady basis and pallets don’t have to be constantly moved into the warehouse, placed on shelves for a short period of time, and then moved back to the docks.
Instead of throwing away pallets, reuse them as often as possible. Wooden pallets will eventually break down, but instead of throwing them away, you may find someone in your community who will take the wood and use it in various projects. You can also recycle much of the cardboard, paper, and plastics the warehouse gets on a regular basis. You can also use recycled packing materials.
Almost all businesses have replaced the paper memo with email, but there’s a lot more you can do to go digital. Your inventory can be done entirely online now, plus you can start emailing invoices and other documents instead of printing them.