One of Europe’s leading poolers of sustainable wooden pallets to the retail supply chain is helping customers reduce their carbon footprint by more than one million unnecessary miles every year.
In so doing, Coventry-based IPP is also seeing the same customers cut more than 4.5 million kilogrammes of CO2 emissions over the same period, as part of its broader contribution to the circular economy.
It has achieved this by dramatically cutting empty running – the environmentally-damaging and costly process of delivery vehicles clogging up the UK’s motorways when returning to depots without a payload.
The customer collaborative solution has increased partnership working, supply chain visibility and fleet optimisation, reduced operational costs, generated an additional revenue stream and enhanced levels of customer service satisfaction across a wide range of clients.
According to the Institute of Grocery Distributors (IGD), empty running costs industry more than £150 million a year in wasted fuel, with more than 70 per cent of suppliers and retailers identifying it as their biggest opportunity to reduce costs and carbon.
IPP has worked closely with manufacturing and retail customers to co-ordinate the back loading of used pallets on the return journeys, eradicating the need for other vehicles to collect them for repair and repatriation.
“In the last year we saved 1,078,558 miles by this co-ordination process – which saved an enormous 4,582,805 Kg of CO2 emissions,” said IPP’s UK and Ireland director, Phil Storer.
“It is about working smarter as part of an end-to-end process for customers from start to finish. Our job is to make the reverse logistics process work as efficiently as possible to reduce unnecessary journeys.”
As part of the process customers can be financially incentivised to sort their own pallets ready for return journeys back to manufacturers’ sites.
In addition, IPP has forged stronger relationships with existing haulage partners as part of a strategic plan that is not only protecting jobs, but creating new positions and investment in trucks and equipment.
The hauliers, who provide the essential transport link in the circular economy by delivering, retrieving and repatriating pallets, have, in some cases, seen more than quadruple digit growth, leading to the necessity to recruit additional drivers and invest in new materials handling equipment to manage demand.
Lincolnshire-based WR Carter and Sons, which covers many of the eastern UK postcodes, started work with IPP in 2010 with volumes for that year of nearly 6,000 pallet movements. Over the last eight years the numbers have increased by more than 17,000 per cent and in 2018 it moved more than one million pallets.
Carter’s managing director Adam Carter, said: “We have developed a really strong relationship with IPP because they trust us to do the work in a professional manner – it is well-oiled machine. The relationship has become such that we have taken on four new permanent drivers with two additional sub-contractors.”
Storer, who coined the phrase ECOnomics to describe smarter working in the circular economy, added: “We usually go the extra mile for customers, but when it comes to working more efficiently and in an environmentally sustainable way, we are more than happy not to go the extra mile.”