Menlo Worldwide Logistics said it has unveiled a program that will help companies do a better job of tracking their carbon footprint by integrating data collection, analysis, and process management with Lean principles. The company has also developed proprietary cloud-based software that facilitates those transactions.
San Mateo, Calif.-based Menlo, a unit of logistics giant Con-way Inc., said its program, called CarbonNet, is being piloted at 60 company facilities. Menlo expects to roll it out externally in 2013.
Menlo said the program raises the carbon management bar by combining data mining with Lean techniques employed to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. Many companies already collect and report data about the carbon emissions generated by warehousing, transportation, and manufacturing activities. Some have begun using the data in actionable ways reduce their carbon emissions. But the company said it has blended data collection, Lean processes, and cloud computing to help companies get a handle on their emissions and to put programs in place to reduce them over the long haul.
The cloud-based software program accepts a wide variety of data inputs to catalog emissions at facilities and in the movement of products and materials between locations, or what Anthony Oliverio, Menlo's vice president-supply chain services, calls the "nodes and flows."
Oliverio sees that capability as a key feature that distinguishes CarbonNet from competitors. "I have not seen others in industry connect and analyze across nodes and flows," he said in an interview.
The software also accepts input from suppliers, vendors, and other third parties. To ensure accuracy and consistency, the software and reporting protocols include standard operating procedures for participants, requirements for completeness, and checks and balances, said Ashton K. Shaw, a sustainability engineer and the company's senior lean coordinator.
Menlo has assigned a team of Lean and process management experts to the CarbonNet program, and classic Lean methods permeate each of the program's five phases, which are as follows:
Menlo said the company's results are already available to its warehousing and transportation customers, who can use the validated data to support their existing sustainability programs.