Sustainability is all the rage in supply chain circles these days, but business leaders often struggle to make headway, with hit-or-miss approaches to reducing their organization’s impact on the environment.
Attendees at the Warehousing Education and Research Council’s (WERC) 2023 annual conference took up this topic in a peer-to-peer education session on Monday, June 5, using a recent success story from engineering and manufacturing company W.L Gore & Associates, Inc., which is best known for its waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex fabrics. Ken Staz, the company’s U.S. regional logistics operations leader, presented details of a sustainable packaging project that has proven to be kinder to the environment and has simultaneously yielded annual savings.
In a nutshell, the firm switched from using single-use cardboard containers—which customers had to either dispose of or recycle—to transport large, bulky rolls of its product to using reusable metal racks the company builds itself. Shipments are handled through Gore’s third-party logistics services (3PL) partner, which handles the labeling and serializing of the racks for shipping as well as sorting, inspecting, and replenishing the racks back to Gore’s facilities after they’ve been returned.
Other attendees weighed in on sustainability “hits and misses” in their own operations, including projects focused on packaging reduction, biodegradable packaging, and energy-focused solutions.
WERC 2023 takes place June 4-7 at the Hilton Orlando.
Victoria Kickham started her career as a newspaper reporter in the Boston area before moving into B2B journalism. She has covered manufacturing, distribution and supply chain issues for a variety of publications in the industrial and electronics sectors, and now writes about everything from forklift batteries to omnichannel business trends for DC Velocity.