Warehouse technology systems provider Lucas Systems is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to further develop technology solutions that can help reduce distribution center (DC) and transportation industry packaging waste, the company said this week.
The partnership brings together Lucas Systems' data scientists and graduate-level students in CMU’s Software and Societal Systems Department (S3D) in the School of Computer Science to develop projects that can help solve end-of-supply chain distribution challenges, according to a Lucas Systems press release. The research is focused on developing innovative ways to reduce DC and transportation industry waste by optimizing the way DC workers fill and package multiple items for a single order.
The program will also contribute to Lucas Systems’ ongoing development of smart software that helps warehouse workers pick and pack orders in the most environmentally friendly and financially efficient way, according to the company. Based in Wexford, Pa., Lucas Systems provides warehouse optimization software and voice technology solutions.
Representatives from both groups emphasized the growing opportunity to develop sustainable solutions for supply chain operations, especially distribution. Lucas executives pointed to industry statistics showing that worldwide consumption of paper and cardboard has grown steadily over the past 60 years, increasing about 7% year-over-year, according to research firm Statista. They also said about 90% of items shipped in the United States are packaged in cardboard.
“The entire distribution industry has numerous opportunities to reduce waste and improve sustainability,” Lucas Systems’ CEO Mark McCleary said in the press release. “Consumers already recognize the increased amount of material they throw away with each shipment they receive. Consumers are paying for a lot of that waste—and so is our environment.” “
"CMU and S3D are excited to work with Lucas Systems on this critical challenge,” said Travis Breaux, director of the Master of Software Engineering programs and associate professor of computer science at CMU. “Improving the sustainability of packaging using the latest technologies is an area that we’re excited to contribute to.”