SC Johnson recently completed a transportation-logistics project that eliminated 1,882 tons of greenhouse gases over a 12 month period, used 2,098 fewer trucks, cut fuel usage by 168,000 gallons and saved approximately $1.6 million.
The Truckload Utilization Project combined multiple customer orders – and multiple products – to load the fullest, best configured trucks possible. “Focusing on consistently hitting a trailer’s maximum weight provided a huge opportunity to reduce our energy consumption, cut our greenhouse gas emissions and save money,” said Pat Penman, SC Johnson’s director, Global Environmental & Safety Actions.
The different weights and sizes of various products have a profound effect on how a truck should be packed for maximum efficiency. For example, a truckload full of Ziploc brand products is far below a truck’s most efficient load weight and a smaller number of pallets of Windex glass cleaner will hit the maximum weight target while leaving empty space in the trailer.
To avoid this, SC Johnson began strategically packing multiple products on the same load. In making this a standard process involving multiple departments, the company says it can ensure the most efficient weight capacity is reached, thereby shipping the same amount of product using fewer trucks.
The company also maximized the use of day cabs, lighter than sleepers, which increased the amount of product loaded into the truck’s trailer before the vehicle’s maximum weight was reached. The company now requires that day cabs are used for all regional shipments – those that can be completed in one work day.
Another opportunity to increase efficiency involved revising a customer incentive plan. SC Johnson offered an incentive program that encouraged customers to order a minimum of two layers of every product with their shipments. The company has modified the program so only one layer of product is required, which lets the company combine products.
SC Johnson isn’t the only company researching ways to cut emissions and save money. According to research released in July, Wal-Mart’s fleet of about 7,200 semitractor-trailer trucks is already about 15 percent more fuel efficient than it was when the company announced its environmental goals in late 2005 (25 percent improvement in three years and a 100 percent increase by 2015).
PHH FirstFleet recently announced the results of a fuel study of U.S. truck fleets in the grocery, manufacturing, fuel and retail markets.