60 seconds with Greg Aimi, Gartner

Modern talks to Greg Aimi at Gartner about sustainable logistics.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
July 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Greg Aimi
Title: Research director, Gartner
Location: Boston, Mass.
Experience: 18 years in supply chain and logistics
Primary Focus: Research related to strategies and best practices in logistics for Gartner’s supply chain division.

Modern: Last fall, you and your colleagues published a study on the “Evolution of Logistics Sustainability” How is this area evolving?
Aimi: One of the early indications in our research was that when it comes to sustainable logistics, there is a divide between people who own and operate physical transportation assets, such as transportation firms that move freight and shippers that don’t own their assets. Shippers were doing things that may have been sustainable, but really were just good business practices, like optimizing routes and redesigning their packaging to ship less air.

They were trying to do more with less, which is a good idea anyway. We also saw shippers doing some evaluation of mode shifting, or balancing service level requirements against the cost of the service. An example of that might be shifting from air freight, which is fast but expensive, to truck, intermodal, pure rail or vessel. And, we saw some shift to slow steaming where the ship slowed down to save fuel, but took longer to make a delivery.

Modern: How are things changing for transportation firms that own assets?
Aimi: On that side of the business, we’re seeing a lot more work that was physical in nature. We see interest in the EPA’s SmartWay program (epa.gov/smartway), and that will help owners become greener transportation logistics providers.

Companies are focusing on better performance from a sustainability and emissions standpoint. So, for instance, we’re seeing more alternative power units to control the temperature in the sleeper unit instead of running the diesel motor.

There’s a whole laundry list of things a firm can do to make a vehicle more efficient. We’re also seeing that some major consumer product goods (CPG) companies are including the SmartWay program as part of their selection criteria. All things being equal, they would rather source from a green transportation provider.

Modern: Is the interest in sustainable logistics being driven by the consumer or by the board room?
Aimi: It may be a little of both and it often depends on the type of industry you’re discussing. One of the things we have found is that companies that are more connected to the consumer, like a CPG company, are interested in their sustainability profile because there was some indication that consumer buying habits were being changed by the reputation of the company they were buying a product or service from.

That was less the case when you were talking about an industrial company supplying components or raw materials to another manufacturer, like an industrial
supplier of parts.



About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

While many industry analysts contend that distribution centers near U.S. East Coast ports will see a surge of new business after the Panama Canal expansion, real estate experts say this phenomena is already underway.

A new Government Accountability Office report on the effects of changes to truck driver hours of service rules has sparked a war of words between the American Trucking Associations and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the arm of the Transportation Department that is in charge of making those rules.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in May dropped 10.8 percent annually to $92.7 billion, following a 6.8 percent annual decline to $93.3 billion in April.

Carloads headed down 2.5 percent annually to 286,660, and intermodal containers and trailers remained on a growth path, up 2.3 percent to 270,952.

Rumors of transportation and logistics titan UPS acquiring Chicago-based transportation management services provider Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion have become a reality, with UPS announcing today that the deal is now official.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.