60 seconds with Greg Aimi, Gartner

Modern talks to Greg Aimi at Gartner about sustainable logistics.

By ·

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
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Your Guide to Voice for the Warehouse
Is voice a good fit for my operation? How would voice work in my warehouse? With the help of the Vitech Guide to Voice, you can find all the answers to your voice questions in one place.
Download Today!
From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
Injecting agility into WMS implementation
The Big Picture: Business as Unusual
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...
Manufacturing Day: 2,716 events from Hawaii to Alaska to Puerto Rico
Events to be scheduled throughout the month, so the remaining 249,185 manufacturing firms in the...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.