New Menlo offering focuses on managing greenhouse gas emissions, removing waste from supply chain
October 09, 2012 - LM Editorial
A new software offering released this month by Menlo Worldwide Logistics LLC, a third-party logistics (3PL) subsidiary of freight transportation services provider Con-way Inc., gives the company the ability to capture, calculate, and manage emissions activity throughout the supply chain, according to company officials.
Entitled CarbonNet, Menlo said the software was developed with expertise in Lean tools and continuous management processes so it can accurately benchmark and measure the carbon footprint of its operations and subsequently capture reduction opportunities.
“This is a natural extension of driving waste out and looking at natural resources and how we attack those as well to be more sustainable,” said Tony Oliverio, Menlo vice president of supply chain services, at last week’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Conference in Atlanta. “A few years back, when cap and trade legislation was being floated, it became clear that carbon was going to be a force to be reckoned with and potentially another cost for the supply chain, so we started putting a strategy together about how to attack that.”
And he added that in roughly 95 percent of Menlo’s RFQs and customer engagements, customers are asking about sustainability and what Menlo is doing in regard to environmental policies and how it is attacking waste in the supply chain from a sustainability standpoint, coupled with asking if Menlo can help customers calculate their carbon for carbon disclosure reporting.
The marriage of Menlo’s people, Lean processes, coupled with CarbonNet, which serves as the technology component sitting behind it, and offers a carbon calculator, and an abatement module, which tracks and monitors carbon-related opportunities.
CarbonNet also has the ability to connect the modes and flows of the supply chain so Menlo can look at it in a logical manner. Oliverio referred to this process as the carbon stream.
“You hear a lot about trying to get the calculation for a particular product or a product line,” he said. “We have it now so you can actually connect it and look at a carbon throughout a channel or to the end customer or a particular product. At the end of the day it is about how can we reduce emissions and identify and capitalize on those opportunities.”
What’s more, he explained how CarbonNet can help to meet customer needs on multiple fronts, one being aligned with their corporate social responsibility or environmental plans and another being to bring real and tangible benefits to the supply chain that has a definite ROI when looking at sustainability.
The technology behind CarbonNet is comprised of two components, said Ashton Shaw, sustainability engineer and senior Lean coordinator, Menlo. One is a profiling component, and the second is a data entry component.
“The profiling part helps to establish the Value Stream Map for a specific customer or for something on an internal basis,” said Shaw.”This could be for a manufacturing facility or a Menlo-operated warehouse, an office environment, or any kind of facility where emissions are generating from. And data for this is based on input from different vendors in the supply chain.”
Other collected data is based on transportation or flows between nodes in the supply chain, with Menlo having access to that information it is for an account or lane it manages. If it does not have direct access to specific data, the company works with outside vendors to access that information.
CarbonNet also contains a module that Menlo said provides “similarly configurable data capture capability” along with visibility into and measurement of transportation services including airfreight, truckload or LTL services, coupled with what portion of a carbon footprint can be attributed to energy use for these specific transport modes, said Shaw.
Menlo officials said the company has been piloting CarbonNet at 60 of its U.S.-based facilities over the past year. The company said emission source data was collected on each facility and an emissions baseline was established, with measurements currently being made against published industry indexes and standards to identify reduction opportunities to meet emissions reduction goals.
And CarbonNet is supported by Menlo Lean and process management experts through a cloud-based software program developed in house by Menlo. The company said this program is highly configurable and accepts input from suppliers, vendors, and other third parties with activity that contribute to the makeup of a supply chain carbon footprint.