How to Go Green? 8 Strategies For Greener Last Mile
July 11, 2024
Greener Last Mile Route Optimization

Online shopping has become a quick and easy habit for many consumers. Once they decide what they want, they simply click the purchase button and wait for the product to arrive at their doorstep.

However, customers often don’t fully consider the environmental impact of their purchases when clicking that buy button. But now, many countries are implementing various policies to increase buyer awareness. 

With this growing awareness, delivery companies are starting to offer greener delivery options to their customers. In fact, research by click-and-collect firm Doddle found that 43 percent of shoppers prefer retailers with sustainable delivery options. Additionally, KPMG research reveals that 49 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods and services.

As delivery companies strive to make the last mile process more sustainable, they play a crucial role in this transformation. In this article, we will share 8 strategies for achieving a greener and more sustainable last mile.

What is Green Delivery? 

Green delivery, in its simplest form, is about making shipments as efficient as possible.

There are various ways to optimize delivery efficiency. For example, you can combine two orders going to nearby locations and send them with a single vehicle. Alternatively, you can wait until the vehicle is fully loaded before dispatching. Route optimization can also be employed to choose the most efficient routes, reducing fuel consumption.

How to Go Green?

1. Optimize Route Planning 

Use software to find the most efficient routes, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Optimizing route planning is crucial for green initiatives. Implement software to determine the most efficient routes, cutting down on fuel use and emissions. Efficient route planning ensures fewer miles traveled, less time on the road, and lower operational costs. This approach not only benefits the environment but also enhances delivery efficiency and reliability, making your business more sustainable and customer-friendly.

2. Consolidate Orders

Combine smaller orders into larger ones to reduce the number of trips.

Consolidating orders is an effective strategy to go green. By combining smaller orders into larger ones, you can significantly reduce the number of trips needed. This approach minimizes fuel consumption and lowers emissions, contributing to environmental sustainability. Fewer trips also mean reduced vehicle wear and tear and lower operational costs. Ultimately, order consolidation enhances efficiency and supports a more eco-friendly delivery system.

3. Train Drivers on Eco-Driving 

Educate drivers on fuel-efficient driving practices.

Training drivers on eco-driving techniques is crucial for sustainability. Educate them on fuel-efficient practices such as smooth acceleration, maintaining steady speeds, and reducing idling time. Eco-driving not only cuts fuel consumption and emissions but also extends vehicle life and lowers maintenance costs. By promoting these habits, businesses can achieve significant environmental benefits and operational savings, contributing to a greener and more efficient delivery system.

4. Use Greener Delivery Vehicles

Transition to electric and hybrid delivery vehicles.

Electrify the delivery fleet with purpose-built, last-mile vehicles. Transitioning to electric or hybrid delivery vehicles can significantly reduce carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. These vehicles are quieter, reducing noise pollution in urban areas.

Investing in a greener fleet aligns with sustainability goals and meets the increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly services. Electric and hybrid vehicles not only lower environmental impact but also improve the brand’s reputation and customer satisfaction. Additionally, they offer long-term savings through reduced fuel and maintenance costs.

By adopting greener delivery vehicles, companies contribute to a more sustainable future while enhancing operational efficiency and customer loyalty.

5. Minimize Empty Returns

Identify opportunities to load vehicles on return trips to eliminate empty runs.

Minimizing empty return trips is a key strategy for reducing fuel consumption and emissions. By finding and securing return loads, businesses can use delivery vehicles efficiently on both the outgoing and return journeys. This not only reduces empty miles but also maximizes vehicle productivity, leading to significant cost savings.

This strategy supports sustainability goals and enhances operational efficiency and profitability. By minimizing empty returns, companies can make their delivery operations more eco-friendly and cost-effective.

6. Offering Greener Slots

Provide customers with eco-friendly delivery time options.

Offering greener delivery slots is a proactive step towards sustainability. Provide customers with eco-friendly delivery time options, such as consolidated delivery windows or times when delivery vehicles are already scheduled to be in their area. This reduces the number of trips and lowers fuel consumption and emissions.

Encouraging customers to choose greener slots can be achieved through incentives or discounts. By aligning delivery schedules with optimized routes, businesses can enhance efficiency and contribute to a more sustainable delivery system. This approach not only supports environmental goals but also improves operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, reinforcing the brand's commitment to sustainability.

7. Use Digital Documentation

Reduce paper use by adopting digital forms and documents.

Switching to digital documentation significantly reduces paper usage. By adopting digital forms and documents, businesses can streamline processes, enhance data accuracy, and lower environmental impact. Digital records are easier to store, access, and share, contributing to operational efficiency.

This shift supports sustainability goals and reduces costs associated with printing and paper waste. Embracing digital documentation is a smart, eco-friendly choice for modern businesses, promoting a greener and more efficient operational environment.

8. Monitor and Track Emissions

Use software to track and analyze emissions.

Monitoring and tracking emissions is essential for sustainability. By using software to track and analyze emissions, businesses can identify areas for improvement. These tools provide detailed insights into fuel consumption and emissions, helping to find inefficiencies.

Using emission tracking software supports sustainability goals and boosts operational efficiency. This approach helps reduce carbon footprints and meets regulatory requirements and consumer expectations for eco-friendly practices. Monitoring emissions is a vital step towards a greener and more responsible business model.

As online shopping continues to grow, so does the need for greener last-mile delivery solutions. Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their purchases, and many are willing to support retailers and delivery companies that prioritize sustainability. By implementing strategies such as optimizing route planning, consolidating orders, training drivers on eco-driving, using greener delivery vehicles, promoting reverse logistics, offering greener delivery slots, adopting digital documentation, and monitoring emissions, delivery companies can make significant strides toward reducing their environmental footprint.

At QDelivery, we are committed to helping businesses digitize and optimize their delivery and field service operations. By embracing these green delivery strategies, we can not only improve efficiency and reduce costs but also contribute to a more sustainable future. Together, we can meet the growing demand for eco-friendly delivery options and create a positive impact on our planet.

For more information on how QDelivery can help your business achieve greener last-mile delivery, contact us today.