Promoting sustainability through logistics in the beauty industry
With environmental concerns never far from the headlines, sustainability in the beauty industry is fast becoming a highly relevant topic for companies and consumers alike. According to a recent Vogue article, as much as 70% of the waste produced by the beauty industry comes from packaging, and plastics pollution was the main focus of World Environment Day 2018.
As the beauty products sector increasingly recognises the need and demand for making its products and packaging more sustainable, we have put together a list of ways in which beauty firms can reduce their carbon footprint whilst improving efficiency with the help of warehousing, logistics and ecommerce:
- Transport Management Systems (TMS). With the ability to track individual deliveries and inventories, these systems keep inefficiencies to a minimum while helping to make distribution more energy-saving.
- Having products shipped by road, rather than flown, is growing increasingly fast, secure and reliable thanks to TMS. Journey times and routes are becoming consistently shorter and more efficient, as tracking allows for better forward planning. This soon amounts to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
- Ecommerce. As ecommerce platforms grow ever more readily accessible via smartphones, customers are increasingly turning to ecommerce as their preferred purchasing method. According to a 2018 BBC business report, demand for warehouse space has almost doubled in the last 10 years, thanks to the popularity of online shopping. This method allows items to be sent together and directly, reducing packaging and the need to involve a “middle man”, all of which makes for far more sustainable practices.
- Supply vs. demand: getting the balance right. When it comes to managing stock levels, every business knows the importance of having enough product in stock to meet unexpected spikes in demand. Striking a happy medium between preparing for every eventuality, whilst ensuring overstocked products aren’t gathering dust, is key. With a good Warehouse Management System (WMS), companies have the advantage of knowing exactly how much of their product is in stock at any given time.
Senior Operations Manager Richard Mallard explains: “There are several ways in which we can improve sustainability and efficiency for our clients in the beauty industry. We have a Transport Management System called Road Runner that links with a planning tool called Paragon, which plans the most efficient delivery routes. This saves on drivers’ hours and fuel, contributing to reducing our environmental impact.”
Speaking about The NX Group’s use of a Warehouse Management System (WMS), he adds: “This system has full traceability of all stock movements. Our customers’ orders download straight from their online platforms, such as Shopify, into our WMS, which cuts out administration and improves efficiency.”
On the benefits of ecommerce to customers and businesses, Richard says: “Smaller businesses can generate more revenue on individual orders, while major retailers of course buy in bulk at a reduced cost. Shipping direct to the customer essentially cuts out the ‘middle man’, which cuts down on emissions.”