When your workplace spans 3,500 miles from coast to coast, the best way to turn heads is to show up with a tricked-out set of wheels. In our case, the wheels can carry up to 5,100 cubic feet of cargo.
Walmart Canada has made greening the supply chain a significant priority and investment over the past few years through a number of different initiatives. One area where we saw great opportunity was with our fleet; we wanted to find a way to deliver more products to our stores using fewer trucks, thereby reducing our impact on the environment. We found the answer in a pilot program using longer, drop-deck trailers we call supercubes. This first-of-its-kind trailer is 60 feet long and has an interior space of 5,100 cubic feet, providing enough room to ship almost 30 percent more volume than a standard 53-foot trailer.
Using these larger trailers takes cars off the road, cutting carbon emissions and saving energy. But their appeal also goes beyond sustainability, which is a happy accident. They’re all-around better trailers with more up-to-date features and—quite simply—they’re just cool-looking vehicles, inside and out. Features include fuel-saving resistance tires and side skirts that decrease aerodynamic drag under the vehicle and consequently, overall fuel consumption. In addition, these vehicles include flush-mounted, timer-set LED lights at the trailer entrance that shut off automatically when not in use. We first introduced the supercube during our Fall 2012 Transportation Sustainability Conference, and we received such great feedback on this innovative and efficient transportation solution that we are excited to roll it out more broadly.
The supercube is just one of many initiatives we’ve introduced over the past several years to create a more sustainable supply chain. And here are a few other examples:
- We require all carrier partners and logistics providers to include sustainability goals in their contracts. We also ask that they include how they plan to achieve them, and we measure these efforts through the carrier scorecard.
- We’ve been working with a third-party consultant to develop a measurement framework and process for analyzing carbon emissions in the transportation network so we can establish a baseline from which to work.
- We have improved fill rates on our trailers (cube utilization) and championed the Long Combination Vehicle (LCV) Program to reduce fuel needs and the company’s CO2 emissions.
Initiatives such as these are among the reasons that The Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters recently awarded Walmart Canada a CATIE award for Greening the Supply Chain. The honor is given to a Canadian company that has initiated, implemented, and proven a corporate commitment to greening its supply chain, as well as reducing its carbon footprint.
These steps toward a greener supply chain have shown significant results: we’ve been able to reduce the carbon emissions per case in our transportation network by 5 percent from 2009-2011 (the most recent data available) in spite of 17 percent case volume increase over the same period.