Connecting ordering of freight transport to logistical variables related to CO2 emissions
Paper in proceedings, 2012
Purpose: Reducing environmental impact is increasingly important for companies and this includes concerns regarding emissions from purchased freight transport services. When shippers order freight transport services, according to purchasing agreements, shipment specific requirements are specified, which can restrict the planning options of the transport provider, thereby influencing how the transport is performed and the resulting environmental performance. Therefore, shippers’ daily processes for ordering freight transport are of interest. The purpose of this paper is to explore how the shipper´s freight transport ordering process influences the logistical variables in the framework of Piecyk and McKinnon (2010): modal split, handling factor, average length of haul, lading factor, empty running, fuel efficiency and carbon intensity of fuel, in order to understand in what way CO2 emissions can be affected by the freight transport ordering process.
Research approach: An explorative multiple case study of routine freight transport ordering processes at manufacturing companies was carried out. Shippers were interviewed to describe the transport ordering process as well as how related internal processes provide input to the process. The analysis combines the information from the cases with literature that describes logistical variables, and results in a description of how the transport ordering process can influence logistical variables.
Findings and Originality: The study identified several connections from the freight transport ordering process to logistical variables and that the potential to reduce CO2 emissions partly depends on input from other processes. Examples of findings are, first, that timing of information input to the transport ordering process regarding transport requirements can influence lading factor and empty running, by affecting opportunities for the transport provider to plan vehicle utilisation. Secondly, communication between the sales staff and the transport ordering staff about customer needs regarding delivery times can affect urgency of transport and thereby influence modal split. Thirdly, information input to the transport ordering process regarding dimensions can affect planning of space required for the shipment and the utilisation of ordered space, thereby influencing lading factor.
Research impact: The paper contributes by process descriptions of the freight transport ordering processes, which has been rarely covered in previous research. Also, a general model of the process is proposed. It also contributes to the framework used by Piecyk and McKinnon (2010) by showing influence from the transport ordering process on logistical variables.
Practical impact: Shippers can learn how the configuration of the freight transport ordering process can influence logistical variables. This is important in order to be able to configure the freight transport ordering process to accommodate environmental considerations and reduce CO2 emissions from freight transport.