In general, the logistics audit process is divided into three phases: The first phase consists of an analysis of the current production system. It is followed by an analysis of the data and a subsequent report with conclusions and proposals for improvement. Finally comes the decision phase in the selection of the best alternative, the detailed project and the implementation.
Why carry out a logistics audit
Reducing the impact of logistics and transport is at the heart of what is known as “green logistics”. An integral change in strategies, processes and logistics systems to achieve environmentally friendly processes and efficient use of resources.
Global warming continues to increase and the average global temperature has increased by 0.8°C over the past century and is expected to increase by a further 4 to 5 graods over the next 100 years. Thus, logistics services are no longer only concerned with transport and storage costs, current concerns about the costs of climate change and pollution are also important.
Thus, green logistics seeks to change all phases of the process: from product design or material stock to transport type and route. To succeed in this transformation, carrying out an audit is an essential step.
The steps of a logistics audit
Analysis of the current production system
In order to carry out an audit according to the quality and professionalism that the customer deserves, it is essential to know as precisely as possible the flow of materials in the process to be studied.
For this reason, the previous step in the visit to the facility to be audited is to prepare a checklist where all existing information regarding the layout and relevant data of the facility / production / storage / sampling is requested.
It is very important to organise the necessary internal meetings to comment on the data received and to be able to clarify details concerning the process, flows and storage locations.
The consultant must be on site for as long as the project requires in order to be able to see the different flows and the operating facility in situ. It is advisable to carry out the initial visits in at least two phases in order to be able to analyse the first impressions and confirm them afterwards or to continue the examination of certain aspects.
After the visits, and at the end of the first phase, a report is prepared that includes the current picture of the production process, storage areas, productivity or resources.
Data analysis and reporting
The second phase consists of analyzing the data and subsequently producing a report with conclusions and proposals for improvement.
Before starting the analysis of the data obtained, it is important to define with the client the objectives of the audit: existing limitations, expected growth or new strategies to ensure that the audit results will aim to achieve the defined objectives.
This is where the detailed analysis of the data obtained is carried out, then a report is generated that includes conclusions about the ongoing operation.
This report will provide an overview of the facilities, a description of the operational processes, a representation of the different material flows, productivity, any inefficiencies observed and the resources used.
Similarly, it will also include the various proposals for improvement, at the general level (dupla – terna of options), which are mainly to be reported: general provision, operational processes, investments, necessary resources, implementation deadlines, maximum allowable growth and expected return on investment.
By having a constant flow of information between the company and the consultant, it is guaranteed that the results obtained are reliable and real.
Decision on the best alternative, detailed design and implementation
At the same time as the property, the different options are analyzed and the most appropriate one is chosen.
Finally, the selected alternative must be developed in as much detail as possible, by preparing the required technical specifications in order to be able to request the required bids from potential suppliers and by planning the tasks (internal and those to be assigned to suppliers).
Aspects to take into account for a ‘green logistics’
The most important aspects to take into account to ensure good environmental management throughout the logistics process are:
- Maintenance and management of transport vehicles, this ranges from tires or vehicle consumption to the use of all the space in order to reduce the number of transports, since reducing the kilometers traveled involves a direct reduction of gases.
- Seek the most efficient routes in order to reduce pollution as much as possible. Also maintain real-time monitoring of international and national routes to guide and avoid incidents in traffic.
- Prioritize alternative energies as a solution to traditional fuels to save both economic costs and resources.
- Optimize and improve packaging to reduce the generation of excess waste and use biodegradable materials.
- Implementation of reverse logistics. In this way, the products return from the point of consumption to the point of origin, recovering the value of the materials and ensuring their correct reuse, recycling or disposal.
In addition to the advantages it provides to the environment and the safe reduction of costs, green logistics gives companies greater competitiveness, as today, users value sustainability and concern for the environment.