More logic in logistics

Logistics planning for different products

Taking responsibility throughout the value chain includes the optimization of the transport of our products. Throughout Henkel, we are working to simplify our logistics structures and develop efficient and environmentally compatible logistics concepts. In most cases, our logistics planning is tailored to the nature of the final products to be transported. For relatively bulky products, we reduce the transport mileage and the resulting environmental burden by maintaining regional production sites. This applies especially to our laundry detergents and household cleaners, and to some cosmetics and adhesives. More compact products with a low specific weight make fewer demands on transport, so we produce them centrally in large quantities wherever possible. Our instant adhesives, for example, are produced at just a few sites worldwide.

New requirements on our transport service providers

Worldwide, more than 90 percent of the transportation of our products from the production site to the warehouse, and from the warehouse to the customer, is now carried out by external logistics companies. It is therefore important for us to consider efficiency and environmental performance when we select our transport partners. In 2010, we defined new criteria for systematically assessing providers of logistical services in the context of “invitation to tender” processes. These include the definition of energy-saving targets, measures for modernizing vehicle fleets, and investments in programs for optimizing routes and determining emissions. Requesting information from companies about these criteria emphasizes our expectations in regard to environmentally responsible transport concepts, and we take them into account when we place new logistics orders.

Graphic Our operational carbon footprint
Based on primary data and the extrapolation of secondary data, average values, and emission factors, we estimate our operational carbon footprint for 2010 at about 1.4 million metric tons.

Determining our logistics emissions

We established comprehensive environmental data systems for our production operations many years ago. These cover both our own carbon dioxide emissions and the emissions resulting from the generation of energy bought from third parties. In order to record the emissions associated with the transport of our products or with business trips, we are continuing to invest in the development of appropriate data collection systems. To ensure the transparency and comparability of transport emissions, in particular, we actively participate in discussions aiming to define a standard covering methods, basic data, and system boundaries. We work together intensively with other industrial companies as well as with our logistics partners, also concentrating on data exchange and the avoidance of duplication of effort. The improvements in our data basis help us to check the effect of the actions we take and to respond to the growing number of data requests from industry and retail customers.

Initiatives to improve our carbon footprint

We look closely at the development, production, transport and storage of our products, as well as business trips and the use of company cars, to find ways to achieve an across-the-board improvement in our operational carbon footprint.

Area Activity
Logistics structures
  • Intermodal transports: Since 2008, we have been working with European logistics partners to gradually build up our intermodal transport routes for the efficient transport of products by means of different modes of transport. In 2009, for example, about 300,000 of the kilometers traveled by our laundry detergents in their journey from our productions site in Düsseldorf to our warehouses in Lomazzo and Ferentino in Italy and Vienna in Austria were covered by rail instead of by road. This reduces the annual emissions of carbon dioxide by about 55 percent. For 2010, we and our logistics partners have already identified other European routes that are suitable for switching product transport to rail. In the USA, too, we are increasing the proportion of intermodal transport routes.
  • Since the beginning of 2010, Henkel has been shipping its cosmetics products by rail within Germany. We now transport all cosmetics products by rail from our production site in Wassertrüdingen in Bavaria to our central cosmetics warehouse in Monheim near Düsseldorf. About 86,000 metric tons of cosmetic products will be transported in this way every year, thus reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by some 7,000 metric tons.
  • In 2009, as part of the Supply Chain Optimization Project, we focused on simplifying the structures of our finished products warehouses in the USA. As a result, we were able to reduce the transport mileage between the various intermediate warehouses by 35 percent. This is equivalent to avoiding the emission of almost 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Synergies / Cooperations

  • Expansion of pooling activities, i.e. targeted grouping of transports and storage of similar product categories together with those of other suppliers at the same logistics service provider’s facilities. This generates synergistic effects in storage, order picking and transportation, thus ensuring that only fully loaded trucks travel to the central warehouses of our customers.
  • Logistics-oriented granting of discounts, i.e. achieving savings through efficient order quantities. Here, manufacturers and retailers share whole or half truckloads, for example. Such systems were successfully introduced in 2010 and plans have already been made to roll them out across Europe in the next two years.
  • Centrally coordinated logistics purchasing and, where possible, grouping of transport consignments carried between individual sites. Example in USA and Europe: Increase in shipment weight and therefore in truck capacity utilization by grouping the transport quantities of neighboring Henkel sites.
  • We aim to cooperate with our retail partners to identify potential for improvements, and therefore participate in, for example, the European Efficient Consumer Response initiative.
  • Expansion of transport cooperations with other companies to avoid empty transports.
Product optimization
  • Product optimization in terms of weight and volume, provided this is possible without compromising the performance and stability of the packaging. Example: switch of U.S. liquid laundry detergent brand Purex to a concentrate. Result: avoidance of about 17,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from transport operations per year thanks to reduced product volume.
  • Step by step relocation of packing material production to the actual sites.
Business trips / company cars
  • Carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer of new company cars cut by about eleven percent in 2010 relative to 2009. Technical progress as well as the country-specific definition of efficient reference vehicles and the fixing of upper limits for carbon dioxide emissions when ordering new cars have all contributed to this reduction.
  • New in 2010: Break down of total monthly costs of a car into the company fraction and the employee’s own contribution. By increasing the transparency of the fuel costs incurred every month, we want to encourage our employees to drive more efficiently.
  • Guidelines for replacing business and airline travel by video and telephone conferencing.
  • Example: In the last three years alone, the duration of our worldwide teleconferencing has increased ten-fold. This has gone hand in hand with a considerable saving in carbon dioxide emissions.

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