Automating supply chains for a greener future

April 19, 2024 | 3 minute read
Joan Lim
Senior Manager, Product Marketing
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I attended MODEX last month and saw the latest advancements in robotic applications and automation. MODEX is the largest manufacturing and supply chain expo in North and South America, and shattered attendance records with over 48,000 participants this year. One solution that is experiencing tremendous growth are autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). These solutions are flexible and versatile, and can be utilized for a variety of manufacturing and warehousing tasks. Incorporating advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are enabling these automated solutions to increase speed, accuracy and efficiency.

When it comes to sustainability, what does this mean? Sustainability and automation intersect in several ways, offering opportunities for companies to enhance environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic efficiency. Here are some ways adopting automation processes can help support your company’s sustainability goals:

  • Efficient energy use: Automation technologies can optimize energy in manufacturing and distribution processes. By minimizing energy waste and optimizing equipment operation, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and lower energy costs.
  • Conserving resources: Automation can help in the efficient use of resources such as water, raw materials, and packaging materials. These systems can precisely control water usage in manufacturing processes, minimize material waste through precise cutting or shaping, and optimize packaging to reduce material consumption.
  • Reducing waste: Automation enables tighter control over production processes, reducing the likelihood of defects or errors that result in wasted materials. Automated systems can also facilitate recycling and waste management by sorting materials more efficiently and effectively than manual processes.
  • Enhancing worker safety: While automation can potentially displace some manual labor, it also offers opportunities to improve working conditions and enhance worker safety. By automating repetitive or hazardous tasks, companies can reduce the risk of workplace injuries and provide employees with opportunities for more fulfilling and higher-skilled roles.
  • Regulatory compliance: Automation can help ensure compliance with environmental regulations and standards by providing real-time monitoring and reporting of key performance indicators. This reduces the risk of non-compliance penalties and helps companies demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to stakeholders.
  • Optimizing logistics and distribution: Automation can improve efficiency by streamlining logistics, optimizing transportation routes, and reducing inventory holding costs. This can lead to lower emissions from transportation and warehousing activities, and decreased reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Lifecycle analysis: Organizations can analyze the environmental impact at each stage of the product lifecycle where they are able to look into process improvement and make informed decisions to minimize their overall environmental footprint.
  • Data-driven decision making: Companies can leverage data analytics and AI to identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact, improve resource efficiency, and enhance overall sustainability performance.

Integrating sustainability into supply chains is not only an ethical imperative but also a strategic business decision that can drive long-term value creation, enhance brand reputation, and ensure business resilience in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

Learn more about Oracle’s Supply Chain Management sustainability solutions.

Joan Lim

Senior Manager, Product Marketing

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