April 29 2008 02:55 PM

Green, in fact, may be the color of money, but the green that is making headlines concerns the environment. Whether you are a tree hugger or a hard-nosed operations manager, you have to acknowledge that energy-saving green is now mainstream.

Green is the perfect color for IT, according to Gartner, Inc.s Carl Claunch. Green IT tops his list of the 10 most important strategic technologies for 2008. Claunch warns that ignoring strategic technologies could result in disruptively expensive catch-up.

Competitive Edge

If you are one of those hard-nosed operations managers with parcel shipping as your responsibility, you will be glad to hear that there are a number of environmentally positive things to do that will turn competitors dare I say it? green with envy.

The great news here is that an environmentally responsible shipping system is a cost-effective one. In fact, a well-integrated system is, by its very nature, green because it uses very little paper. You can go even further and become 100% paperless pick-and-pack by adopting spray-on labels. Although, you still have the boxes, of course.

Spray-on license plates aside, a green automated shipping system should print only labels. Printing on 8  by 11 is a no-no. Reports should go into databases, not on paper. A good web-reporting tool takes this a green step further.

Paperless Input
An efficient shipping system should even avoid paper-related input. A shipping clerk should be able to scan address and other label information rather than type it from a piece of paper.
Accordingly, a quality address verification system helps avoid misdirected packages. That is definitely good for the environment, not to mention customer relations.

Client server-based shipping systems are very green. Think of how much physical traveling back and forth is saved when you are working on only one server instead of several. And every time you update and maintain that single server, you are saving energy.

As you can see, green and efficient, at least when it comes to shipping systems, run parallel. Accordingly, becoming a good world citizen comes with an excellent ROI.
Justin Cramer, EVP of Best Way Technologies, maker of ProShip multi-carrier shipping software, can be reached at 866-944-2378 or jc@bestwaytech.com.