a Powerful Tool
REWE Logistics ensures that the company's stores always have the products they need. This operation is supported by a complex transport and warehouse system that ensures product availability, quality and freshness. Transport-related emissions make up about 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions at REWE Group (see Climate Protection). REWE Group is taking the following steps to cut these emissions: It has lowered the total of driven kilometres, increased vehicle utilisation, reduced emissions per kilometre through the use of different logistics concepts, employed efficient technology and modified driver behaviour.
Creating Intelligent Structures
Optimisation of the warehouse structure has driven down the company's transport and warehouse costs. To achieve these reductions, REWE Group began to systematically close warehouses, renovate them and build new ones in 2009. As part of this work, the cross-docking hub for fruit and vegetables that was opened in Leipzig in April 2014 now serves as a central delivery point for suppliers who once had to drive to several regional warehouses. The warehouse remodelling and expansion programme initiated in 2009 was completed with the opening of the logistics centre in Neu-Isenburg, Germany, in May 2014. With its 65,000 square metres of space, the new heart of REWE Logistics supplies all regions in Germany.
The warehouse itself has won the German Sustainable Building Council's Certificate in Gold (see Special “From a beacon to a standard”). By optimising its warehouse network, the company has been able to cut the total of driven kilometres since the base year of 2009 even as the number of transport units has risen. In addition, improved vehicle utilisation has had a positive effect on transport-related environmental impacts. Since the introduction of a Germany-wide fleet management system in 2012, the company has further optimised route planning and, thus, truck utilisation.
Use of Modern Vehicles
REWE Group continuously renews its vehicle fleet. Most of the registered trucks in the company's fleet meet the Euro 5 emission standard at the very least. In 2014, the company began to purchase only Euro 6 vehicles in a move that will gradually remove older vehicles from service.
In addition, REWE Group is testing alternative drive technologies. In 2012 and 2013, REWE Group put electric trucks to the test. As part of another partnership programme, an electric truck is being used to supply REWE stores in the Berlin metropolitan area. This "E-Force one" vehicle produces 7.5 tons less CO2 per 10,000 kilometres than a diesel-powered truck does. Following a test phase, it became a regular member of the fleet in February 2015. In Austria, REWE International AG is using three biogas-powered trucks and has conducted a project in which fats and restaurant waste are converted into fuel and then used.
As one other vehicle-fleet alternative, REWE Group is operating the first gas-powered truck. This vehicle does not just produce fewer CO2 emissions. It also combines the benefits of very low noise emissions and cost advantages in terms of fuel procurement.
To take full advantage of a modern fleet's potential, REWE Group's drivers are taught how to operate their vehicles in a fuel-efficient manner. In 2014, more than 250 drivers underwent this training. To continue this programme, six employees at REWE locations have become eco-trainers who conduct the corresponding courses. In addition to early gear changes and anticipatory driving behaviour, drivers learn how to correctly use cruise control. The company's vehicles are equipped with a governor that automatically sets the speed at 83 kilometres per hour on the autobahn. With the help of monthly fuel monitoring, trends in fuel consumption can be continuously analysed. In 2014, average fuel consumption in the REWE Group's fleet was lowered by 2.2 per cent. In Austria, REWE International has already integrated 250 vehicles into its fuel management system called "Shell FuelSave Partner." These vehicles are equipped with an onboard unit that records driver behaviour and data from their electronic systems. Analysis of these data is used to develop individual training programmes. Since the system was introduced in 2011, about 3.5 per cent of fuel has been saved per vehicle.
Innovations for Urban Logistics
Supplying urban centres is one particularly big logistics challenge. Urban infrastructure has already reached its limits, but the number of delivery vehicles continues to rise. In addition, urban delivery operations are considered to be a particular nuisance because of noise emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion. At the same time, a large amount of transport-related CO2 emissions in product transport is created during the "last mile". REWE Group has joined in two research projects that have explored these issues of the future. The Urban Retail Logistics (URL) project focused on developing alternative concepts for dispersion. One result of this work conducted in cooperation with other retail companies was the concept of a "urban hub" that serves as a central transshipping point for product deliveries. During a project called "silent night logistics" (Geräuscharme Nachtlogistik or GENALOG), concepts for rescheduling deliveries to the nighttime are being developed. Silent electric mobility plays a major role in both projects.