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Making a Proximal Location Decision

Aug/Sep 09
(page 2 of 2)
Green Initiatives
In recent years, the government, consumers, and even business leaders have become more aware of the need to make improvements  - or lessen the damage - to the environment. Your company may have already established green initiatives that could have an impact on your location decision.

About five years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched SmartWaySM ( as a means to represent environmentally cleaner, more fuel efficient transportation options. SmartWay identifies products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions. Its transportation programs are focused on the attainment of significant, measurable air quality and/or greenhouse gas improvements, while maintaining or improving current levels of other emissions and/or pollutants. The SmartWay Transport Partnership was subsequently formed, and provides benefits for shippers, carriers, logistics providers, and even truck stops for participating in SmartWay.

Shippers - SmartWay shippers' commitment begins with the Freight Logistics Environmental and Energy Tracking (FLEET) Performance Model, which quantifies the shipper's current environmental performance level. Shippers then commit to move at least 50 percent of their goods using SmartWay-recognized transport carriers. They are able to further improve their environmental performance by adopting the EPA's recommended shipper strategies, including no-idling policies at docks, evaluating and modifying business practices at distribution centers and warehouses, and using a combination of truck and rail transport to ship goods. Partners commit to improve their environmental scores over a period of three years.

Carriers - SmartWay truck or rail carriers' commitment also begins with filling out the Freight Logistics Environmental and Energy Tracking (FLEET) Performance Model, which helps them quantify the environmental performance of their operations. By joining SmartWay, they agree to set and strive for attainment of environmental and fuel efficiency goals within three years that improve the environment and their bottom line. The following types of companies are eligible to be a SmartWay Carrier Partner: public for-hire fleets, truck owner-operators, rail companies, and private fleets.

Is making your firm more complaint with green initiatives a priority? If that's the case, then you will be striving to reduce the amount of travel your freight has to make. Less travel equates to less fuel used and fewer emissions. That's something to take into consideration when evaluating the proximity of markets or suppliers to a new manufacturing site.

In Sum
These brief examples about market/supplier dispersion, transportation cost, and green initiatives are intended to indicate that these variables may be more important in your site selection decision than the factor rankings from the survey may imply. Being ranked 12th or 16th on the list doesn't mean these factors are less important. It just means that the site selection process is a complicated one that has many variables and each of them must be considered before coming to a final decision that is right for your organization to meet its objectives. 

Russ Dixon is director of corporate marketing and communications for Sunteck Transport Group. Sunteck is a non-asset-based transportation services company, providing transportation capacity and related transportation services through its agent network to shippers throughout the United States and Canada. For more information, visit

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