As our orders continue to grow, our nimble logistics team has to do some fast-stepping to keep pace with our goals to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with transporting our products, keep costs down, and provide excellent customer service. The hallmark of our transportation work is a decentralized network of five distribution centers strategically located close to our customers to minimize miles traveled and decrease order times. As we instituted this system in mid-2009, 2010 was the first year that we were able to reap the full benefits of this change — a 24% reduction in GHG emissions per metric ton of product shipped in the past year and a 35% reduction since 2008 — the latter comparison more accurately reflects the impact of this initiative. Our customers also appreciated the 50% drop in lead time from order placement to customer delivery — down to five days.
While we have reduced emissions, we have also saved money and are insulating ourselves from the effects of future gas price increases. This initiative demonstrates that pursuing a sustainability agenda benefits our business and we hope it will inspire others who are swayed by arguments of financial return.