Moving Our Products

Inbound Freight

We continue to push for increased efficiency and reduction in energy use in our logistics from the starting point of our suppliers' facilities.

We currently manage more than half of our inbound suppliers' shipments, enabling us to better create efficiencies and reduce energy usage.

We arrange pickup and delivery ourselves, rather than taking receipt of shipments from suppliers at our warehouses. Using a more efficient fleet and consolidating product from multiple supplier locations aids in lowering our costs and reducing fuel consumption. Though fuel costs decreased in FY2014, a driver shortage continued to create carrier rate pressures that drive us to improve freight distribution productivity. Sysco Logistics is focused on building strategic relationships with our carrier and supplier partners to reduce our shared energy consumption while improving service to our customers.

Intermodal Shipping

Sysco continues to be an industry leader in the use of rail and intermodal shipping for our foodservice distribution. In FY2014, we moved more than 1,900 rail boxcars within our distribution network and shipped more than 13,000 intermodal loads. To attain fuel efficiencies we continually review opportunities to shift transportation modes, moving over-the-road trucks to railroad or intermodal whenever possible.

Sysco also strives to increase its use of SmartWay-certified providers. SmartWay is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that reduces transportation-related emissions by creating incentives to improve supply chain fuel efficiency for all parties engaged in the movement of goods.

Truck Load Fill Improvements

Filling our trailers remains a top priority for the Logistics team. Reducing the total number of loads each year through optimization efforts helps to reduce emissions while improving efficiency across our supply chain. We co-load shipments across our operating companies to increase our inbound truckload fill rates from single and multiple suppliers whenever possible. Additional benefits result, with more efficient unloading at our operating companies and decreased congestion at our warehouses.


We look for ways to make the delivery of products to our customers more energy efficient by focusing on fleet improvements, more efficient routing and the behavior of our delivery associates.

Fleet Improvements

Seeking cost-saving opportunities in our large fleet of trucks, we replace 10 to 12 percent of our fleet annually and have a policy of ensuring replacements are more fuel efficient.

During FY2013, we added 16 low-emission liquid natural gas (LNG) trucks to our fleet, bringing the total to 180. Since January 2010 we have purchased more than 4,335 EPA-approved diesel trucks with low emission engines. We have also built new LNG fuel stations at some operations to help with our transition to LNG vehicles; and we are evaluating 5 low-emission compressed natural gas (CNG) units.

Our fleet of hybrid/electric single-axle trucks represents 1 percent of our total fleet. Each of these vehicles consumes 40 percent less diesel than a standard engine.

We use biodiesel for trucks at 25 operating companies, although a reduction in government subsidies for biofuel producers makes securing available supplies a challenge.

Our fleet also is equipped with auto-idle shutoff timers that shut down truck engines after three consecutive minutes of idling.

In addition to testing engine and fuel options for our trucks, we continue to look for the best ways to power the refrigeration units used by most of our vehicles. In FY2013 we also began installing lighter, automatic rollup doors onto our trucks to increase safety for our delivery associates, enhance product integrity and driver efficiency, and reduce refrigeration loss during deliveries.

Delivery Routing and Utilization

Improved inventory and delivery routing is an important way to save fuel and curb emissions. We use computerized routing in our deliveries, technology that now also helps our Marketing Associates reduce time on the road.

In FY2013 we began implementing enhancements to our routing technology and processes to further improve delivery efficiencies. We expect this initiative to be implemented in all U.S. and Canadian Broadline operating companies by the end of FY2015. Locations that have completed the Optimization Process have reduced mileage up to 5% while increasing the number of cases delivered. In FY2014, the number of cases delivered per trip in our U.S Broadline companies increased by 2 percent.

We are working to reduce our overall fleet size through comprehensive analysis of historical usage patterns. Our effort to balance outbound deliveries by days of the week aims to enable the same number of deliveries with fewer vehicles, reducing miles driven and fuel consumed.

Delivery Associate Education

Educating our Delivery Associates also helps save energy. Technology installed on all of our trucks limits their speed to 65 miles per hour, reducing fuel use and improving Delivery Associate safety. Sysco's Delivery Associates are trained to drive safely and efficiently, eliminating "jack rabbit" starts and maintaining proper following distances in all driving situations. Electronic On-Board Computers monitor and improve individual vehicle and Delivery Associate fuel efficiency. Delivery Associates who work with manual transmissions are trained in progressive shifting techniques to ensure maximum fuel efficiency. Automatic transmissions are calibrated for maximum fuel economy, and engines are set to turn off automatically when unattended.

We have also installed devices on our fuel tanks and on fueling nozzles at our operating company and redistribution facilities (where most of our truck refueling takes place) to precisely track fuel use per vehicle and account for all fuel dispensed.