Reducing costs is something virtually every business owner strives to accomplish, but in the logistics industry, tight deadlines and tighter margins create an even greater need to reduce supply chain costs. When factors like inflation or rising fuel prices get thrown into the mix, cost reductions start becoming ever-pressing issues, and they will definitely affect your decision-making as a manager or owner in a supply chain operation.
While the quest to implement cost reduction strategies in supply chains is not without its challenges, the good news is that you can start putting together a plan now to get ahead over the next quarter and beyond. To help you get ahead, below are several strategies you can use to reduce supply chain costs in the short term and the long term:
Follow Market Conditions and Custom Demands
The first step in reducing costs in any industry is understanding your challenges. In supply chain operations, this typically means looking at current market conditions, market condition forecasts, and customer demands and behaviors. These forces often have the largest overall impact on costs since they factor into everything your company does along a supply chain.
Following these forces closely is important for improving supply chain performance and your cost reduction strategy because these forces are unpredictable. As was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, markets can shift due to global crises and customer demand changes due to market forces.
During the pandemic, logistics professionals had to contend with greater customer demand for direct-to-consumer goods and services. As a result, shipping needs increased dramatically, and logistics professionals had to find ways to contend with shifting market demand and consumer behaviors. This resulted in a strain on supply chain management and operations, even if temporarily.
Consider adding a daily or weekly check-in to your supply chain strategy to reduce supply chain costs. This check-in may involve relying on data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can collate and evaluate data points from supply chain partners, news outlets, and other sources within your network and worldwide. Some AI can even make predictions based on data to help your company easily navigate the future.
Evaluate Operational Costs
Unlike costs that are affected by shifting market conditions and customer demands, operational costs are costs that you usually have more control over. You create or reduce these costs based on your business model and how you choose to conduct day-to-day operations.
As such, they tend to be more predictable and, therefore, more easily defined and controlled. Because you already have an advantage here, you’re encouraged to analyze operational costs on a regular basis to see if there are ways to reduce spending.
Finding a new material supplier, adjusting employee schedules, and other changes can add up when reducing supply chain costs. While doing this, remember that the supply chain model involves many moving pieces along the way. Because of this, you will need to plan out how changes at your company may go on to affect other pieces of the chain. Failure to plan ahead can lead to unforeseen consequences, and your actions may come back to haunt you.
Find Ways to Reduce Waste
You can also look into reducing waste by completing an evaluation of your operational costs. When you reduce waste, this can lead to cost reductions by simplifying your operations. When working within supply chains, simpler is often better.
Of course, the immediate benefit of cost savings is that you save money on wasted materials, worker hours, and productivity by trimming waste. True supply chain leaders, however, understand that waste audits benefit links further down the chain.
Efficient supply chain management is all about operating as lean as possible, and waste leads to delays and bottlenecks. Every action causes a reaction along the way, so anything that can be done to reduce waste can benefit the entire process. The added benefit in the near term just so happens to be supply chain cost reduction.
Get Smart About Inventory Management
Inventory management is another area of logistics and supply chain management where you can save money by evaluating your current operations and tweaking things. Your inventory, whether that be warehouse inventory or cargo that your company transports, can become a major stumbling block and lead to inefficiency when not managed properly.
If you aren’t already using inventory management software, now is the time to begin auditioning options. Inventory management software provides a more efficient way of keeping up with inventory and can also be used as a predictive tool to help your company navigate supply chain issues and reduce costs.
For example, when you rely on inventory management software, you can be alerted to bottlenecks further up the supply chain, allowing your organization to change protocols to avoid becoming part of the traffic jam. Some software solutions can also connect with Internet of Things (IoT) hardware technologies. This lets various systems talk to one another and control the inventory flow based on current and anticipated volume.
Your Needs Are Unique
No matter how you approach a plan to reduce costs in supply chain management, remember that your company’s needs are unique. The above suggestions may apply to a wide swath of professional services in the logistics and supply chain management industries, but they may not all apply to your organization.
Take some time to write out your concerns before creating an action plan. This list can help you narrow down and focus on the most important issues for your company. From there, you can develop a plan to address each individual based on your needs, resources, and long-term goals.
Contact Pallet Market Inc to Learn How Our Solutions Play a Vital Role in Reducing Costs
If you’ve been considering ways to reduce supply chain costs, Pallet Market Inc can help. In addition to providing long pallets for sale, we provide broken pallet pickup, pallet sorting, pallet repairs, and other ways your logistics company can save money and engage in cost-effective supply chain management.