Did you know that your business can increase profits even during times when you are not making sales? By optimizing your supply chain management in Toronto, you can experience cost reductions and improved processes that lead to increased revenue. One of the most tested and true methods to achieve these cost reductions is by working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. Their order fulfillment and supply chain services can help you reduce costs by focusing on your customer needs, improving supply chain performance, and adding automation and technology to your strategy to reduce errors and increase profits. Here are 10 tips to reduce your supply chain costs.
1. Focus on the Customer
The needs of your customers should be at the forefront of your mind when you consider your supply chain structure and strategy. However, many supply chains follow policies and systems that conflict with their customers’ requirements. As a result, these companies deal with frequent customer issues and complaints, and additional costs that are unnecessary. If you focus on your customers by offering options like next-day delivery or unlimited free shipping with a paid monthly membership, you will provide the solutions they want and be more effective as a business.
2. Supply Chain Strategy
Creating an effective supply chain strategy will help you frame your goals and be more efficient. Your supply chain’s performance should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure you are meeting your customers’ requirements and staying on top of your goals. An effective strategy should meet the following criteria:
- Be clearly documented and understood
- Involve all areas of the company (sales and marketing, research and development, purchasing, manufacturing, logistics, etc.)
- Address and resolve customer dissatisfaction cases to prevent recurrence
- Meet the needs of the customers and the business
- Be clear and precise to allow for quick decisions and improvements
3. Make Better Use of Space
It costs to store inventory and supplies in your warehouse, so you should make it part of your plan to make the most of this space. Take an assessment of your warehouse and decide whether you are achieving this goal. If there are ways to reorganize your inventory, you may discover that you can save money and be more efficient in the way you use your space.
4. Sales and Operations Planning
Sales and operations planning (S&OP) are required for a supply chain to operate at its highest efficiency. Optimal performance depends on proper planning, but it can be expensive and complicated. When you work with a 3PL provider, the team will eliminate waste and redundancies, help you plan better through data analysis and forecasting, and increase visibility so everyone involved is up-to-date. The following problems, if they exist, should be addressed in the S&OP process:
- Uncontrolled SKU generation
- Frequent and unrestrained stockouts
- Commonly inaccurate forecasts
- High quantities of slow-moving or obsolete inventory
- Consistently adjusting demand and production schedules due to issues
5. Supply Chain Network Design
Supply chain network design involves reducing costs and increasing reliability to minimize product handling. Each “touch point” between your supplier and your customer raises costs and increases the risk of error and damaged products. A poorly designed network can lead to excessive handling, too many stock locations, and an inadequate use of your distribution locations. As a result, you will experience high distribution costs and poor customer service. Revising your supply chain network design will require special software and analysis that can be costly and confusing to manage on your own. This is yet another reason why it saves to work with a 3PL partner. They have the software and experience necessary to resolve issues in your network by designing an effective plan.
6. Move Supplies Faster
A 3PL provider can help you find ways to speed up shipments from suppliers so you can order closer to when you need items. When inefficiency causes you to order in advance, you can incur warehouse costs because you will need space to store these items when customers order them. Additionally, you run the risk of losing or damaging stock because they sit around in the warehouse. By outsourcing your warehousing and distribution, you can shorten the time it takes you to get items from your supplier to fulfill customer orders.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a 3PL provider is access to automation software. Automation can help you reduce supply chain costs and make your operations more efficient.
8. Outsourcing Supply Chain Operation/Management
Outsourcing your supply chain management to a 3PL provider will help you improve performance while reducing costs. Warehousing and transportation are two of the most expensive aspects of your supply chain and an outsourced partner can provide more cost-effective and skilled services. By outsourcing, you will receive these benefits:
- Reduced costs
- Rapidly access services and resources
- More resourcing flexibility
- More opportunity for cost-effective growth
- Access to specialized services, technology, and equipment
9. Utilizing Assets
Evaluating your assets and usage to find areas that need to be improved is one of the most straightforward ways to improve your supply chain performance. Supply chains are complex systems, so finding ways to increase efficiency and reduce errors is vital.
10. Track/Measure Performance
The next step to reduce your supply chain costs is to track your results. Observing your key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you determine realistic targets and set trackable steps to reaching those goals. Performance tracking will also help you accurately forecast for base supply, logistics, and stock renewals.
Reduce Your Supply Chain Cost with Us
Working with a 3PL provider can help you reduce costs that keep your business running so you can keep making profits. With their experience in strategizing the supply chain, they can manage all the tasks above so you can focus on your core responsibilities like sales, marketing, and customer service. A 3PL provider will also offer you many advantages such as supply chain management software and technology that increase visibility and communication between you and everyone in your network.
If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing your supply management in Vancouver or Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
Before 2018, over 60% of warehouses had expanded their technology investments to include digital capabilities. The goal was to ensure that they were prepared for the future of supply chains to operate at peak efficiency. Today, having digital capabilities is a must and partnering businesses and customers expect that your warehousing and distribution processes include technological innovations. Here are some of the expansions in tech for warehousing and distribution services.
Use of EDI Communication Technology in Various Sector
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has made its way into many warehouses over the past few years. It allows for the sharing of documents between two computer systems, using a format that is compatible with both. When EDI is integrated into a quality warehouse management system (WMS) it provides benefits like the seamless flow of information, increased visibility, compatibility, greater efficiency, and collaboration between all parties. The warehousing sector has used EDI for the following procedures:
- Purchase orders
- Warehouse shipping orders
- Stock transfer receipts
- Shipping advice
- Inventory advice
Drones and Robots
Science fiction has inspired the creation of technologies like drones, which carry a wide variety of applications. They have made appearances in film productions as ways to hover cameras over landscapes, and have even found their way into the supply chain industry. As companies seek to increase their levels of automation, drones have been able to provide several benefits including the following:
- Reduced labour costs
- Improved efficiency
- Minimal errors with processing
- Faster movement of goods
- Human resources redirected to more complex responsibilities
- Reduced workplace injuries
- Increased competitive edge
Drones and robots are used for scanning barcodes that are too far for warehouse workers to reach. They can be navigated to reach high shelves that would normally require the use of a forklift, cage, and manual workers. These airborne aids are essential for companies like Amazon and Walmart, and are brightening the future for other companies that have implemented them in their warehouse.
Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID)
Another major force in warehousing is radio frequency identification technology, or RFID. It uses radio waves to feed information between stock tags and the device that picks up the signal. This information allows for greater stock visibility and transparency, which leads to better management of inventory. RFID devices can be connected to drones and can catalogue inventory faster than manual workers. Stock can be stacked as high as warehouse managers want, because this technology will enable all levels of access.
Cloud storage also offers many benefits to the supply chain. It cuts down maintenance, infrastructure, and labour costs from constantly keeping WMS up-to-date. To prevent information from being out of date or obsolete, cloud systems allow accurate and updated data to be displayed across the entire network (for those who have access). Cloud storage systems can also be fairly affordable, and can come as a feature of partnering with a third-party logistics company.
E-commerce companies today need omnichannel solutions to succeed. Since the future is digital, warehousing will need to adapt to meet the expectations and needs of customers and other businesses in the network. Omnichannel is an approach to sales that provides customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether they are online, on a mobile device, over the phone, or in a physical store. Some of the benefits of omnichannel operations include the following:
- Better management of inventory and reduced costs
- Seller benefits and buyer satisfaction
- Real-time reporting
- Increased revenue
- Warehouse productivity
- Customer retention
- Improved brand perception
Use of Battery Technology
Battery technology has developed in a way that can aid warehouse operations around the world. Two batteries, in particular, can draw energy from nearby power grids or from renewable sources, like solar power. Designed by Tesla, these batteries can achieve two great benefits:
- They enable greater automation as it uses a local and affordable energy source, which offsets the costs of installing automated systems; and
- Their connection to renewable energy sources allows for better flexibility in warehouse locations. (They are not dependent on local utility grids).
Voice Tasking Technology
Voice tasking technology makes work more efficient for warehouse workers. By responding to voice commands, this technology can pick, put, receive, replenish, and perform various warehouse shipping functions. It is similar to RF technology, and increases flexibility in the order fulfillment process. Here are some of the benefits of voice tasking tech:
- Improved picking productivity and accuracy
- Less operator training required
- Improved system control
- Higher return on investment
- Real-time data communications and analysis
How Lean Supply Solutions Can Help You
These warehousing tech innovations are just a sample of the various improvements that are available for companies to utilize. For many companies, these technologies have transformed the way warehouses operate and have improved all the consecutive operations down the line. If your business has yet to implement technology or needs to upgrade its systems, it may seem overwhelming to adapt. However, you can reap the rewards of digitizing your system by outsourcing to a 3PL company with the tech you need.
Lean Supply Solutions provides effective supply chain management using several of these digital technologies, and we make ourselves aware of the rising trends to help our clients stay ahead of their competitors. We commit to being aware of our clients’ operational challenges and help them get the most out of their processes, and achieve this by providing exceptional services. We can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results by ensuring that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, while saving you money, and we can help you track and understand your metrics better. Our services include warehouse pick and pack, contract logistics, manufacturing support, technology, warehousing distribution services, e-commerce fulfillment, consulting, and more.
To learn more about our warehouse value-added services, or to ask any questions, contact us today.