Cutting Costs in the Supply Chain: Streamline Your Way to Savings

Jun 06, 2019 Tom Brialey Tom Brialey

As ecommerce offerings continue to evolve, expand and become ever more efficient, a streamlined and cost-effective supply chain can make a significant impact on your business's operational efficiency and subsequent profitability. With that in mind, today, we’re taking a closer look at the most effective ways you can streamline your warehouse environment to cut costs through your supply chain, ensuring a business that runs like a well-oiled machine from order to delivery.

Inventory management

To begin cutting costs throughout your supply chain, you must first ensure you have a full comprehension of your inventory - making a carefully crafted inventory management strategy absolutely crucial.

You’d perhaps be surprised at how small mishaps in stock control can result in major repercussions for your profit margins. Anything from tracking errors to quantity mismanagement can cause major disruption to the seamless operation of your supply chain, so implementing a tried and tested inventory management method is a must.

With that in mind, look to implement a functioning strategy that allows you to properly analyse areas for improvement. Simplicity is the key to spotting inefficiencies, so stick to proven inventory management methods - keep your stock well organised on functional shelving units for ease of access, utilising management software to accurately track your imports and exports.

Elsewhere, ensure you have a thorough procurement plan in place to assist with the sourcing and purchasing of inventory, and implement a thorough failure analysis for when things go wrong. Using these kinds of proven inventory management methods will minimise the possibility of mistakes happening (or recurring), contributing to a greater efficiency across the supply chain and, in turn, creating greater profit margins.

Embrace technology 

Don’t be afraid to embrace modern warehouse IT systems to help with every stage of the supply chain.

As warehouses continue to evolve in line with increasing technological capabilities, not embracing new technologies could result in your warehouse being left behind. From inventory tracking software to staff management technologies, there’s a whole range of software available to help you streamline your supply chain at each stage.

For example, RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology is perhaps the most efficient tech tool to streamline the process of inventory tracking. Using electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to inventory, embracing this tech is sure to create a more streamlined environment through a faster and more accurate process that eliminates the possibility of human error.

Be careful not to go overboard and embrace all of the technology available to you, though. A key part of cost efficiency is creating a bespoke supply chain system that operates best for your business, so look to only implement technology where it best serves your needs.


One of the areas where cost-cutting can be most effective is in shipment management. Reducing your transportation costs will boost your supply chain savings and profitability, but it’s important to ensure your service isn’t compromised as a result.

SeaRates’ shipping calculator enables you to find the best shipping quote via sea, road, air and rail, helping you find the most cost-effective shipping method for your supply chain. What’s more, by offering a GPS container tracking system, you can rest assured that saving on costs doesn’t have to mean compromising the quality of your service.

Don’t underestimate your workforce

In today’s technological age, it’s a common misconception that a human workforce is no longer a priority. While, as we’ve mentioned, technologies can be highly effective in cost-cutting throughout the supply chain, you should look to utilise these to complement your workforce rather than replace them.

Look to implement effective labour force management, maximising performance levels through communication initiatives and strategies. Though reducing the size of your workforce may seem like a straightforward way to cut costs, properly trained and motivated staff are a financial investment that, when implemented correctly, will pay off through increased profit in the long run. As a means of measuring this, look to track personnel ROI - an individual employee’s return on the employer’s investment.

Cost-cutting throughout the supply chain involves streamlining your warehouse environment in the interests of efficiency. Not all these changes will have you saving big bucks from the off, but, when effectively implemented and measured, these changes are sure to result in a more cost-effective supply chain overall - to the ultimate benefit of your business's profitability.

Tom Brialey is the Founder and Director of Action Shelving, which adopts his philosophy that, in addition to the highest quality products, you must also provide the highest standard of service to your customers in order to succeed. That’s why it’s Tom’s mission to provide expert support 100% of the way.

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