Eliminating Waste for a Lean, Efficient Supply Chain

In a system as complex as a global supply chain, any amount of waste equates to lost dollars. No matter the origin, whether tangible or intangible, waste impacts a company’s bottom line—often in dramatic ways.

The biggest sources of waste are surprising and easily overlooked. But by leveraging automation and adopting more intelligent processes, companies can tighten operations and see profits soar.

Here are a few areas where shippers might be losing dollars—along with some tips for curbing waste and becoming as lean, efficient, and strategic as possible.

Assessing and identifying areas of waste

The bigger the supply chain, the more room there is for error. And when dealing with global operations, the accumulation of waste can amount to enormous losses.

The causes of waste aren’t always obvious. So, where do the most common leaks exist?

  • Money. Unnecessary overspend is obviously a common source of waste. A lack of company-wide visibility can result in lost dollars, making it easy to lose track of where a shipper is overspending.
  • Time. One of the biggest sources of waste is lost time. When the supply chain relies on timeliness to keep deliveries on track and customers satisfied, any time wasted on tasks like fixing avoidable errors or needlessly entering information manually quickly adds up.
  • Supply. Poor forecasting or warehouse management can rapidly result in supply outpacing demand, leading to high carrying costs.
  • Transportation. Preventable delays and shipping mistakes cause shippers to absorb additional costs and risk damaging customer relations.
  • Resources. Inefficiencies waste employees’ time and energy, which could be better spent elsewhere.

These areas of waste can cripple a supply chain if left unchecked. But by making a few strategic changes, companies can eliminate this waste and reap the benefits.

Reducing waste through automation

One of the fastest ways to eliminate supply chain waste is by adopting a comprehensive transportation management system (TMS). By automating time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks, companies can boost productivity, reduce mistakes, and increase efficiency. For example, a TMS can help companies ensure they’re getting the best rates for each and every shipment, without forcing staff to contact numerous shippers for a quote.

The data pulled by a fully integrated TMS can be invaluable. To make the most of this, look for a platform with built-in business intelligence tools that allow users to visualize, synthesize, and analyze data in real time. This can help supply chain managers spot areas of wastefulness much quicker—and fix them before they add up in big problems.

By automating auditing, companies can also ensure that they’re always paying what they should be, without leaving the accounting department bogged down in invoices. Freight audit and pay services can help companies ensure that invoices aren’t duplicated, discounts missed, and costs misallocated—while putting time back in employees’ days.

Avoid a wasteful mindset

A wasteful mindset leads to wasteful processes. When companies aren’t actively looking for ways to curtail waste, they allow things to slide—letting money trickle down the drain. But by adopting the right processes and mindset, supported by leading-edge technology, supply chain managers can save time, money, and resources—helping operations to thrive.

Don’t let waste cut into the bottom line. Nip it in the bud by contacting us today.

Reader Interactions