Cutting the Right Costs with Technology

A recent article in Industry Week, which advocated that you cut the fat, not the limb, reminded us that there are a number of strategic projects, based on appropriate supply chain technology, that can provide a far greater internal rate of return than merely slashing costs. After all, companies that layoff employees, consolidate suppliers, reduce product offerings, and halt key projects may inadvertently get rid of the very things that made them successful in the first place!

As Jim Thompson pointed out, in his Supply Chain Brain article, cut, cut, cut is NOT a cost reduction strategy. The only real strategy for cost reduction is the strategic reduction of fat in capital and operating costs … which is easily exposed by technology designed to root out inefficient and redundant processes. Now, more than ever, managers need to look at innovative and aggressive technology projects that will provide increases in operational efficiency.

And, as per the Industry Week article, three great places to start are:

  • Excess Inventory
    Synchronizing actual inventory to recorded inventory provides the data necessary for sound purchasing decisions based on good forecasts.
  • Manual Processes
    Unnecessary manual processes lead to errors and wasted time. Error-handling, re-processing, and lost productivity costs add up, especially if these costs can be affordably eliminated.
  • Supply Chain Weak Links
    Vendor Managed Inventory and longer-term collaborations offer opportunities for both parties.

And when you’ve mastered these, you can move on to the ideas chronicled in Dead Company VII: Even More Ways to Avoid the Graveyard.