Supply chains are complicated and difficult to manage on a good day. There are simply too many people involved and too many subsidiaries. You might inadvertently end up using a manufacturer that relies on cheap labor run from inside extremely dangerous factories. Big businesses might be able to weather the public backlash – take the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, for example – but smaller businesses cannot.
The last thing you want is to be caught up in a scandal and be responsible for the perpetuation of poor working conditions in a far-off country. Consumers are becoming far more aware of these terrible business practices and will, eventually, push all companies to be more careful with who they choose.
You need to partner with the right manufacturers and suppliers so that you can provide great quality items while ensuring the people making your products are leading fair and safe lives. This can be costly compared to the alternative, but you can still reduce your costs by following these tips:
Be Innovative with Materials
There are so many new materials out there that it is a waste not to investigate all of your options. In the fashion industry, for example, you could benefit both financially and socially by using vegan leather alternatives. These alternatives can be made from items like waste and mushrooms, and are, therefore, more cost-effective than the alternative. Use these materials, and you can save money on the base cost and enjoy a boost in publicity from your ethical choices.
Ensure Your Designs Maximize Raw Material Usage
Dead materials, or the parts of your raw materials that are tossed away because they are not needed are still a waste of money. If you can find a way to either reuse this raw material, or simply design a better cutting method so that you maximize the use of the raw goods, you can save money over time. Waste is a design flaw, and it is time that we started treating it as such.Buy in Bulk
In the manufacturing world, preference is given to larger volume orders. They are, after all, what will help a factory stay in operation and in business for months on end. A small discount for more consistent work is often a fair trade-off – but the size of these orders is often unobtainable for small businesses. Even if you could manage the product volume and get it in stores or sold, you will still be barricaded from that option unless you have a trade finance agreement. Once you have one, you can enjoy faster processing times and can grow your business exponentially.
Try to Find the Sweet Spot of Production
To improve your supply chain, you need to find its sweet spot. This sweet spot is the golden amount. You use all the raw materials, you sell off the finished products, and you get your goods delivered via the most efficient route. Thankfully, doing this doesn’t have to be difficult, and can even be accomplished through the use of AI programs.
You want to save money by making your production more efficient, not by cutting the number of employees. Be innovative in your design, buy in bulk, use your data to extrapolate sales, and even rely on AI to do the hard work for you. There are so many possibilities to save money in your supply chain, and implementing them will only improve your business as a whole.