As David Kiger has previously asserted, today’s supply chain is full of nuances and complementary activities that, if disregarded or simply overlooked, a company or a business would immediately face tough challenges. Supply chain management is all about coordinating different activities without incurring extra costs. Thus, it would be possible to assert that supply chain managers should focus on examining every single component and area of the supply chain in hopes of reducing and cutting extra costs. Such process, however, is also known as reducing waste within the supply chain, and it has arguably become one of the most vital and crucial components of any primordial cost reduction plan that is applied to any organization. Of course, reducing waste is easier said than done: there is myriad of different strategies that can be applied in order to cut costs and reduce waste within a business’s supply chain.
The importance of product design
The vast majority of businesses are now paying special attention to the design of their goods to identify where the use and application of raw materials can be minimized or, simply, where all those expensive materials can be replaced by less expensive, and definitely less burdensome, materials.
What about resources?
It is known that every production line should be assessed to reduce the risk of falling victim of having extra waste of materials. In all manufacturing activities, for instance, operational processes that require a lot of materials produce a lot of waste, most of which cannot be fully reused—most of the times they have got to be redesigned. Moreover, even in procedures that result in extra waste that can be used again or recycled for future purposes should be assessed due to costs commonly associated with the recycling process.
Get the most out of every material
Minimizing waste of materials during manufacturing processes is obviously key; however, the use of scrap material or reuse material is as important as striving to make things less expensive. Improvements in technology or recouping waste materials mean one thing: that businesses that would currently discard wasteful products face the perfect opportunity to use again that material in hopes of saving money. As recycling technologies start to become more and more available, the cost associated with this processes will subsequently fall, thusly allowing more companies and businesses with their waste issues and challenges.
Always focus on improving quality metrics
Quality control and quality assurance are two activities inherent to pretty much every manufacturing process, but they usually focus on the end product rather than reducing the amount of waste that is created during production. Quality department should pay special attention to the objective of reducing the waste of materials as well as creating outstanding end and finished products. Companies and businesses that strive to improve the main quality of their manufacturing processes will be able to reduce waste for it will definitely increase the amount of final products that will get past quality assurance inspection.
Get to know the people you work with
The sole objective of any supply chain escalation and optimization procedure is to provide customers with the things they most desire, when they most want it, spending the least possible amount of money. There are of course key factors here: one of the most critical factors in spending the least possible amount of money is to get rid of as much as possible waste from the process. Lean manufacturing, for instance, as mentioned in previous articles, and six sigma projects can be tailored, managed and coordinated to target specific waste in a particular process.
One of the most important waste management and identification techniques involves getting to know the employees involved within a specific process on a daily basis. The whole idea behind improving product design, quality assurance and improvement, resource management and usage of reusable and scrap material should be conceived through after concise and detailed research that focuses on the input provided by those employees in the front line. It is these individuals who get to see the activities that normally take place on a daily basis that management may only know as a mere basic and general outline full of predetermined metrics and efficiency figures. An employee on the ground floor, for example, is able to tell the company whether workstations are performing well and in accordance with what is expected from them, or whether lead times can be reduced or whether they are affecting production expectations.
Control your inventory
Companies often ignore how much of the pool of their products they have on hand. They are not sure. Having total control over stock and inventory is perhaps one of the most reliable ways to reduce waste from a company’s supply chain. 100% of inventory control allows businesses to avoid falling victim of ordering or making products they already have. Implementing physical inventories as well as cycle counting is definitely a really good start.
* Featured Image courtesy of Tookapic at Pexels.com