Reduce Costs by Managing Your Supply Chain
Businesses are always looking for ways to reduce costs and save a little money. When costs go up and income sags, something has to adjust within your business if you plan to survive. One of the easiest ways to eliminate waste has eluded many business owners, however. Almost every business relies heavily on office supplies, from paper to toner cartridges, or any number of specialized supplies. The problem is that the market has only recently shifted in these areas, and businesses are not always aware of how this makes it possible to save money. The best values in office supplies are right in front of you—they’re available through countless websites you might not yet be familiar with. There are several ways that the supply chains have realigned and that it is much cheaper to purchase office supplies through online vendors.
Just in Time Inventory
The idea of just in time inventory was pioneered by Toyota, but has since spread across manufacturing, and has even made a push into retail. Storage space costs money and reduced warehousing can make a huge different for the bottom line, but what changed all of that is the perfect synchronization possible because of the internet. Where manufacturers used to deliver their products in huge quantities to be stored and delivered gradually, most companies now ask suppliers to deliver just before the products are needed. This has driven the next major change in shipping and delivery and has reduced costs substantially for many businesses.
Rapid, Inexpensive Shipping
Because of how many products are now being shipped for perfectly timed delivery, shipping costs have become incredibly cheap, even as transit times have gone down. If you’ve ever wondered how it became possible for so many websites to offer free shipping, this is the reason—more shipping means cheaper prices for everyone. Free shipping is also possible because more direct supply chains—the next reason.
Eliminating the Middle Man
On the older model, goods traveled from the factory to a distributor, who then sent inventory out to all the retail establishments. The transparency of the internet (and low minimum requirements of just-in-time delivery) have eliminated a middleman, since online retailers deal directly with the manufacturer instead of with a distributor. In some cases, shipping can even come in a single step: when you make your purchase, the online retailer sends the order to the factory, which ships the products directly to you.
Reduced Retail Costs
If you buy your office supplies at a physical store, your price includes the costs of the location, shelf space, staffing to stock and ring-up the order, and any other costs involved with retail. Online retailers pay only for their websites and the time to place your order. This means you pay for your product alone, without the extra costs involved in putting it in a store for you.
All of these factors boil down to a simple idea, fundamental to economics—the more waste you can eliminate and streamline the process, the more consumers benefit. In practical terms, this just means the next time you are looking for ink refills, the best place to turn is not your local office supply store. Besides saving the time we all waste, by arriving at retail establishments only to find out our cartridge is out of stock, you will also find that online retailers can offer noticeably more competitive prices on office supplies. The best values are right in front of you, all you have to do is click.