There are numerous drivers of production and the supply chain, and there are several processes under each driver. These processes are associated with high overheads and offer opportunities for cost reduction.
Successfully achieving supply chain cost savings requires the use of cross-functional teams with representation from marketing, design, procurement, production, distribution, and transportation employing an organized approach.
IKEA, the Swedish home products retailer, is known for its good-quality, inexpensive products, which are typically sold at prices 30–50% below those of its competitors. While the price of products from other companies continues to rise over time, IKEA claims that its retail prices have been reduced by a total of 20% over the last four years. At IKEA, the process of cost reduction starts at product conception and continues throughout the process of design, sourcing of materials and components, production, and distribution. For example, the “Bang” mug has been redesigned many times to realize shipping cost savings. Originally, 864 mugs would fit into a pallet. After redesign a pallet held 1,280 mugs, and with a further redesign 2,024 mugs could be squeezed into a pallet, reducing shipping costs by 60%.
Organizations today are looking for opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and reduce cost without having a negative effect on customer service levels. Production and supply chain management can help to reduce costs by connecting every unit in the supply chain, fostering collaboration among supply chain partners, and offering visibility into the demand and supply side of the chain.
Production and supply chain management involves a number of drivers through which acquired raw materials are converted into finished goods for sale to customers. In turn, these drivers involve several processes that offer opportunities for cost reduction. Common drivers include procurement, design of the supply chain, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and collaboration. Cost reduction requires timely and improved decision-making for common processes under each driver.
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