Retail – Supply Chain, Packaging & Delivery Cost Savings

This blog was written by Joe Williams

In this series of blogs, we are looking at what rising costs could mean for the Retail industry in 2023 and share some useful tips on where you can begin to look for cost savings.

Rising costs are affecting retail businesses throughout their supply chain and operations. Mapping out and visualising an operating model for your retail business is a great way to investigate areas under a business’s direct control. However, costs and time are also accrued on your behalf outside of your organisation, through third-party suppliers. Getting visibility of your supply chain and how it operates can also allow you to spot improvement opportunities in areas of stock management, sustainability and delivery time. 

By investigating your supply chain you may be able to leverage better deals with your supply partners and achieve joint efficiencies in your operations. It may also give you a compelling reason to investigate potential new suppliers. Tidying up your supply chain will often create further stability, whilst also saving you money on the procurement of stock and/or supplies. For example, sourcing from local suppliers may now be more attractive, compared with larger international partners, due to higher shipping costs and taxes. Sourcing locally could also be a key differentiator as more people look for more sustainable retail alternatives.  

Look at Packaging Choices

The vast majority of retail businesses are now online and many have large shipping and packaging costs. Packaging is often an easier place to start. It is within your direct control and changes have a lesser effect on the main business operations. Materials and technology have moved on in recent years and there are now more sustainable and cheaper alternatives to plastic and bubble wrap. Don’t forget, however, to consider the type of packaging that your specific product(s) needs so they arrive safe and in perfect condition to the customer. Remember that first impressions and customer experience are vital to winning repeat business and customer loyalty in Retail. 

Shipping is an important part of most retail businesses. It is often outsourced to a national or international fulfilment partner. They can cover both shipping and warehousing costs in one single monthly payment. Customers shopping online now expect fast deliveries, so it is important to research and compare the speed, quality and cost of your shipping partner to their competitors. Visualising shipping operations is a useful way to understand the differences in lead times and feedback/support processes. By taking the time to review these simple aspects of your businesses you can not only make some easy changes but also discover some incredible opportunities for your organisation. And it shouldn’t be difficult to do. 

Use the Right Tools

Skore is a purpose-built process improvement platform. It is helping retail businesses map their supply chain and operations faster and in a format that everyone can understand. Sharing process maps with suppliers and third parties is easy within Skore, making collaboration around improvement opportunities much more efficient and effective.

If you’d like to chat about how Skore can help you map your supply chain, or just find out more about the platform please get in touch [email protected]