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Reducing Waste in the Supply Chain



Businesses are examining every area of their supply chain to reduce costs. Reducing waste has become a key component of any cost reduction program that is implemented. There are a number of processes that can be used in order to reduce waste in a company’s supply chain.

Product Design

Many companies are examining the design of their products to identify where the use of raw materials can be reduced or expensive materials be replaced. Indeed many businesses are reviewing each component to identify whether it can be manufactured or purchased more cheaply. When designing product packaging options, companies are examining cheaper and less wasteful materials.

Resource Management

Each production process should be examined to minimize the waste of raw materials. In manufacturing operations processes that waste material that cannot be recycled or reused must be redesigned. Even in processes that do produce waste that can be recycled should be examined due to the costs in recycling processes.

Use of Scrap Material

As well as minimizing the waste of raw materials in manufacturing processes, the use reuse of waste material can be expanded. Improvements in the technology of reclaiming waste material has meant that companies that previously discarded waste products now have the ability to reuse that material. As the recycling technology becomes more available the costs will inevitably fall helping more businesses with waste issues.

Improving Quality

Quality control is built into all manufacturing processes but is usually focused on the finished product rather than minimizing waste. Quality management should include the goal of minimizing the waste of raw materials as well as producing a quality product. Improving the overall quality of a company’s manufacturing process will reduce waste overall as it will increase the quantity of finished goods that pass quality inspection.


When companies are considering waste minimization programs, they will find that some costs will be required in the implementation. However as those programs come online, the reduction in waste will produce cost savings greater than the initial investment. The implementation of waste minimization programs has been successful in improving company’s products as well as reducing overall costs.

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