This is no time to knock down the quality of your product in a panicky bid to increase margins. Instead, start looking for cost saving by taking a bit of time out from the day to day to work through the ideas below, and unearth new savings in your supply chain. Sorted!
If you're evaluating your supply chain, you need to evaluate your suppliers. Shopping around regularly is a cornerstone of competitiveness, and makes sure you're always getting the best deal - whether that's through choosing a new supplier, or going back to your existing one equipped with data on market rates to negotiate a better deal.
So where do you find news suppliers? BizCrowd is a brilliant new free platform that connects you with suppliers. You post what you're looking for, for free, then receive responses from businesses on what they can offer and at what price. The businesses that bid are rated by the BizCrowd community, so you can pick the ones who have been verified as most reliable.
Getting a better supplier deal doesn't always mean going for the cheapest option. A supplier you can trust to always deliver on time at the standard of quality you need, even if they are a bit more expensive than a cheap competitor, could save you more money in the long run than having to deal with delays and customer complaints. Remember to model out different transportation costs if you're evaluating suppliers in different locations.
It might seem counterintuitive to want to pay suppliers before you have to, but bear with us for a moment. For most businesses, an invoice paid early is a godsend because it's such a great little cashflow boost. So here's your negotiation tactic: offer to pay your suppliers and transport companies within half of two-thirds of their usual payment terms in return for a small discount on the price of the invoice.
What percentage discount should you get? That's for you to negotiate, but put the idea to them, then leave the floor open for them to suggest how much they'd be willing to knock off the price for you in return for early payment. You might just be surprised at how much you can save. Even if it's fractional, those small savings really do add up over time.
Feel like transport costs are constantly nibbling away at your margins? Yup - they are. Cue Smarta 100 winner Shiply.com, which can knock up to 75% off your transport costs. You plug in to the website what you need to move and where from and to, and then ships or lorries that are making that journey anyway - but have enough free space left to transport your goods - bid to transport for you.
Shiply boasts almost one million users and has 65,000 transport providers on its books. It might not be right if you need the same shipment made over the same journey every single week, but for one-off shipments it's definitely worth checking out.