Your costs are out of control, the budget is ballooning, and there's no end in sight. Having a productive and profitable business requires a different approach. Fortunately, the right cost reduction strategies can help you regain control of operating expenses and get your organization back on track.
What Is Cost Reduction?
Cost reduction does just what it suggests. It's a way for companies to cut costs and boost their bottom line. How and where organizations implement this strategy can vary depending on their products, services, and existing budget.
Both large and small businesses stand to benefit from cost reduction strategies. These strategies allow them to counter high operating costs that don't add revenue or value to the organization. Companies that execute their strategies well can increase profits dramatically.
Why Employ a Cost Reduction Strategy?
The right cost reduction strategies keep a company competitive within its industry. The methods streamline operational efficiency so that organizations get the most out of their employees and investments. The proper oversight of day-to-day expenses can transform struggling new businesses into profitable ones.
Cost reduction strategies can also free up opportunities for strategic resource allocation. They force companies to reassess their assets and focus on areas with a strong return on investment. That may mean allocating more resources to office equipment, the supply chain, digital resources, or raw materials.
Cost reduction is more than an antidote to unprecedented expenses. It can eliminate waste, too. Optimizing business expenses means a company invests in fewer low-value assets.
If a company needs help targeting unnecessary expenses, it can ask top-performing employees. They know what aspects of an operation stand to benefit from cost-cutting measures.
Four Cost Reduction Strategies That Can Help
Encourage Remote Working
Employees can be a company's most valuable asset. Each person that a business adds to the payroll can also come with high capital costs. That's because the employee needs office space, equipment, and utilities.
Remote employees don't require these overhead expenses. While remote working can cause challenges for the human resources department, the long-term benefits may outweigh the short-term hiccups. The proper cost reduction strategies keep everyone on the same page so that the business doesn't miss a beat.
Improve Your Negotiation Skills
A small business may have a high operating cost because it pays too much for employees and raw materials. Often, these costs occur when a company doesn't have a long-term relationship with a vendor. Sharpening negotiation skills and building trust with suppliers can make it easier to reduce costs in the supply chain.
Remember that negotiating is a balancing act. While a business wants to reach the lowest possible price, it shouldn't do so at the expense of the quality of raw materials. Enterprises that create mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers can secure reasonable payment terms and high-quality material in perpetuity.
Manage Fuel and Travel Costs
It's no secret that a busy travel itinerary can drive up operations costs. Sometimes, business travel is unavoidable. However, proper cost reduction strategies can help companies make informed decisions about when to send people to in-person events and how to do so.
For instance, a business can book flights through a smaller regional airport since local flights typically cost less. Booking flights in advance can also net a significant amount of savings. That's because airlines raise their rates as the flight date approaches, effectively penalizing last-minute bookings.
Consider Investing in Technology Solutions
Many cost reduction strategies require investing in technology. While this strategic approach may seem counterintuitive, it pays dividends in the long run. Once a company overcomes the high upfront cost, the investment contributes to greater operational efficiency and top-line growth.
Cloud computing stands out as one of the most practical cost reduction options. It provides more affordable access to computing power and data storage than traditional servers. While the switch may cost a company several tens of thousands of dollars upfront, the enterprise can offset that investment with lower operating costs in the future.
How Do You Implement a Cost Reduction Strategy?
Cut Employee Costs
Savvy decision-making puts employee costs at the forefront of cost reduction strategies. Payroll makes up one of the most significant expenses for a business. After an organization trims labor costs, it creates a healthier profit margin.
A business doesn't have to fire people to cut employee costs. If it makes people more efficient at their jobs, the organization can see the same, if not superior, results on its bottom line. Additionally, these cost-cutting measures should never come at the expense of corporate morale or business goals.
Reduce Material Expenses
Any business owner knows that materials account for a sizable amount of the budget. Companies should find ways to obtain inventory at lower costs. An alternative approach is to manufacture goods with fewer materials.
Buying in bulk can also save a company a small fortune. Vendors and suppliers typically provide a discount when a business purchases in large quantities. This approach can also help establish a close relationship between the organizations, making it easier to facilitate future transactions.
Cut Overhead Fees
The best cost reduction strategies track all operating expenses. They calculate every penny related to storage, supply, and office space. The key is comparing those operations costs to the established budget.
If a business is way overbudget in any area, it should consider this a red flag. Cost reduction strategies enable a course correction by reining in expenses and minimizing waste. That may mean converting some employees to remote workers or renting space instead of buying it.
Spend to Save
Yes, spending can be a cost reduction strategy. The proper equipment makes a world of difference in operations costs. It can reduce the amount of material needed during production and contribute to time savings.
For example, a company might have a $10,000 machine with a 10-year lifespan. That business could then purchase a $20,000 machine with a 40-year lifespan. Even if the machines have the same output rate, the company wouldn't have to reinvest in the equipment every decade. As a result, it would save big on operations costs.
Why have humans do a job when robots can do it for them? Robot-based operations involve autonomous machines that function independently of human operators. While this cost reduction strategy works for multiple industries, manufacturers stand to benefit the most.
Robots go beyond reducing costs and eliminating waste. In many cases, they're more accurate and consistent than their human counterparts. As long as humans provide the proper maintenance, robots deliver a massive return on investment.
Take Control of Your Operating Costs Today
At ConvergeOne, we transform companies into the most efficient versions of themselves. Our award-winning team has worked across numerous industries, maximizing company cost savings and efficiency at every turn. Discover what our senior experts can do for you by contacting us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are cost reduction strategies?
Cost reduction strategies are practices and principles designed to optimize operational efficiency. They cover all aspects of running a business, from hiring employees to booking flights. Successful implementation works by streamlining processes, allocating resources effectively, and eliminating waste.
What is an example of cost reduction?
Anyone in the HR department knows that employee onboarding takes time, money, and resources. A company can reduce administrative costs by only hiring people when it has an urgent need. If the potential role doesn't align with routine business activities, it makes sense to outsource the position. This strategic approach minimizes the need for employee onboarding while moderating payroll expenses.
What are the six types of cost savings?
A profitable venture saves money in six different ways: budget savings, historic savings, index savings, ratio savings, RFP savings, and technical savings.
- Budget savings involve the difference between a budget and the actual business expenses.
- Historic savings cover the difference between the current unit price and the baseline or indicator price from a previous period.
- Index savings include outside savings that result from the external markets and typically impact the supply chain, products, or services.
- Ratio savings combine two ways to save money. For example, a company might combine technical and historic savings.
- RFP savings are a form of quote shopping. Companies obtain multiple responses from vendors to a request for proposals (RFPs) for a project. The goal is to choose a proposal with high cost savings.
- Technical savings stem from changes in technical specifications. For instance, a company may purchase expensive servers only to switch to cloud computing to reduce operations costs.
How would you apply cost reduction strategies?
Letting go of employees isn't the only way to reduce expenses. Organizations can establish cost-cutting initiatives by pinpointing wasteful business practices and correcting the inefficiencies. That may include upgrading digital resources, encouraging employees to work remotely, automating select processes, and getting rid of overhead.
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