Increasing Profits

Increasing Profits

Reducing and managing non-productive labor

In our last contributed article, Anixter examined the topic of “Sourcing to Become a Leaner Organization.” Here we take a look at another important component of increasing profitability—Reducing and Managing Non-Productive Labor.

There are several components that contribute to the time and money that is spent on labor. Here we highlight some points to consider and some practical ways you can reap significant cost savings by better managing your nonproductive labor. As a supply-chain solutions provider, Anixter is committed to helping you do exactly that.


Adjusting estimated labor specific to a project is usually best done by looking at the sub-totals or totals of man-hours spent on each individual portion of the project. Many integrators choose to do this either on an estimate summary sheet or via an appropriate software program. To determine the amount of labor time needed, it’s useful to list all the materials that will be required. Remember to figure in time spent providing adequate security for storage of materials and tools. Labor costs can increase or decrease based on atypical conditions, so keep that in mind when estimating labor installation and adjust accordingly.

Other factors that impact the amount of labor and associated costs include how much supervision is required, the additional labor for handling material or controlling tools, time spent moving to and from assigned work areas, coordinating with other trades on the site, and the coordination of material deliver and storage.


It’s important to plan in advance, taking into consideration the complexity of the project as well as the complexity of the communications and security systems involved. Programming IP cameras on-site will add time and resources to a project. Allowing your distribution partner to pre-program the cameras to your customer’s specifications and ship them to you, ready-to-go, is a true time saver. Pre-configuring the cameras helps ensure a trouble-free installation and is a proven labor and cost saving solution.


You can delay your cost of ownership and improve cash flow by having your distribution partner remove original manufacturer packaging from your shipment ahead of time. Products can then be consolidated, kitted and repackaged before they get to you on-site. All can be pulled, processed, packaged, labeled and shipped complete to your specifications.

Any packing materials you don’t need or want can be sent directly to the recycling center, rather than to you on your job site. Fewer packaging materials sent by your distributor means less clean up time for you. Another key cost saving option is having your distribution partner drop-ship directly to your loading docks and/or staggering the timing of the shipments based on work schedules. This minimizes time spent coordinating and storing shipments on-site.


More complex and elaborate projects translate into additional overhead costs. A trusted distribution partner can help reduce those costs by providing inventory management services. Managing lead times and returns, as well as taking care of replacement, obsolete, excess and scrap inventory, can be a strain on time and budget. With an inventory management partner, you can improve working capital and speed to market, reduce product shortages, streamline warehouse investment, and decrease write-offs by reducing scrap and overruns.


Unforeseen, last-minute product needs can mean taking resources off a jobsite, which increases labor costs. Working with a distribution partner that can deliver the products you need, when and where you need them, can mitigate that significantly.


As the only distributor with its own UL-certified lab, Anixter tests products independently of the manufacturers’ performance specifications. We can collaborate with integrators on large projects to replicate an end-user’s system in our lab. This enables our integrator partners to offer proof-of-concept testing to their end-user customers, allowing them to demonstrate exactly how the products will perform on the job site. Such capabilities give our integrator partners a true competitive edge without the capital investment.

Anixter’s lab services include testing IP products, industrial communications and control equipment, video management software, as well as helping you determine whether you need Cat 5e or Cat 6A, based on your transmission length. That can result in a huge savings on your overall labor costs.

LABOR-SAVING PRACTICES HAS REWARDS • Increase efficiency of labor • Mitigate financial risks • Reduce costs • Improve margin and profitability

By leveraging the right customizable supply chain solutions, you can eliminate costs, address sustainability requirements, enhance focus on your core competencies, all while staying competitive in the marketplace.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Security Today.

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