3PL Cleveland fulfillment center

Perks of Using a 3PL Cleveland Fulfillment Center to Move Your Goods

Virtually any company that relies on e-commerce can benefit from 3PL fulfillment services. Some of the most popular Cleveland fulfillment center services that we offer at On Time Delivery & Warehouse are bundling, warehousing, picking and packing, kitting, labeling, product coding & repacking, shipping (including same day shipping), inventory management, customs & import guidance, and logistics solutions.

Outsourced fulfillment services make the most sense for companies that:

  • Lack internal resources to ensure consistently robust warehousing capabilities.
  • Have minimal inventory management potential.
  • Don’t have enough time or staff to dedicate to shipping and distribution.

According to analysis by Grand View Research, the market value of global e-commerce fulfillment services is estimated to have a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10 percent between now and 2030. That means it’s likely no matter what your field, a growing number of competitors will begin more fully appreciating the benefits of partnering with a third-party Cleveland fulfillment center to provide key services.

How Do Cleveland Fulfillment Center Partnerships Work?

When it comes to logistics and managing supply chains, even smaller operations may have complexities that can impact how fast orders are delivered to the end customer – and in what condition. There are often many puzzle pieces that need to fit together just right to ensure the desired outcome and timeline.

At the center of that puzzle is often the fulfillment center.

Fulfillment center operators can wear many hats, but they’re typically third parties responsible for processing and shipping products that have been ordered/purchased. These facilities are often large and centrally-located to ensure faster shipping times at lower costs. They can serve both business-to-consumer or business-to-business operations.

While the terms “fulfillment center” and “warehouse” are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some differences. Most fulfillment centers are also warehouses or linked with warehousing services. However, not all warehouses are fulfillment centers. Whereas warehouses are places to store goods, materials, and products, the fulfillment center is responsible for meeting customer demands through efficient processing and shipping.

Half a Dozen Benefits of Quality Fulfillment Services

Outsourcing your distribution and fulfillment services can potentially reduce shipping costs by anywhere between 15 and 35 percent. That’s usually the most compelling draw for most companies. But there are other upsides too – some of which also contribute to the bottom line boost.

At the top of our list:

  1. Avoiding a brick-and-mortar investment. Although this trend started pre-2020, the pandemic threw into stark relief the fact that many operations are using more physical space than they need. Warehousing, fulfillment, and distribution services often require a lot of space – which can cost a lot of money, particularly if you are renting/paying taxes on/insuring/managing/equipping/staffing your own facility. It usually only makes sense for very large companies or those that consistently move huge volumes to manage their own fulfillment and distribution operations. For others, third-party logistics fulfillment centers are the ideal solution.
  2. Faster order processing. When you work with a dedicated fulfillment center, orders can typically ship faster than you’d be able to manage on your own. This is not only thanks to the central location and value-added services, but also the superior logistics team, which ensures a more efficient supply chain.
  3. Better shipping experiences. Of course, your customers want to receive their orders intact and on time – every time. But increasingly, they also want to be able to track their order in real time. They want to know right away if there’s a delay – or if it will be there sooner than expected. Proper packaging is important too, as is a fast turnaround time. A third-party fulfillment operation can provide these things easier than a firm that isn’t dedicated to full time warehousing and distribution.
  4. Greater scalability options. If you’re going to put the time, energy, and resources into establishing your own fulfillment center, it can be difficult to scale down – or up – as needed without losing money. If you get a sudden lull or surge in orders, a 3PL fulfillment center can accommodate those fluctuations without significant losses.
  5. Improved logistics. The complexities of inbound and outbound logistics can be overwhelming if that’s not your core operation. When you contract with a 3PL for fulfillment services, you get the benefit of experts with decades of experience in services like order processing, inventory management, picking and packing, warehousing, distribution, and more. When you entrust the logistics leg of your operation to logistics experts, you not only provide your customers with better service, you’re also better able to respond to supply chain volatility.
  6. Value-added services tailored to your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all business or organization, and there’s no one-size-fits-all package of warehousing and distribution services that are going to work for everyone. A well-managed fulfillment center can often provide customized value-added services so you get exactly what you need – and aren’t paying for things you don’t.
third-party logistics Cleveland fulfillment center

Choosing an Ohio Distribution & Fulfillment Service Provider

When you’re looking to contract with a Cleveland fulfillment center, some important considerations include:

  • Which services are provided? Most fulfillment service providers have some basic warehousing and shipping packages. But can the facility and their staff actually handle all the receiving, storing, picking, packing, labeling, kitting and other needs your operations and customers require?
  • What are their price points? The financial incentives are what typically draw customers to seek fulfillment center partners. But the key to get the most of your partnership is to carefully assess what you’re getting for what you’re paying. If certain services cost more than their competitors, is there a good reason for that? Ask too about whether they have shipping specialties for certain service areas, volumes, types of goods, etc.
  • How central is their location? Ideally, the fulfillment center you choose will be fairly close to your customers. The less distance they need to cover to complete your deliveries, the faster your orders can be fulfilled and the less it will cost you.
  • How is their responsiveness? Customer service is key in fulfillment. If something goes sideways or there is any type of disruption in your distribution process, you need to be able to reach someone who can help you remediate the issue right away. Transparency is also an element of this that’s worth inquiring about.

If you have questions about our Northeast Ohio fulfillment and distribution center, contact us for more information and a quote.

For information on Warehousing, Inventory Management, Fulfillment, Distribution, and Trucking Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Warehousing Giants Are Consolidating in a Shifting Real-Estate Market, June 13, 2022, By Liz Young, The Wall Street Journal

More Blog Entries:

Perks of Cleveland Public Warehousing, Nov. 23, 2022, Ohio Warehousing Blog

Cleveland freight consolidation

Cleveland Freight Consolidation: Lower Costs, Greener Commerce, Happier Clients

Surging e-commerce demands are the new normal in trade – both domestically and globally. Staying afloat means keeping costs reasonable, prioritizing customer satisfaction, and implementing greener supply chain practices for sustainability. One way to check all three boxes is with Cleveland freight consolidation.

Freight consolidation is a practice whereby shippers combine multiple less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments all destined for the same geographical end point. If a single shipper only uses two-thirds of a trailer, they’re still going to pay for the entire space – unless the freight can be efficiently consolidated with orders from other customers headed in the same direction. In that case, they can split the cost of a single trailer, paying only for the percentage of space they’re actually using.

When freight is consolidated, shippers can make the most of every trip. Fewer large truck trips is not only cheaper, it also means less gas and roadway wear-and-tear, which is a net positive for the environment.

For end customers, freight consolidation has two major benefits: Shorter lead time and lower shipping costs. Faster order fulfillment is possible when companies can afford to ship smaller orders right away, as opposed to spacing them out to allow for buildup of a volume that will justify the expense of an entire truckload.

More than simply an added bonus, these savings can be a make-or-break factor when weighed against the economic strain so many firms are currently facing, such as ongoing labor shortages, port congestion, tight transportation capacity, record-high warehouse pricing, and the overall rising cost of raw materials and packaging.

Cleveland freight consolidation

Third-Party Logistics’ Role in Cleveland Freight Consolidation Strategies

The many benefits of Cleveland freight consolidation for import and export freight are well-established. The biggest implementation challenge for most companies is effective coordination of all the moving parts needed. This is where a third-party logistics (3PL) company can prove indispensable.

A 3PL has not only the insight on the most efficient routes and fleets, they can connect clients from all over with similar goals – in the region, on the route, at a central consolidation/distribution center, or at similar retail destinations.

Clients benefit from the long-standing working relationships third-party logistics operators have forged with strategically-situated warehouses, distribution centers, shippers, and retailers. This allows for improved communication and flexibility, which ultimately translates to:

  • Quicker delivery times
  • Improved order visibility
  • Simple pricing
  • Better level of service
  • Reduced loading dock congestion (fewer trucks means less processing time and faster in-and-out)
  • Minimized handling (fewer touches mean less product damage risk, particularly when working with an experienced 3PL)
  • Boosted sustainability
  • More control over production schedules and due dates

Don’t solely take our word for it: In a recent analysis published by the U.S. Department of Transportation on the impact of freight consolidation and truck sharing. Study authors looked at several algorithms designed to aid online freight marketplaces in identifying efficient consolidation strategies, as well as route optimization and consolidation in a handful of mid-sized cities.

Ultimately, the cost savings potential of freight consolidation just in these few markets showed:

  • Same delivery volumes achieved with only 67 percent of current truck usage.
  • Operational costs reduced by 23 percent.
  • Mileage expenditures slashed by 17 percent.

While the study didn’t specifically zoom in on how this process minimized environmental impact, that benefit is inherent anytime the number of trips and truckloads goes down.

For information on our Cleveland freight consolidation services, contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Study the Impacts of Freight Consolidation and Truck Sharing on Freight Mobility, April 1, 2019, U.S. Department of Transportation

More Blog Entries:

Cleveland Transloading Service Benefits, Oct. 15, 2022, Northeast Ohio CFS Freight Blog

Cleveland dedicated trucking

Why Companies are Increasingly Turning to Cleveland Dedicated Trucking

Dedicated trucking services can provide stability, efficiency, and cost savings to companies with consistent truckloads in relatively predictable freight lanes for fixed rates. Sometimes referred to as dedicated trucking, dedicated freight, dedicated transportation, or primary freight, these long-term contracts are basically the opposite of spot rate trucking (short-term, transactional freight pricing that reflects the real-time balance). Cleveland dedicated trucking contracts are ideal for established companies with fairly dependable demand.

According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry as a whole hauls more than 10 billion tons of freight annually, comprising nearly 75 percent of the total domestic tonnage in the country. There are roughly 4 million registered tractor trailers in the U.S., with those based in the Midwest accounting for more than 40 percent.

Truckload markets are notoriously volatile, swinging from tight carrier capacity and high rates in one quarter to one where per-rate-mile and freight rate increases are scarce. Entering into a longer-term dedicated trucking contract can provide some much-needed cost dependability, as it locks in competitive rates and available trucks for the duration of the contract – typically 3-5 years.

On Time Delivery & Warehouse offers Cleveland dedicated trucking to Northeast Ohio customers seeking greater regularity in their supply chain.

Primary Benefits of Cleveland Dedicated Trucking

There are a number of reasons dedicated transportation has spiked in popularity. Among them:

  • Reduced fleet management responsibilities. When you sign a contract for dedicated trucking with a third-party logistics firm, you get lots of the same perks as a private fleet – without the hassle and cost. Instead, it’s the 3PL trucking company that shoulders the work of acquiring and maintaining trucks, hiring and training drivers and support staff, and keeping pace with safety and statutory requirements.
  • Stable pricing. Transportation rates are seemingly always in flux, thanks to unpredictable gas prices, labor shortages, updated safety rules, etc. For shippers, this often means coping with sudden cost spikes – on top of erratic trucking capacity. But if a shipper has a dedicated trucking delivery contract, their vulnerability to freight market fluctuations is substantially reduced. Furthermore, dedicated trucking reduces idle truck time, which also keeps costs in check.
  • Dependable delivery times. On Time Delivery & Warehouse prides itself on ensuring deliveries arrive intact, on time, every time. Customers with dedicated delivery trucking contracts have even greater assurances because their inbound/outbound shipments are already clearly mapped out. That allows for greater consistency with pickup and delivery times.
  • Guaranteed freight capacity. Dedicated transportation requires an established network and consistent routes. This translates to reliable services for shippers, who can depend on that guaranteed freight capacity as outlined in the contract.
  • Minimized liability. When customers opt for dedicated trucking services, routes are arranged for goods and products to move from Point A to Point B without other stops along the way (as there might be with less-than-truckload or spot rate deliveries). Fewer stops means less risk of delays and accidents, which in turn reduces shipper liability.
  • Greater customer satisfaction. When it comes to deliveries, speed and reliability are at the top of most customers’ priority lists. Dedicated trucking contracts help ensure you’re meeting – or exceeding – their expectations, which in turn boosts not only your bottom line but your reputation.

Cleveland dedicated trucking services hinge heavily on mutual trust. The carrier must commit to a certain amount of driver and trucking capacity, while the shipper commits to a certain amount of regular freight. If you’re considering a dedicated transportation arrangement, it’s important to carefully vet the reputation of the 3PL/carrier. Trucking is a tough business and supply chains are always changing. When a company has been in business for decades, it means they’ve gained customer confidence through successful navigation of challenge after challenge, year after year.

For information on Northeast Ohio Trucking Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2022 Update, August 2022, American Transportation Research Institute

More Blog Entries:

Cleveland Transloading Service Benefits, Oct. 15, 2022, Northeast Ohio Dedicated Trucking Services Blog

Ohio warehouse

Tips for Choosing an Ohio Warehouse

Warehousing is a crucial link in your supply chain network – in both global and domestic markets. Choosing the right Ohio warehouse for your operational needs can make a sizable difference in your firm’s ability to be efficient, effective, and profitable.

With Ohio warehouse space and labor at a premium, outsourcing often makes sense – especially if you can find a place that also provides services like packaging, repackaging, kitting, labeling, and distribution. Bonus if it’s near an airport.

When warehousing is done correctly, it provides numerous benefits beyond basic storage. Some of those include:

  • Facilitates increased turnover.
  • Improves production.
  • Decreases shrinkage.
  • Maximizes customer satisfaction with fewer products damaged in transit.
  • Optimizes safety for workers and your goods.

Still, there is no denying warehousing costs have risen markedly in recent years. That’s thanks in large part to soaring e-commerce demand, which has expanded nearly 30 percent in the last three years. Even despite some predicted slowdowns on the horizon, the pandemic revealed that consumer consumption can be fairly resilient to economic cycles. Warehousing rent has climbed 3 percent a quarter nationally since 2020, reaching nearly $9.56/square foot earlier this year, according to The New York Times. (In some markets, it’s more than $15/square foot.)

If you’re looking for an Ohio warehouse that delivers great value for the cost, here are some priorities you’ll want to bear in mind to ensure you find the right fit.

  • Location and accessibility to major linkages. Identify what mode – or modes – of transport is best-suited for your company’s operations. The warehouse that’s right for you will have easy access to that transport mode. For example, if air transport is one of the most efficient means of getting your goods from Point A to Point B, you will ideally find an Ohio warehouse that is within 20 miles or less of a major airport. (On Time Delivery & Warehouse, for instance, is just 4 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.) You also want to identify where your customers are primarily located. Warehousing that is close to your customer base can give you the advantage of more timely, cost-effective deliveries. Finally, an accessible warehouse that offers easy highway connectivity and few traffic backups so that trucks don’t waste time idling and goods get where they need to go as efficiently as possible.
  • Diversity of capabilities. An Ohio warehouse with a broad range of capabilities is going to offer a better deal than those that offer storage and nothing else. If you can get integrated solutions for things like logistics planning, kitting, packaging and repackaging, labeling and sorting, CFS Freight, and distribution, it helps your firm come out ahead. Asset-based warehouse solutions – those that invest not only in the facility but in a transportation fleet and skilled workers – can offer a higher level of warehousing service.
  • Experience. With new warehouses in Northeast Ohio cropping up daily, it’s a good idea to consider the experience of the provider. Newer facilities may offer some advantages, but take a look also at the operational dates. Supply chain logistics has always been a dynamic, evolving industry. Warehouse providers that have been around a while have the advantage of invaluable insights that have allowed them to stand the test of time.
  • Material handling capacities. The warehouse you choose needs to have the availability of staging capacities and handling equipment that matches your demands. What kind of docks are you going to need? Will you need a facility with cross-docking capabilities? CFS? Last-mile delivery services? All this will help you determine which of your warehousing options will best suit your needs.
  • Technology. Advancing technology has fundamentally altered the way warehouses operate – from electronic data exchanges to pick-by-vision systems to real-time product tracking. Keeping customers happy means providing them not only with faster results, but transparency through the process. Technology has been vital to that. Make sure the warehousing company you choose has the systems in place that will allow you to best serve your client base.
  • Minimized risks. Handling, storing, and shipping products is not without risk. You want a warehousing management team that is fully aware of those risks, takes them seriously, values their team members’ safety, has appropriate safety measures in place, and invests in adequate insurance in case something does go wrong.
  • Taxes and rates. Of course, cost needs to be considered. Compare each facility’s rental rate per-square-foot against the value they’re providing. Depending on your operation type, there may also be certain state or regional tax implications or incentives to weigh.

At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we recognize that warehousing is an integral part of your operations – and we take our role in that seriously. Our goal is to help our clients maximize efficiency, excel, and ensure their own customers are fully satisfied with services that deliver their goods intact, on time, every time.

For information on Northeast Ohio Warehousing, Inventory Management, and Trucking Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Industrial Facilities Near Airports Command Rent Premiums, Oct. 5, 2022, CBRE

More Blog Entries:

6 Supply Chain Insights From Northeast Ohio Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Pros, Aug. 28, 2022, Cleveland, Ohio Warehousing Blog

Northeast Ohio third-party logistics 3PL

6 Supply Chain Insights From Northeast Ohio Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Pros

As Northeast Ohio third-party logistics warehouse professionals, we understand the complexities of supply chain management better than anyone. Increasingly, it’s important that our clients have a grasp of them as well.

In recent years, the volatility of local and global supply chains has been on full display not only to manufacturers and distributors but consumers as well. There is a growing expectation that savvy businesses will take measures not just to respond to supply chain hiccups when they arise, but to become better at predicting and preparing for their inevitability.

Working with an Ohio third-party logistics team helps your company to do that. It also provides consumers with broader transparency and more responsive communication when problems occur.

With this in mind, the Ohio 3PL team at On Time Delivery & Warehouse offers the following list of basic supply chain insights.

Modern supply chains are increasingly complex.

Most supply chains can be broken down into two basic segments: Production and distribution. But that’s really where the simplicity ends.

Consider, for instance, a basic laptop computer. It can easily have 3,000 different parts. Your typical Ford truck? It’s likely to have at least 30,000 components. An effective supply chain is going to have numerous layers of varying sophistication, typically involving specialists who can supply certain components. Often, businesses end up with many layers of supply chains – and it can get even murkier when your suppliers don’t want you to know who their suppliers are, for fear you’ll just go around them if possible. This can be especially problematic if a lower-tier supply shuts down – and you aren’t even made aware of it until a certain time period. That can eventually lead to major supply chain snarls – which is precisely what we saw during the pandemic.

On the distribution end of things, issues with congested ports and labor shortages have resulted in bottlenecks. Working with an Ohio third-party logistics company helps ensure you if something falls through, you have alternative routes and means (by road, air, and sea).

Unexpected Demand May Not Mean What You Think.

Customers signal their demand by making purchases. This prompts businesses to ramp up supply. But this sort of demand forecasting can cause problems if spikes are interpreted as fundamental shifts in demand.

We saw this during COVID-19 when it came to things like exercise bikes. There were huge customer demands, retailers flooded their suppliers with orders, suppliers started cranking up production and returned the flow back to retailers – who by then realized they had too much and cut back substantially on future orders. This lead to major supply chain headaches – manufacturers cut production, suppliers were left with an overstock of raw materials and customers were left cooling their heels for extended periods waiting for deliveries.

When it comes to sudden demand spikes, it’s best to proceed with a degree of caution.

Just-In-Time Production Can Be a Practical Solution.

To avoid the whiplash of sudden demand spikes that just as suddenly fall, some companies have found just-in-time production a practical solution. As our Ohio third-party logistics pros can explain, just-in-time production involves making precisely what you need – and only when you need it. The idea is you’re only carrying as much inventory as you need, raw materials get delivered only just in time. If there is an issue with any of those parts/raw materials, the impact is typically minimal because the orders are smaller.

However, this solution really only makes sense when suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors are relatively close and/or when the supply chains are fairly lean. If your network is more global, trying to work out exactly when you’re going to need a delivery – and how much it will be – can be tricky. It can lead to problems when you factor in demand spikes and supply chain bottlenecks (particularly those involving international shipments, which can get held up for weeks on end).

Just-in-time production can work for some companies, but it’s wise to consult with your 3PL to see whether your supply chain has any weak links that can be tightened first.

The Bigger Your Supply Chain, the More Opportunities for Disruption.

Many companies rely on lengthy distribution chains. For example, if you’re shipping furniture from a factory in Sweden to a store in Northeast Ohio, you might need an air leg, an ocean leg, a rail leg, and truck transfers. The more links your supply chain has, the riskier it may be, particularly when each link directly depends on the smooth function of all the others. Keep in mind too – some of those links depend on cogs and sprockets that are on different tracks entirely.

Longer logistics threads are more vulnerable to delays than shorter ones. When you work with a third-party logistics partner, you have the benefit not only of transparency and seeing potential issues just before or immediately after they arise, but also alternatives when that happens.

Northeast Ohio third-party logistics warehousing professionals provide supply chain insight and effective solutions

Ordering More Than Necessary May Exacerbate Shortages.

Ideally, companies are only going to order as much of an item as they think they are going to consume or sell until the following cycle. However, if you forecast that a certain product may become particularly in-demand, it may seem smart to order extra.

However, where this is a problem is that some companies might start ordering double or triple what they actually need. This not only leads to shortages in the immediate, but can result in companies having far too much inventory – which inevitably leads to the need for more warehouse space, etc. You may end up with further losses if you’re forced to slash prices to just to offload it.

It can be tough to determine the exact right amount of just-in-case product to keep on hand. It’s a balancing act. Working with a dedicated Ohio third-party logistics team can help ensure both communication and supply chain visibility so that you can accurately forecast just how much you’re going to need.

Ohio Third-Party Logistics Partner Can Help Reduce Bottlenecks By Providing Big Picture Snapshots.

Bottlenecks in the supply chain are commonly the result of a lack of visibility – both for what’s in the pipeline on its way to you and then what comes after.

For example, it’s easy to see hundreds of ships stalled at a port and conclude, “Clearly, lack of efficiency at the port is the problem.” In reality, the actual issue might be that there was poor communication among downstream distribution centers. You could increase the port’s capacity 200 percent by keeping it open 24-7, but it’s not going to make much difference in the backlog if there is no one to pick up those goods or nowhere for it to immediately go.

Working with a team of skilled, experienced 3PL professionals can help provide a big picture lens, allowing you to identify potential issues before they become a major problem – easing the flow of goods downstream all the way to your customers.

If you have questions about how our Northeast Ohio third-party logistics warehousing & trucking team can help improve your supply chain visibility and flow, we’re here to provide further insight.

For information on 3PL Warehousing, Inventory Management, and Trucking Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Supply Chain Pressures Ebbed in July, Aug. 15, 2022, Central Banks Research, The Wall Street Journal

More Blog Entries:

Cleveland 3PL Recommends Ample Planning to Cope With Packaging Shortage, June 28, 2022, Northeast Ohio Warehousing News Blog

Cleveland warehousing

Cleveland Warehousing Helps Businesses Optimize Resources, Maximize Profits

Cleveland warehousing is an element of operations that many small businesses in Northeast Ohio cannot afford to overlook if they manufacture, export, or transport goods in any capacity.

Although many companies will try to manage their own warehouse duties in-house, doing so efficiently can quickly become all-consuming – and close to impossible. That’s why many businesses ultimately end up outsourcing Cleveland warehousing functions to a third-party logistics provider.

What makes some firms reticent to take the first step on the initial investment is the cost. But in the end, outsourcing Cleveland warehousing functions has proven time and again to boost productivity, improve on-time-deliveries and customer satisfaction, and save money.

The customer’s journey isn’t over once the order is placed. Working with a dedicated 3PL warehouse provides you with greater transparency and control to ensure customers receive their products intact and on-time – and to promptly notify them of any issues if that isn’t going to be the case.

Cleveland warehousing 3PL

Benefits of Partnering with a 3PL for Cleveland Warehousing

If you’re considering a warehouse partnership with a third-party logistics firm, it’s important to go into it knowing what you hope to gain. Some of the top benefits that our Cleveland warehousing customers have identified as holding the most value:

  • Improved inventory management. It’s estimated that 8 percent of small businesses fail to track their inventory. Stunningly, nearly a quarter don’t maintain inventory at all. In effect, order processing and shipments may be delayed, resulting in poor customer experience. When you have a centrally-located warehouse that is dialed in with freight logistics capabilities, it becomes easier to track, manage, and ship your inventory. You’ll have the advantage of low-stock alerts well in advance of when you’re potentially risking running out. This will also allow you to give customers potential alternatives, as opposed to simply keeping them waiting in the dark.
  • Efficient packing and processing. A solid warehousing partner goes beyond simply storing your goods. It has the supplies, the equipment, and the staff to move, package, and process your orders. Pallet racks, packing materials, loading docks – these are just a few examples of what a third-party warehouse may be able to offer.
  • First-rate customer service. According to RetailDive.com, nearly 65 percent of online shoppers expect their free shipping order to arrive within three business days. At the very least, there is an expectation that customers know – and be kept updated about – the estimated or guaranteed delivery time. Nearly 90 percent are willing to pay more to ensure faster delivery. The speed of delivery is sometimes the No. 1 thing buyers consider when deciding their shipping method. So as a business owner, this is something you must take seriously. If you fail to deliver orders on time, your reputation can tank and you may hemorrhage customers. When you’re working with an experienced warehousing partner, you can arrange for optimized distribution and timely delivery. This reduces errors and potential product damage during the order fulfillment process. Warehouses can also help keep your goods safe and secure, reducing the odds items will get lost or stolen during handling.
  • Price stabilization. There are lots of factors that can influence the price of a product from month to month or year after year. Warehousing does provide some opportunity for price stability, though, because it allows businesses to store goods for a later date, when demand may be higher. Consistent stock levels can help ensure you can offer consistent prices to your clientele.
  • Better risk management. In addition to serving as a buffer from wild pricing swings, warehousing can offer risk management services that will minimize your losses due to improper storage, packing, and deliveries. Goods that are properly packed, stored, sorted, and picked will have a longer shelf life, which means you aren’t losing product unnecessarily.

If you are looking for a warehousing and logistics partner in Northeast Ohio, On Time Delivery & Warehouse has a reputation as a leader in the field. Our customers trust us to provide quality warehousing services, inventory tracking, and distribution – so that your goods make it to their destination intact, on time, every time.

For information on 3PL Warehousing and Inventory Management Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Peak shipping season ahead of the holidays is about to begin for a volatile supply chain, July 29, 2022, By Lori Ann LaRocco, CNBC

More Blog Entries:

Federal Shipping Reform Impact to Cleveland Warehousing, Trucking, June 20, 2022, Ohio Warehousing Blog

Cleveland 3PL packaging shortage

Cleveland 3PL Recommends Ample Planning to Cope With Packaging Shortage

Packaging supplies continue to be in high demand despite limited availability, with shortages expected to continue through to at least the end of this year. Our Cleveland 3PL providers are advising the best way to avoid major problems on this front is to forecast, plan, and order materials at least six months out.

Basically, if you’re expecting higher demand and product shipping around the holidays, the time to start ordering those packaging materials now and arranging for their storage.

Packaging materials include things like boxes, foam inserts, poly bags, adhesive tape, anti-static sheets, labels – all the items that ensure items are safe, protected, and clean. While packaging tends to be something of an afterthought for consumers, smart businesses recognize that the right packaging is mission critical. Improper packaging can lead to breakage, spoiling, rusting, leaking – or the product never even making it to its destination. All of this not only hurts the company’s bottom line, but also its reputation.

One analysis by Smithers revealed that in a single recent year, global spending on packaging supplies was more than $917 billion. Demand was expected to increase nearly 3 percent, crossing the $1 trillion threshold, by 2024. But that was before the pandemic, when e-commerce demand exploded.

Cleveland 3Pl warehousing and trucking provider offers packaging, repacking and kitting services. Discusses packaging supply shortage and how to prepare.

Compounding matters is that the packaging materials industry hasn’t been immune to the seismic supply chain disruptions of recent years. Not only the pandemic, but extreme weather and a greater demand for sustainable materials has but a lot of pressure on suppliers.

Senior supply chain analysts with Gartner anticipate packaging supply is going to remind a challenge for companies through the 2022 holiday season. Lead time on packaging supply orders that used to take four to six weeks is now more like six months. Things like labels previously had lead times of somewhere around four to six weeks, but are now closer to three-to-four months.

Cleveland 3PL Can Help by Establishing Supply Chain Resilience

In addition to forecasting the need for packaging materials well in advance of expected demand surges (months instead of weeks in advance), companies might also consider working with a third-party logistics company.

There are numerous benefits to working with our Cleveland 3PL, but one that can make a huge difference on this front is helping to establish supply chain resilience.

Our services include not only warehousing and trucking, but packing, labeling, and kitting. We have close connections with suppliers of all kinds of packaging materials, and can work with customers to find alternative solutions when their original packing plans are jeopardized or uncertain.

Throughout the pandemic, there’s been a rush on paper product packaging – primarily folding boxes, corrugated boxes, and non-corrugated boxes. We may see this start to ease a bit as supply begins to finally catch up with the demand, but that might not be for another six months or so, which means companies need to think outside the box (literally).

We can help customers explore alternative packaging methods. That could mean sacrificing certain aspects that are the ideal (glossy coatings, colorful graphics, etc.), but less complicated and therefore more realistic for vendors to turn around by the deadline. As long as the package keeps the product clean, safe, and protected while it works its way to its final destination, that may need to take priority over certain custom aesthetics.

We work to help our clients formulate supply chain segmentation strategies. These involve optimizing certain processes for different needs/outcomes to serve customer bases that are diverse and/or growing.

For instance, the same product may be sold both in retail stores and online. Customers may be buying the same thing, but they have different needs when buying in the store than purchasing online. You might break up the inventory for those two segments and store – and package – them differently. Items sold in stores may require less packaging than those sold online.

Packaging needs can be segmented by material type, end-use markets, and regional markets. Efficient supply chain segmentation strategies can help reinforce your supply chain resilience, allowing you to be better prepared for challenges – whether that’s the expected (like an ongoing packaging shortage) or other hurdles not yet forecasted.

For information on 3PL Warehousing and Inventory Management Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

How to find packaging materials in a ‘perfect storm’ of supply chain issues, June 16, 2022, By Jen A. Miller, Supply Chain Dive

More Blog Entries:

Benefits of Outsourcing Cleveland Inventory Management, May 27, 2022, Cleveland 3PL Blog

Cleveland inventory management

Benefits of Outsourcing Cleveland Inventory Management

Inventory management is a systematic approach to sourcing, storing, and selling inventory. That includes both raw components and finished products. Your Cleveland inventory management strategy must involve swift and accurate identification of the right stock, at the correct levels, in the right time and place – and at the ideal price point.

Inventory management involves numerous duties, including:

  • Controlling and overseeing purchases
  • Maintaining the storage of stock
  • Controlling the amount of product for sale
  • Order fulfillment

This is a huge responsibility – and tough to consistently nail down without the proper systems and professionals in place. That’s why many companies opt to outsource this component of their supply chain.

Cleveland inventory management

Any company in a goods-based business recognizes the impact of inventory management on operational efficiency. Lack of adequate inventory will mean lost sales and unsatisfied customers. Too much inventory will mean higher costs for storage and management, less cash on hand, and reduced value of your products. The U.S. government recognizes the value of proper inventory management to the extent that publicly-traded companies are actually required to track inventory and document management systems if they want to be compliant with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Exact inventory management systems can vary from business-to-business, depending on their size, the types of products sold, and the channels through which they’re sold. That said, partnering with a third-party logistics company means you have the benefit of a system that’s flexible, processes that have been proven, and professionals who are experienced.

Here, we’re going to run through the benefits of outsourcing Cleveland inventory management one-by-one.

Cleveland trucking spot rates

How to Get the Best Cleveland Trucking Spot Rates

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that last-minute spot loads in the truckload market are once again falling as the shipping demand is becoming more aligned with available truck capacity. This is great news for B2Bs and retailers alike. Still, how can you be assured you’re getting the best Cleveland trucking spot rates? Here, our Cleveland trucking team offers some insight.

Contract Rates vs. Spot Rates

For those who may be unfamiliar, most truckload freight is moved via contract rate. This is when shippers and trucking companies strike a longer-term agreement to regularly move a given volume of goods between Origin A to Destination B at a predetermined, per-mile rate that may/may not be adjustable.

Spot rates are more of a one-off deal, but they still comprise about 20 percent of the truckload freight market. They can include (but are not always) same-day and next-day deliveries. These rates are based on existing supply-and-demand for trucks available to make one-time or inconsistent load volumes slated for specific origins/destinations. Some regions/markets can be much more volatile than others, but the spot trucking market in general tends to be much more capricious, with rates negotiated closer to deadline by the load, the lane, or the time. High load volumes + tight trucking capacity = Higher spot rates.

Companies that tend to rely on Cleveland spot rate trucking usually have lower volumes, inconsistent timing, varied destinations, and special/non-standard load requirements.

It’s worth noting that while news of dropping spot rates is definitely welcome by many shippers, it comes on the heels of rates that have been historically high. Ultimately, you still want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

Tips for Scoring Great Cleveland Trucking Spot Rates

Rate negotiation factors are fairly standard, but being prepared and knowledgeable can help ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Side note: Best doesn’t always mean cheapest. If you get the lowest price, but it results in a missed pickup, damaged products, or hidden charges, it’s going to cost you much more in the long run. When on-time, intact delivery matters, your trucking partner becomes an extension of your brand. Make sure they have a reputation worthy of the trust you’re placing in them. 

Beyond that:

box truck deliveries

Business Advantages to 3PL Box Truck Deliveries

If you’re managing a products company, you know that more often than not, clients need their orders as soon as possible. No matter what your industry, speedy delivery is a universally high-value service. Box truck deliveries – particularly those with same-day and next-day capabilities – can help you achieve that.

Box trucks are ideal for companies that make frequent deliveries and drop-offs and have fast turnaround times. It’s a means of reliable transportation without the trailer, allowing for easier deliveries – particularly in tighter urban and suburban terrain. Working with a 3PL for box truck delivery services can help you enhance customer service, reduce liability risk, and even save money. 

What Exactly is a Box Truck?

According to the American Trucking Associations, trucks move roughly 73 percent of the nation’s freight by weight. A good number of those local deliveries involve some type of box truck.

Box trucks fairly obviously get their name from their shape: They look like giant boxes. Sometimes referred to as a “cube truck,” “box van,” “cube van” or even “rolling toaster,” a box truck is typically much smaller than a full-size cargo truck, though with many of the same positive features. It doesn’t have a trailer, which can reduce the amount of time spent loading, hauling, and unloading. They tend to be smaller than dry vans, and they’re often more affordable than larger rigs. They’re also pretty secure – and fairly safe, when driven by an experienced, careful driver.

Some businesses invest in their own box truck purchases for local deliveries. Anyone considering buying a box truck right now should know the current market is quite volatile. According to truckpaper.com, a popular site for large truck sales, a used, tandem axle, 24′ box truck is probably going to cost somewhere north of $50,000, depending on the condition and mileage. A brand new 24′ tandem-axle box truck is probably going to be around $75,000, at least – and that’s if you can find it. Most medium-sized chassis trucks are backordered until at least 2023. On top of that, you need someone trained, reliable, and insured to load and drive it. Then there are maintenance outlays, gas expenses, and more. The costs can quickly add up.

Arranging 3PL box truck deliveries is often a smarter, more cost-effective option for many companies. At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we have the box truck fleet AND the disciplined workforce to get goods where they need to go.