As long-time Ohio 3PL supply chain managers, On Time Delivery & Warehouse is in the business of helping clients navigate everything from minor quirks of tricky logistics to major, unexpected supply disruptions and market changes. The U.S. federal shutdown that began Dec. 21st has the potential to threaten supply chains – in the U.S. and globally – on several fronts as the political gridlock drags on, especially if both sides dig in their heels for weeks or months, as the president has said might happen.
If you think government employees and a few federal contractors are the only ones impacted by a government shutdown – think again. Federal motor carriers, freight shipping carriers and agricultural suppliers are just a few examples of entities our Ohio 3PL supply chain managers know can be squeezed when official stalemates stretch on. Sparring and posturing in D.C. and between U.S. and international leadership are often regrettable but inevitable realities. Resolution of those issues is slightly above our pay grade, but what our Ohio 3PL providers can do is help our clients be prepared as possible.
We may not know when this government shutdown will end or if/when there will be another. We do know these issues have a way of cropping up again and again. When they do, we’ll be ready. We have a long list of contingency plans that include alternative suppliers, routes, transport methods and storage facility options that we can deploy at a moment’s notice. This helps our clients keep their goods and services moving and minimize losses, even if they can’t be avoided altogether.
Cleveland warehousing, distribution and fulfillment centers are grappling with a worsening labor shortage, some struggling to meet rising demands fueled in significant part by e-commerce. Nationally, it’s been a challenge that has businesses looking to launch or expand warehousing operations considering not just large consumer concentrations but an ample supply of qualified workers as well.
CBRE, a commercial real estate and research firm, released recent analysis revealing the need nationally for an additional 226,000 warehouse workers this year and the same in 2019. That’s a 25 percent spike in the five-year annual average. Low unemployment is complicating matters. A smaller labor pool is smaller means higher wages.
Companies shopping Cleveland warehousing options soon learn this is a dynamic but mature market. Often, costs are more manageable when they team with an established Northeast Ohio third-party logistics firm.
Sustainability has become a hot topic in Northeast Ohio supply chain management circles, especially as scientific projections on impacts of climate change become increasingly urgent. As long-time Cleveland 3PL providers integral to Midwest supply chains, On Time Delivery & Warehouse managers know there is much evidence to support the assertion that companies committed to greener, more sustainable supply chains help guard against numerous financial, reputational and legal supply chain risks.
A recent HSBC Navigator survey found that of 8,500 business leaders in 34 markets globally, one-third are making sustainability-related changes to their chain of supply in the next three years – specifically prioritizing more environmentally-friendly practices. This is better for the planet obviously, but that’s not the only reason. Our Cleveland 3PL supply chain experts have long known these benefits go both ways. Economic drivers for greener supply chains, according to the HSBC survey, include:
- Greater cost efficiency
- Improved revenues
- Better overall financial performance
If you’re in the market for Cleveland warehouse space, a bit of insider advice from third-party logistics experts: Start your search early. Lock in the deal as soon as possible.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported warehouse space leasing has become increasingly rivalrous as online sales impose evermore unforgiving time crunches on already-squeezed U.S. and Ohio warehouse and distribution centers. Just in the 2018 third quarter, real estate brokerage firm CBREGroup calculated a sharp drop-off in the industrial warehouse vacancies – even though nearly 50 million spare feed of new warehousing capacity hit the market during those three months. The upshot is that as distribution demands rise, Cleveland warehouse space is snapped up almost as fast as it’s built.
On the one hand, this is good news because it’s a signal of a robust economy for consumers. However, that’s only part of the story. Bigger picture, it’s the exponential growth of e-commerce and corresponding shift in infrastructure. To further break it down, shoppers turning to the internet for everything from loaves of bread to love seats, many third-party logistics companies and their warehouses are hurdling toward or hovering at capacity.
Warehousing is critical because client confidence can be bolstered or broken based on satisfaction with the good condition and timely delivery of products. Cleveland warehouse space shortages can lead to supply chain bottlenecks that can ding consumer satisfaction.
Cleveland 3PL supply chain management teams recognize the additional cost for many businesses amid the U.S.-China trade war is potentially crippling, involving $250 billion in Chinese export tariffs and $110 billion on U.S. goods. The Section 301 remedy tariffs have been unrolled in phases this year, and more are scheduled for next year. The Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel have also hurt bottom lines globally.
Hopes are high an accord will soon be reached, but in the meantime, firms and industries reliant on Chinese manufacturing and parts (and there are many) should be mapping their game plans if they haven’t already. The aide of an experienced 3PL supply chain management company can help businesses navigate these challenges and curtail impact.
Whether the tariffs will have the desired economic policy impact remains to be seen, but it’s not impossible that even if this one ends, a new one won’t suddenly crop up. Tariffs are one of those adverse market forces outside our control for which companies need to prepare because of the dizzying blow to American manufacturers and shippers, jobs and consumer prices. As a long-time Cleveland 3PL supply chain management partner, On Time Delivery & Warehouse works to formulate strategic supply chain approaches – tailored to each client – to help minimize distribution and financial woes.
Shipping companies around the globe are increasingly concluding that outsourcing with a third-party logistics service isn’t simply a means to ease the workload or save costs. Shippers of all sizes are finding such partnerships essential to carving a competitive advantage in modern markets. A solid partnership with a trusted Ohio 3PL can mean the difference between sink-or-swim for some shippers.
Consider recent analysis from supply chain think-tank Armstrong & Associates (published in Supply Chain Management Review) revealing that 9 out of 10 Fortune 500 companies depend on third-party logistics for key supply chain services. We’re guessing most folks reading here aren’t on that list, but the reason we make note this statistic is because these firms have the means financially to construct strong internal logistics operations – yet each concluded if they want to enhance client satisfaction in an era when same-day service is expected, it’s not worth the investment to optimize logistics on their own. Reality is, their resources and energy are better spent on innovation. They decided the smartest thing they can do is team up with an experienced 3PL team with the ability to act as a positive business extension.
Shipping companies especially can’t overlook at least exploring Ohio 3PL partnerships because of high truck driver turn over and soaring rates of trucking shipments and expenditures are higher than ever – and continuing to climb. This ongoing trend is squeezing all shippers, but smaller ones in particular. They need the savings 3PLs can provide, and are actively seeking freight broker services to secure better rates.
Warehousing bottlenecks are a source of time-consuming and costly delays that ultimately chip away at customer confidence. A once-in-a-while warehouse bottleneck might be manageable, but even an occasional bottleneck can signal larger, non-obvious systemic issues that are hurting your bottom line. If this or constant in-house warehousing bottleneck headaches sound familiar, it’s time to discuss these concerns with an knowledgeable Cleveland 3PL provider.
Outsourcing warehousing services to a third-party logistics firm is sometimes the smartest way to manage complex and/ or fluctuating operations long-term – and avoid warehousing bottlenecks.
Ohio LCL shipping (less-than-container-load) makes the most sense for many small business owners requiring lower-volume, time-sensitive freight shipments that won’t fit in an entire ocean container, but would cost too much to send by air freight.
A full container load, or FCL shipping, is when a cargo shipping container’s space capacity is maxed-out. Although large corporations often have no problem regularly filling entire shipping containers, smaller companies may rely on international trade or products, but don’t do the same kind of volume needed to fill a whole space. LCL shipping allows both the space and cost to be shared, so you aren’t stuck footing the bill for an entire full container load you don’t need.
With international cargo shipping, figuring out the optimal method for YOU is key to reduce losses and maximize profitability. Whether you run with LCL or FCL, make sure you’re getting:
- On time cargo delivery to the proper destination;
- Optimized freight costs;
- Simple, streamlined processes.
If container freight cargo shipping is something your Cleveland company is exploring, On Time Delivery & Warehouse third-party logistics professionals can assist in mapping a supply chain cost-benefit analysis and determining which method makes the most sense. Implementing that plan is also seamless, with our own committed Container Freight Station and Customs Exam site and established import/export procedures already in place.
No matter what size your business, reducing unnecessary supply chain costs can result in a significant savings – assuming you can accurately identify and efficiently address the weak links.
Anyone who works in Cleveland supply chain management service knows that all for-profit companies are going to incur a “cost to serve.” But is your company’s “cost to serve” reasonable? Can you lower it without risking a major blow to quality or customer satisfaction?
Supply Chain Loopholes Vary by Industry, Service, Location
The answer will depend a lot on the type of product or service you provide. For example, let’s say your Cleveland supply chain involves the packaging and delivery of building products to construction sites. Not only are you managing a complex schedule thanks to the heavy equipment and various contractors involved – your deliveries MUST be precise and on time. Certain materials like mixed cement can be totally wasted if there aren’t workers on site. If elements like weather are consistently a problem in one region, you may need to consider whether you can re-route around that area altogether. If you are in the grocery or restaurant industry, it will be critical that your deliverables be properly packaged, sometimes limited to one product-per-pallet and that delivery dates and times are accurate to the minute – otherwise the shipment could be unusable.
Understanding not just your industry but also your customer base is priority No. 1. You need to be able to serve their needs, but also make sure the cost of doing so is still sensible. One analysis in the International Journal of Production Economics found in supply chain cost reviews by 30 companies in 10 different industries, most were falling short when it came to the estimated standard supply chain cost compared to actual cost.
One of the best ways to cut your Cleveland supply chain costs is to work with a dedicated third-party logistics partner. On Time Delivery & Warehouse 3PL providers can help you better pinpoint what exactly in your chain of supply is causing you the biggest headaches and cost bleed-out. Despite wide variances between industries and companies, there are a few supply chain our third-party logistics professionals have seen consistently cause problems. If any of these issues sound familiar (or you’re having trouble identifying exactly which supply chain loophole is costing you most or what to do about it), a third-party supply chain management team can be an invaluable resource.
Effective Ohio construction supply chain management is critical to ensuring you aren’t wasting resources or valuable materials – ultimately costing you customer confidence. If your current supply chain system isn’t working for your construction business, it may be time to explore contracting with a new 3PL.
Construction companies are especially prone to supply chain complexity snags because unlike so many other industries, you may not be building the exact same prototype over and over. The teams with whom you’re working – from consultants to contractors to suppliers – might vary greatly from project-to-project or season-to-season. Having an adaptable and responsive supply chain management 3PL can be key to streamlining and lowering your risk of loss.