However one feels about the politics of it, the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has invariably imposed significant burdens on stateside supply chains. Cleveland third-party logistics firms do our best to help insulate our clients from the economic impact – which for now shows little sign of abating – or at least find ways to help offset the costs.
The trade war began nearly one year ago with President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on $250 billion Chinese exports. Administration officials cited China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property (mostly in the tech sector), as the primary catalyst, but also noted a desire to incentivize American companies to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
The Chinese government retaliated by increasing taxes on American exports and decreasing taxes on most every other country.
This escalation has dragged on for months, with a 15 percent tariff on another $112 billion worth of Chinese goods going into effect early next month, bringing two-thirds of goods imported by the U.S. from China under additional taxation. Another 15 percent tariff on $160 billion in goods is slated to go into effect in December. If that happens, almost all Chinese imports will be under tariff.
Sharply divided are conclusions about whether this will be effective in bringing back U.S. manufacturing jobs or curbing intellectual property theft. What we do know for certain is that companies in Ohio can’t bank on this simply blowing over. The stakes are too high. They must prepare.
Dialing in business growth solutions in Northeast Ohio rarely involves a single factor, but the strength of a company’s Cleveland supply chain strategies can’t be overlooked.
Simply put, the supply chain is the flow of goods and services both within and among companies, domestically and internationally. It usually begins with raw materials and manufacturing, then onto production, processing and packaging and then transport and distribution – though your firm may only deal directly with one or two aspects. What is often not so simple – especially when that chain crosses state and international borders – is the logistics.
Ensuring goods get from Point A to Point B intact and on time is the foundation of our entire business model. Logistics management is a $1 trillion dollar industry in the U.S. – and it’s still growing, thanks to e-commerce and advancing technology.
Ohio University analysis shows that in just in the last decade, supply chain management employment has spiked by more than 50 percent – and that’s because business leaders increasingly recognize the upper hand it affords. The Cleveland and Columbus regions are especially active hubs, thanks to their central physical location, population and industry density and access to various transportation modes.
Whether on a highway, an ocean freight or a customer’s doorstep, one key advantage of working with a Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics company) is reducing the risk of liability – on several fronts.
How? A dependable Cleveland 3PL streamlines supply chains by reducing bottlenecks, constantly updating intermodal deliveries and preparing for exigencies with solid contingency plans. In taking on these responsibilities, our insurance assumes coverage for some of the risks our clients would otherwise have to burden alone.
That said, shippers/manufacturers are urged to carefully review their own liability insurance plans with a qualified agent to ensure their coverage is sufficient, but not excessive. Cargo insurance (land, marine, general) is not required of shippers, but it’s something for which many opt.
Although we can’t advise you on insurance, here’s what we can say:
At On Time Delivery and Warehouse, our committed Cleveland 3PL team strives daily to always provide the very best logistics services to our clients while also keeping our rates AND terms-of-service, fair, unambiguous and transparent.
Ballooning e-commerce in nearly every industry has rendered Cleveland warehouse space in short supply. Faced with increasing consumer demands and fewer options, more Northeast Ohio businesses are opting to outsource Cleveland warehousing and distribution operations rather than keep them in-house.
Companies with seasonal, fluctuating or uncertain profit margins or those planning on a substantial expansion or contraction generally conclude it makes little sense to keep these resource-heavy duties in-house when those who outsource Cleveland warehousing to a third-party logistics firm are gleaning more benefits with less cost/hassle. Those who manage their own warehousing will be dealing with increasingly stiff competition from those who outsource. In addition to fewer choices and soaring e-commerce, there are sky-high transportation expenses, evolving technology and expanding federal regulations.
Ohio’s Warehousing Market Primed for Growth
Ohio is within one day’s drive of half the U.S. population, making it an attractive site not just for many national/international buyers, but by manufacturers but distributors and workers. Some businesses prefer greater control of day-to-day warehousing and are reticent to invite a “middleman” into the mix. But when you outsource Cleveland warehousing and order fulfillment to a first-rate third-party logistics firm, you can devote more valuable resources on things like product development and innovation, sales, marketing and customer service.
If you need more proof of the benefits of third-party warehousing, take a look at Penn State researchers’ data in 21st Annual Logistics Study in 2017 revealing the number of Fortune 500 companies using third-party logistics doubled from 46 percent to 90 percent in 15 years. Small businesses too can carve out a significant advantage when they outsource Cleveland warehousing, particularly when sales are inconsistent throughout the year.
How to Know It’s Time to Outsource Cleveland Warehousing
Even the best products won’t move if they’re routinely delivered late, damaged or not at all. A client may forgive you once, maybe even twice, but you aren’t likely to get another crack at it beyond that – and your competitors will be ready to seize that opportunity.
In deciding whether to outsource Cleveland warehousing, Northeast Ohio businesses should analyze the totality of their resources and capacity. Sometimes even if it can be handled in-house doesn’t mean it should be. Warehousing and distribution is a constant and at times delicate balancing act that involves more than merely securing space. You need qualified managers to oversee it and reliable workers to keep goods moving smoothly. As distribution centers multiply in Northeast Ohio, skilled warehousing workers are becoming just as tough to find as space. It won’t save you money in the long-run if you have to cut corners on quality, service or safety when times are lean.
High-quality logistics facilities cropping up all over the place in big markets like Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago. But even secondary markets like Cleveland, Nashville and Louisville are growing at a rapid clip too. 3PL services reportedly account for 61 of the 100 largest warehousing and industrial space deals in 2018, according to commercial real estate brokerage CBRE. Industry insiders don’t expect a slowdown.
Companies that want to keep operational costs in check may consider scrapping warehousing altogether, particularly considering the speed of modern shipping methods (goods aren’t going to remain on warehouse shelves for long, if at all). However, warehousing is still a hugely important link in the business supply chain.
When you outsource Cleveland warehousing functions, you have a better shot of bolstering profit margins because you’re more likely to be able to take advantage of:
- A centralized location(s);
- Better service with experienced warehousing and transportation workers;
- Value-added delivery;
- Flexibility for scaled or seasonal growth.
If you are considering changing up your Cleveland warehousing strategy, On Time Delivery & Warehousing, Inc. can help you map a plan that makes the most sense for your unique business model – and help you make adjustments as necessary.
If you have questions about outsourcing Cleveland warehousing and distribution 3PL partnerships, contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or sending us an email.
On-Demand Warehouse Space Gains Traction in Tight Real-Estate Market, Dec. 23, 2018, By Jennifer Smith, The Wall Street Journal
Midwest Facing A Skilled-Worker Shortage As Warehousing Boom Continues, July 18, 2018, By Jess Mador, All Things Considered, NPR
Ecommerce, 3PLs Account for 61% of Major Warehouse Deals in 2018, Feb. 25, 2019, By Mike O’Brien, MultiChannelMerchant.com
More Blog Entries:
Public Warehouse v. 3PL Service Providers: What’s the Difference? Feb. 25, 2019, Cleveland Warehousing 3PL Blog
As a longtime Northeast Ohio 3PL provider in Cleveland, On Time Delivery & Warehouse has a battle-tested supply chain network of carriers and routes spanning the U.S. market and beyond – on ground rails, overseas and in the skies. For most domestic deliveries though, we rely on commercial trucks.
We’re certainly not the only Northeast Ohio 3PL to do so, though our longstanding, loyal customer backing affirms our stake as one of the most trusted supply chain management companies in the Midwest. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports 70 percent of the 50 million tons of U.S. economy freight moved daily is hauled by commercial trucks. Our trucking services clients have the advantage not just of our expansive carrier network, but our own fleet of trailers, box trucks and flatbeds.
Trucking is often the most cost-effective ways to move freight domestically, though as you probably know, it’s not exactly cheap either. Working with a 3PL trucking service can help, getting you better deals on less-than-truckload services and more. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of working with a Northeast Ohio 3PL instead of managing trucking services in-house is: Third-party logistics providers can help reduce your trucking liability risks.
This is an especially key consideration for many firms, given the risk of commercial truck crashes is on the rise.
As long-time Cleveland 3PL providers, the On Time Delivery & Warehouse team is trained to quickly spot any hint of a supply chain weakness so we can either address it fast or – better yet – avoid it altogether. That keeps our partners from losing profits, customers and investor faith.
A single supply chain weakness has the potential to stymie productivity, spike company costs and hamper a business’s ability to deliver quality.
In recent years, there have been numerous instances wherein a supply chain weakness forced a business to close its doors – temporarily or permanently – or curtailed its ability to offer key products. Worse, those failures made big headlines.
Perhaps the most significant moment in any supply chain is the one in which the goods reach their final destination. Cleveland last-mile delivery services providers know creation of a stellar product isn’t going to mean much if the correct one doesn’t make it – on time and intact – to the customer. On Time Delivery & Warehouse is one of the most trusted names in Cleveland last-mile delivery service precisely because we’ve made this such a top priority. It’s literally part of our corporate identity, and we use the latest technology in order to ensure last mile delivery services in Northeast Ohio that meet or exceed the expectations of your customers.
One of the reasons we’ve been able to serve this need so well amid the constant, frenetic pace of e-commerce growth is that in addition to our expansive networks for shipping, freight, trucking and warehousing, we’re also centrally-located for many supply chains near a Midwest urban center.
A recent report issued by industrial researchers in Chicago noted that while there is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to urban warehousing in logistics, companies are increasingly relying on third-party firms that already have an integrated network of functional last-mile delivery centers, boots-on-the ground services and practical knowledge of issues likely to arise. Our understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within this Northeast Ohio community uniquely positions us as a dedicated 3PL, poised to carve out competitive advantages for our Cleveland last-mile delivery services customers.
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