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 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

Cleveland transloading

Cleveland Transloading Service Benefits

When it comes to the shipping & logistics, moving goods from one destination to another, Cleveland transloading is a standout service that delivers value and results.

Transloading is a service that involves the transfer of goods from one mode of transportation to another along a designated shipping route. Most often, transloading involves full cargo containers shipped as ocean freight received at a port of entry. The goods are then processed and transferred to a different mode of delivery – usually trucking, rail, or barge – with products often palletized.

Transloading can also involve truck-to-truck and train-to-train exchanges. This is what often gets transloading confused with cross-docking. Cross-docking involves moving an intact pallet (or pallets) from one truck to another. Transloading, meanwhile, involves sorting and re-palletizing items and then transloading them to rail, air, or truck. Cross-docking can reduce or eliminate storage time and often involves quick turnaround times that are ideal for businesses operating on a deadline. Transloading can also deliver cost-savings, flexibility, and faster shipping.

Determining whether Cleveland transloading services are ideal for your situation involves weighing numerous factors. Our dedicated team of Northeast Ohio logistics professionals can help you identify the optimal solution for your operation.

Companies that avail themselves of strategic Cleveland transloading services keep their freight moving efficiently while keeping costs in check.

What Can Cleveland Transloading Do For You?

Transloading has become increasingly popular as e-commerce and international trade becomes the norm. Long-haul shipments often mean numerous shipping companies and transit modes. Transloading can help simplify complicated logistics and save businesses money.

Among the many advantages of transloading:

  • Lower costs. Transloading is a great way to reduce your costs, particularly when you’re importing ocean container goods. Shippers can save big – usually in one of two ways. The first involves moving the contents of three, 40-foot containers into two, 53-foot trailers or domestic containers. You have the ability to select the transport mode through different legs of the journey that is going to be the most cost- and energy-efficient. Secondly, when you transload at the port, you avoid the need to use ocean containers to ship items inland. Steamships put a premium on maritime freight containers, so this is a major cost savings. (Bonus: A shipping container that is returned to more quickly to circulation means faster turnaround time on the next shipment, reducing bottlenecks and allowing for more efficient supply chains overall.)
  • Faster transit times. It’s true that transloading takes a bit of time, usually about 1-3 days. However, by having the flexibility of several different transport mode options, you have the option of identifying the fastest option.
  • More destination options within reach. Because transloading offers the option to choose any combination of freight transportation to best reach a certain end point, your goods can reach just about any destination.
  • Simplified operations. Any bulk or heavy material shipping is going to pose some challenges. Transloading consolidates your shipments, and makes them easier – and cheaper – to transport.
  • Promotes business growth. By allowing companies to hold down costs while reaching new markets and decentralizing your supply chain, transloading offers more opportunities to keep the customers they have – and attract new ones.

If you are considering transloading for your operation, our Cleveland team is prepared to offer detailed answers to your questions and provide a quote.

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

Additional Resources:

Transloading, by Will Kenton & Amanda Jackson, Jan. 31, 2021, Investopedia

More Blog Entries:

Cleveland Warehousing Helps Businesses Optimize Resources, Maximize Profits, July 30, 2022, Northeast Ohio Warehousing & Trucking Blog

Cleveland 3PL

Leveraging Cleveland 3PL Resources to Prep Your Supply Chain for Peak Season

Supply chain instability and challenges – from labor shortages to backlogged ports to pricey spot truck rates – have basically been the status quo ever since the pandemic. Although some aspects may be starting to even out, Cleveland 3PL experts at On Time Delivery & Warehouse recognize that with the height of peak season 2022 on the horizon, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are bracing for these challenges to take on greater significance. Those able to effectively leverage the resources of a Cleveland 3PL trucking, warehouse, and logistics firm will ultimately be the ones that carve out a competitive advantage.

In general, peak season typically occurs annually, starting with the back-to-school shopping season in late summer and rounds out sometime in November, just after Black Friday (with a final holiday rush in late December). However, some suppliers say that with unpredictable surge-and-trickle demands, those clear seasonal trends have been tougher to nail down.

Still, logistics industry insiders are predicting tsunamis of demand in certain sectors, with ripple effects spreading far beyond those directly in the center. That could mean we’re likely to see delivery delays, price increases, and further labor shortages. Northeast Ohio companies seeking to minimize their vulnerability to supply chain challenges would be wise to tap into the resources offered by a dedicated Cleveland 3PL.

Primary Peak Season Challenges

To effectively prepare for the challenges of peak season, you must first identify what that time frame is for you – in your industry, your region, and your organization specifically. That alone can be tricky, particularly given the lack of market predictability in recent years.

This is one area where a Cleveland 3PL can help. You know your business, but we know supply chains. We utilize the latest data software to analyze inventory and the movement of goods critical to your operations. Once we pinpoint trends, weaknesses, and bottlenecks in your supply chain, we help create a strategic end-to-end plan to minimize delays and losses.

Some common issues likely to arise:

  • Fluctuation in peak season length. When you know how long your peak season is going to be, you can better prepare by matching the appropriate level of seasonal labor and delivery costs. Even when it’s difficult to nail down, there may still be precautions we can suggest to help you minimize the consequences.
  • Inaccurate volume forecasting. This has been especially challenging in recent years. A third-party logistics firm can help with accurate data analysis to better identify when spikes and lulls can likely be anticipated – and prepare effective responses if outcomes deviate from earlier predictions.
  • Lack of efficiency in labor management. If you’re trying to manage your own operations while also managing your own supply chain, warehousing, and delivery can be next to impossible for some firms – particularly when you’re under additional demand pressures. Transparency, accurate communication, and proper training are imperatives. Errors and oversights can result in wastefulness and depletion of customer confidence.

Peak season predicaments can sometimes be forecasted, but not always. Working with a competent Cleveland 3PL helps ensure you are better prepared for both the known and the unknown.

Cleveland 3PL Predicts Warehouse Bottlenecks Likely to Be a Problem This Peak Season

Although industries vary on the specific challenges they face during peak season, our Cleveland 3PL is fairly certain as we head into the last quarter of 2022 that warehousing bottlenecks will become nearly everyone’s problem.

Recently, The Wall Street Journal noted that the shipping capacity struggles that were apparent at traffic-snarled seaports has been moving inland the last few months. It’s only likely to be exacerbated. As those of us in the logistics field know, trailers needed to transport goods on trucks are already being tied up – sometimes for weeks on end, even as demand for container ships has waned – because so many warehouses are at capacity. Distribution hubs in the Midwest and throughout the U.S. are seeing lengthy delays.

Recognizing these headaches are likely to drag on well into next year, our Cleveland third-party logistics professionals work closely with clients to arrange the most streamlined, cost-efficient modes and methods of shipping, storage, and delivery. We can help you access the most up-to-date, transparent data to help identify optimal rates, diversify carrier relationships, hone in on flexible warehousing partners, and anticipate reasonable timelines.

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:

Warehouse Bottlenecks Are Snarling U.S. Supply Chains, Aug. 26, 2022, By Paul Berger, The Wall Street Journal

More Blog Entries:

6 Supply Chain Insights From Northeast Ohio Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Pros, Aug. 28, 2022, On Time Delivery & Warehouse 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 Centralized Examination Station

Cleveland Centralized Examination Station Experts Explain Customs Exams, Holds

As the Cleveland Centralized Examination Station (CES), we understand the goals of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in examining cargo imported by land, air, and sea. The foremost purpose is keeping our country secure and citizens safe. However, we also fully understand the anxiety that can accompany word that your cargo has been flagged for a U.S. Customs exam – particularly as such action can result in major delays and expense for stakeholders.

Bear in mind that in addition to its own regulations, the CBP is tasked with enforcing hundreds of laws on behalf of 40+ other federal agencies, including the USDA, the FDA, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Understanding what triggers an examination may help you avoid one. At the very least, you’ll know better how to aid authorities in a manner that helps expedite the process and get your goods moving as soon as possible.

That said, not all circumstances that result in a U.S. Customs exam or manifest hold are within shippers’ control. In fact, shippers might do everything “right” and still find their goods among the 3-5% selected for closer inspection.

Some of the holds that authorities can place on international shipments include:

  • Manifest hold. This occurs when there is a problem with documentation. Usually, it’s the result of missing paperwork, such as a bill of lading. Typically, the U.S. Customs agent is going to request additional or corrected paperwork and then your goods will be on their way.
  • CET Hold (A-TECT). This is a hold imposed by the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team. This is a special branch of the CBP, which imposes holds on shipments suspected of containing potentially unlawful items (drugs, currency, weapons, or other illicit materials).
  • Commercial enforcement hold. This is sort of a blanket hold that is going to cover a range of potential issues – not only from the CBP but other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The overarching goal is to ensure that any goods entering the country are compliant with federal laws and regulations.
  • PGA Hold. Similar to a commercial enforcement hold, a Participating Government Agencies Hold means the shipment in question was flagged for compliance issues, rather than customs issues.
  • Statistical Valuation Hold. This occurs when there is a discrepancy between your shipment and the manifest. For instance, if the weight of your shipments is much higher than might be anticipated given the commodity, the shipment might be flagged for a statistical valuation hold.

If your shipment is flagged, there can be one of three types of customs exams: Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (non-intrusive inspection), a Tail Gate Exam (examiner breaks the seal of your container and reviews some of the contents), or an Intensive Customs Exam.

That last type is where a CES comes in. For this kind of exam, your goods must be transported to a CES, unloaded, held, inspected, and then reloaded before heading to its next destination. The shipper must pay for drayage and detention costs, as well as the labor to load and unload and reload. An Intensive Customs Exam may cause up to 30 days in delays and cost up to a few thousand dollars.

Having an efficient Cleveland Centralized Examination Station can help to speed up the Customs inspection process and reduce the amount of time your goods are tied up.

What, Exactly, is a Cleveland Centralized Examination Station?

A CES is a place where Customs officials can come to physically inspect and examine import and export freight and cargo. These are privately-owned and operated facilities (like On Time Delivery & Warehouse) that allow for physical examination of internationally imported or exported goods.

Ohio trucking services

Seasonal Cycles of Ohio Trucking Are Back, Per Cleveland Trucking Experts

Ohio trucking services have historically adhered to clear seasonal cycles, generally broken down into four quarters.

We all know that trucking – and the transportation industry as a whole – are heavily influenced by supply-and-demand, which set the bar for rates and capacity. Market conditions can vary year-over-year, but there are also consistent seasonal patterns that emerge as well.

But as our Northeast Ohio trucking service providers can explain, the largely predictable ups-and-downs of the trucking and freight industry were thrown completely for a loop during the pandemic. As noted by the International Finance Corporation, land freight was a somewhat less impacted cog in the supply chain wheel (compared to air and ocean freight) if only because roads across the globe largely remained open (except in countries or places under severe lockdown). Trucking capacity ended up being strained, particularly as there was a booming demand for food and medical supplies.

Ohio trucking services

What we’re seeing now is those supply chain imbalances start to ease. The Journal of Commerce reports the market is beginning to realign (though not quite to the level of pre-COVID levels and pricing). What this means is we’re going to start seeing a shift back to seasonal Ohio trucking trends.

Being Prepared for Seasonal Ohio Trucking Trends

An understanding of trucking seasonality is important for stockholders in a broad range of industries because it can be used to forecast capacity, rates, and delivery times.

Those in the trucking and logistics sector typically identify four key seasons in freight:

Quiet Season (January – March). Volume tends to be down during this quarter. Weather across much of the U.S. (including Northeast Ohio) is not ideal for shipping. It may be possible during this quarter to find somewhat reduced shipping rates because demand has slid.

Produce Season (April – July). Ohio trucking volumes start to kick into high gear. The market tightens, demand increases, and finding a truck becomes more challenging. As a result, this season is associated with rate increases.

Peak Season (August-October). The produce season is starting to ease, but shippers are still very busy. They’re prepping for the back-to-school supply demands, as well as ramping up for upcoming holiday demands. Both volumes and rates are going to be at their peak during this period.

Holiday Season (November-December). Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve put a lot of demand on the freight industry – with pressure to get it all wrapped up before the final week of December. Once we get to that final week, demand for trucking freight begins to slow, and continues that lull until the following spring.

Specifically here in the Midwest, we’re going to see the highest trucking volumes between June and September.

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 CFS freight blocking & bracing

Importance of Blocking & Bracing Cleveland CFS Cargo

Blocking & bracing are essential to ensure maximum protection of your Cleveland CFS cargo.

As our logistics professionals can explain, meticulous planning is critical in container loads to ensure equal weight distribution during transit. It’s especially important for damage prevention when moving larger-sized loads.

Properly securing cargo may take a bit of extra effort, but it ultimately saves you time and money, increases safety, protects business relationships, and is required by state and federal laws.

We work to correctly block & brace every portion of loaded freight containers, ensuring your cargo gets where it needs to be – intact, on time, every time.

What is Blocking & Bracing?

Blocking is the means of preventing loads from moving laterally (side-to-side, front-to-back). Bracing, meanwhile, is the means of preventing vertical movement (up-and-down). Failure to brace properly can result in loads jumping over the blocks. And if the blocks aren’t implemented properly, the braces aren’t going to hold.

Visualize your heavy load resting in a container. Some assume that because it’s heavy, it’s unlikely to budge much. This is a miscalculation – a potentially catastrophic one. As our Cleveland CFS cargo experts can explain, once a container is moving, the internal object’s momentum in any direction is going to be proportionate to its weight.

Whatever the mode – whether it’s rail, truck, or ship – proper blocking, bracing, and loading is critical. It’s also important to understand that these techniques differ from load-to-load.

In the case of CFS shipments prepped for intermodal transport (cross-country or international), expect the potential for all kinds of jostling movements, including:

  • Forward surges
  • Front-to-back pitching
  • Side-to-side rolling
  • Up-and-down heaving
  • Irregular motions
  • Vibrations
  • Sudden impacts

When your shipment is properly blocked and braced, it’s going to be protected on every leg of the journey.

Cleveland CFS freight blocking & bracing

Some of the factors impacting how we block and brace:

  • Container size
  • Loading type (cartons, drums, pallets, etc.)
  • Dimensions
  • Number of pallets or units
  • Weights
  • Whether the cargo will be loaded onto pallets or floor-loaded