Cleveland warehousing and trucking

Federal Shipping Reform Impact to Cleveland Warehousing, Trucking

A new law promises sweeping changes to the ocean shipping industry following more than two years of port delays, congestion, and growing consumer costs. The bipartisan act has several goals. These include:

  • Promotion of U.S. shipping exports.
  • Limiting ocean carrier market power (thereby reducing shipping costs, which have risen dramatically this past year).
  • Improving supply chain efficiency overall.

As our Cleveland warehousing and trucking professionals can explain, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act is the most significant overhaul of shipping regulations in nearly 25 years. The precise impact it will have on Northeast Ohio supply chains isn’t crystal clear, but there is almost certain to be a ripple effect.

Many shipping companies have lauded the measure as a substantial step in the direction of addressing the growing list of shipping disruptions in recent years, including not only astronomical fees, but a lack of containers fit for agricultural exports.

Cleveland warehousing and trucking supply chain third-party logistics

However, much of the law’s effectiveness is going to come down to the Federal Maritime Commission, which has the authority to regulate the shipping industry, but with limiting funding, has always been slow to do so. The law does empower the agency with more enforcement power to investigate and penalize unfair practices. However, even the head of the FMC acknowledged to Supply Chain Dive that the law is “no silver bullet” and there may only be so much the feds can do to check shipping port congestion and soaring costs driven by supply and demand.

Supply Chain Delays, Congestion Drive Up Costs

Virtually all supply chains are subject to some degree of volatility, to varying extents. That’s why our 3PL Cleveland warehousing and trucking team is prepared at all times to forecast sudden shifts and changes and quickly adapt.

But federal legislators have been under intense pressure to do something as global supply chains have been disrupted and erratic ever since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago. Unpredictable schedules have thrown off regular business operations, resulting in higher prices for transportation, even amid big delays.

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:

Cleveland 3PL warehousing

Cleveland 3PL Warehousing Must Evolve With Shifts in Customer Demand

Top-performing businesses have always felt big pressure to earn and maintain superior customer satisfaction. These days, however, they’re faced with the herculean task of doing so while grappling with the aftermath of a global pandemic, long-standing labor shortages, and a seemingly unrelenting stream of supply chain disruptions. The good news is: These challenges too shall pass – eventually. However, some recent changes are part of bigger movements that are likely here to stay. Primarily, these include booming e-commerce sales, high demand for direct-to-consumer deliveries, and robust enforcement of warehouse worker rights. One way to gain an edge on the competition is by working with a dedicated Cleveland 3PL warehousing & distribution company – particularly one with a rock solid reputation and the flexibility to shift amid changing times and customer demands.

Recently, the Logistics Managers Index (which measures U.S. supply chain pressures) rose to a record-high. This reflects not only soaring inflation costs impacting inventory and logistics, but also the waning amount of available warehousing space. Bloomberg reports inventory stockpiles many companies purchased during the pandemic may be contributing. Companies are now holding excess inventory at premium rates, something likely to continue for at least another year. Consumer hesitance driven by inflation appears to be further exacerbating the issue. On the flip side, given the global supply chain tumult of late, many manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers have seen the value of having at least some inventory stockpiled so they aren’t caught short.

In any case, one thing is clear: Whereas warehousing was once considered an afterthought for most companies, it’s now recognized as a critical element in the go-to-market strategy for most firms.

“It’s sort of like the shift we saw with the information technology sector in the early aughts,” explained On Time Delivery & Warehouse CEO Anthony Figliano. “What was once basically a background function quickly became a pivotal part of intraorganizational planning – and for good reason. Today, it’s the warehousing and distribution functions that are increasingly acknowledged as mission critical.

“But of course, that’s been at the core of our wheelhouse from the start, so we’ve always recognized its inherent value. As 3PL partners, we’re as committed as ever to continuing to meet fluctuating demands with both top speed and accuracy.”

Ohio warehouse & logistics

Ohio Warehouse & Logistics Labor Oversight to Increase

The safety and well-being of our valued Ohio warehouse & logistics workers have always been an imperative at On Time Delivery & Warehouse.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that given the heightened demands being placed on warehousing and logistics employees, it would be launching a new initiative to vigorously enforce these workers’ wage and hour rights and safety protections.

“The increased demand and constraints on the global supply chain have combined to place enormous strain on the nation’s warehouse and logistics industries,” the DOL said in a news release.

Regulators are ramping up federal enforcement to ensure employees are safe from harassment, paid their legally-owed wages, and are afforded proper family and medical leave in accordance with applicable employment laws. They’ll also be watching for potential misclassification of employees as independent contractors, a practice that tends to result in underpaid wages and benefits, as well as an unfair competitive advantage for companies in the free market.

Of course, the agency has had its eye on the industry for some time now. But the pandemic underscored the critical economic function of warehouse workers, truckers, delivery drivers, and other Ohio warehouse & logistics professionals. Ongoing supply chain exigencies have left more than few logistics firms scrambling to keep pace. Still, the DOL doesn’t see that as an excuse to make concessions on worker pay and safety measures. The recent announcement involves news that the agency is hiring more than 100 new wage and hour investigators – with more likely on the way.

Our Ohio Warehouse & Logistics Team is Committed to Worker Safety and Customer Satisfaction

We recognize that Northeast Ohio warehouse & logistics costs and challenges have risen in recent months, but investment in dedicated employees and their well-being is a core tenet on which our team has never compromised. We’ve had this commitment dialed in for decades, so the DOL’s announcement has no real impact on our day-to-day activities.

Meanwhile, companies that are just launching and/or struggling may want to reconsider any internal warehousing and logistics operations – especially knowing that there will be additional federal oversight and zero room to cut corners without significant penalties.

Ohio dedicated fleet service

Is an Ohio Dedicated Fleet Service Right for Your Business?

In any business decision, a cost-benefit analysis is critical. One of those decisions for many companies involves private vs. outsourced fleet operation. Getting your goods from where they are to where they need to be is a time-consuming and often complicated task. Hiring drivers and managing routes, payroll, vehicle maintenance, safety compliance, insurance, taxes – the demands can very quickly start encroaching on your primary business operations. If that’s the situation you’re facing, an Ohio dedicated fleet service might be your best transportation solution.

To be fair, having your own private fleet has some advantages, mainly full control. But that means the cost, liability and responsibility is all on the shoulders of your firm too. For many businesses, that’s too significant a burden. As a long-time third-party logistics firm, we offer Ohio dedicated fleet service to companies of all sizes.

A dedicated service gives customers optimized transportation that can be tailored to their organizational structures. A group of drivers, tractors, trailers and other resources are assigned exclusively to their business operations, facilities or lanes in a transport network. It runs much like a private fleet, but the management and maintenance are outsourced.

Among the potential advantages many On Time Delivery & Warehouse customers glean from dedicated transportation services:

  • Improved on-time delivery performance
  • Guaranteed capacity (whether you need just-in-time delivery or hot-shot service, dedicated services can assure the fleet is always available)
  • Supply chain control
  • Reduced freight transportation costs
  • Operation visibility and transparency
Cleveland trucking services

Cleveland Trucking Services Explained: Full Truckload vs. Less-Than-Truckload

If you’re shipping freight in or through Ohio, you have several shipping options from which to choose. Each has its own benefits, but much depends on your unique business objectives, dimensions, type of freight and other factors. Our Cleveland trucking services professionals can help you determine the best choice for your company. You may opt for different modes depending on the season or for different products or destinations.

The two primary modes we’re spotlighting here are those most frequently confused: full truckload (FTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL). Learning the difference between the two will help you choose the one that is right for your needs.

Ohio warehousing

Top 5 Ohio Warehousing Impacts of E-Commerce

Storage demand fluctuations are nothing new to the Ohio warehousing industry, though this year has certainly tested the limits. Demand for nonessential goods and same-day deliveries swung wildly throughout 2020, in part reflecting a sharp rise in e-commerce, something Northeast Ohio warehousing operations felt acutely.

Our hats are off to our various supply chain partners and warehouse workers who quickly adapted to the strict requirements and regulations of numerous new industry priorities driven by consumer needs. With distribution bottlenecked at several points during various times, our warehouse employees adroitly rose to the challenge, – particularly when it came to compressed sales cycles  of goods that had to be swiftly and carefully offloaded from ports and trucks and properly consolidated, sorted, packaged, stored and transloaded.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports e-commerce activity spiked dramatically in the second quarter of this year as many consumers shifted their shopping practices away from physical stores and over to digital platforms. Demand for dipped, while the home improvement and technology sectors boomed. U.S. retail e-commerce increased 44.5 percent year-over-year, ultimately resulting in 2.4 million additional square feet of warehousing space, many of those dedicated to business-to-business (B2B) operations.

Cleveland Customs bonded carrier

Benefits of a Cleveland Customs Bonded Carrier Partner

Recently, officials announced that U.S. land borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed for non-essential travel through at least the last week of December amid COVID-19 surges in all three countries. Although the borders have been closed since March, trucks will continue to be allowed to freely crossing borders as essential goods movement is exempt from these restrictions, and Freight Waves reports these haven’t directly impacted cross-border freight volumes, which have recovered since the pandemic-related lows. Still, at a time when customs and border agents are being extra cautious, businesses that depend on transportation of goods across international borders benefit markedly from working with a customs bonded carrier and warehouse provider.

In-bond loads or “bonded shipments” are those that are transported through or stored in the U.S., but aren’t intended to be commercialized here. For that reason, they don’t need to clear customs at the border or pay duties, taxes or customs costs they normally would during the import process. However, you need a bonded carrier to help you move these goods. If they need to be stored en route, you must also work with a customs bonded warehouse.

An example of a bonded shipment would be an LTL shipment that leaves Canada and is transported by land to be received in Mexico – or visa versa. Customs bonded transportation and warehousing services are specially licensed to receive, hold, repackage and transport these goods. 

Cleveland warehouse management

Good Warehouse Management Key to Improved Product Flow

Inbound and outbound logistics are among the most complicated functions of running any business. Effective warehouse management is essential to these processes. Get it wrong, and you’ll be stuck with low staff morale, poor customer satisfaction and dwindling profit margins. Get it right, and you set your business up for success with reduced losses and delays and improved product flow.

At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we understand that the best warehouse management and distribution practices include more than just moving and tracking goods. Communication, transparency, honesty, responsiveness and the willingness to always go the extra mile are also imperative. As a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, we wear many hats in order to offer our customers an all-in-one solution.

Cleveland cross docking

Cleveland Cross Docking: What It Is & Why You Might Need It

Cleveland cross docking services can save time and warehouse space, improve customer satisfaction and decrease the risk of damage to products. However, it can also require significant capital and a lot of patience – unless you work with a third-party logistics company that already has these streamlined systems firmly in place.

What is Cross Docking?

Cross docking is a type of logistics strategy that involves a carrier unloading cargo from an incoming container and then immediately loading it onto an outbound carrier. It requires some complicated mathematics and organization of people, goods and trucks, but the end result is it cuts down on the need for warehousing, which in turn lowers your expenses and helps keep your supply chain moving.

Warehouse facilities like those at On Time Delivery & Warehouse offer Cleveland cross docking because we recognize the great value our customers retain from it.