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.
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
If you’re among the millions of Americans who have recently launched a new business this year, let us be among the first to congratulate you! U.S. Census data indicates that the surge of new enterprises contains a significant number of manufacturing and retail companies. All startups (but those in these areas in particular) should look closely at the benefits of partnering with a trusted Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics) company. A 3PL can assist with optimizing inventory management, warehousing, scalability, simplification, shipments, transparency, customer satisfaction reviews, and cost savings.
Outsourcing shipping, warehousing, and order fulfillment with a third-party logistics firm is something burgeoning business owners sometimes overlook in the early phases, primarily because many are cash-strapped and looking for any and all opportunities to save capital. However, smart entrepreneurs recognize that certain expenses are well worth the investment. Many new (and veteran) Northeast Ohio business owners see substantial benefits working with a trusted Cleveland 3PL, often right out of the gate. In fact, some operators find they can’t effectively compete in the market without one.
What Does a Cleveland 3PL Partner Do, Exactly?
Third-party logistics companies manage your supply chain operations, including warehousing and shipping. In short, our job is ensuring your products make it to your business partners/customers – intact, on time, every time.
We help facilitate the receiving, picking, warehousing, packing, and shipping. On Time Delivery & Warehouse goes above and beyond the typical storage space operation to provide:
- Heated warehousing.
- FDA registered warehousing.
- Container Freight Station (CFS).
- Centralized Examination Station (CMS).
- Import/export freight handlers.
- Product coding & packing.
- Daily, weekly, monthly, and annual storage rates.
- Bill of lading preparation.
- UPS Standard daily.
- On-site security.
- Domestic freight handlers.
- Hazmat certification.
- Hot shot services.
- Liftgate deliveries.
- Same-day & next-day delivery services.
If we don’t offer the exact services you’re seeking, we’ll point you to another trusted local provider who can.
Why Logistics Are an Important Consideration for Brand New Businesses
Very few startups have experience in logistics. This is problematic because it can impact how quickly the right goods get to the correct destination, unblemished and exactly when they’re supposed to.
Our goal as 3PL providers is to ensure your supply chain is working for you and your customers from Day 1.
The modern supply chain is capable of impressive feats, delivering goods and materials from across the globe to businesses, suppliers, and customers in days or sometimes even hours. Of course, there are always vulnerabilities. If the last 1.5 years has taught us anything, it’s that even the most tightly-managed supply chains aren’t invincible. Industry analysts now opine that global supply chains are poised for ongoing, high volatility on several fronts. Those partnering with a Cleveland 3PL will find they’re far better prepared to successfully steer through these challenges.
You may recall that during the pandemic, supply chain snags meant certain goods and products were unavailable for days, weeks, and even months. High-demand items were suddenly in short supply, creating logistical calamities that have, in some cases, persisted to this day.
These problems haven’t been limited to a single industry or product, which is why we’ve seen overall hikes in logistics costs. Compounding matters are the record numbers of ships delayed at ports, a highly constrained warehousing space market, and soaring fuel costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of fuel was up more than 35 percent this summer year-over-year. In some areas, load-to-truck costs are up more than 70 percent.
As longtime Cleveland 3PL providers in warehousing and shipping, we’re familiar with the many ups and downs (and sideways spins) a supply chain can take. Given that there is a good chance we won’t see a pre-pandemic normal of supply chains anytime soon, businesses need to brace themselves for disruptions and higher costs. Those that are working with a dedicated third-party logistics firm will have a leg-up on the competition.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL or just TL) are the most common types of freight shipping in most industry supply chains. Unfortunately, Ohio LTL freight shipping prices have risen substantially in recent years.
At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we pride ourselves on pricing transparency and strive always to provide the most competitive LTL shipping costs in the region. Understanding why costs are higher these days is important to formulating a workable strategy to keep those expenses manageable while still ensuring your shipments are getting where they need to be – intact, on time, every time.
What is Ohio LTL Freight Shipping?
Approximately 54 million tons of freight are moved on trucks daily in this country, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. A considerable share of this is hauled on LTL loads.
Anytime your shipment takes up an entire truck (typically somewhere around 42,500 lbs. or 24 pallets), it’s called a full truckload. When the weight or size of your shipment is less than that, you have the option of shipping items via less-than-truckload. LTL is sort of like a rideshare service with multiple passengers, but for freight.
On a per-mile, per-unit basis, Ohio LTL freight is often more costly. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t the most cost-efficient option for the specific needs of your business.
Some benefits of LTL shipping include:
- Tracking and tracing. Transparency and visibility of shipments is important to our clients as well as their customers. Knowing transit times, the location of shipments, estimated delivery times and more can be invaluable.
- Service options. These can include pick up and delivery, liftgate service, import/export freight handlers, hotshot deliveries and more.
- Earth-friendly. Shipping via LTL allows carriers to use all the room on the truck, meaning each shipment is efficient and eco-friendly.
These should be factored when considering whether LTL makes the most financial sense for your firm.
Winter weather can make even the most trivial tasks exponentially more difficult. As recent events have proven, this is especially true when power lines (or entire power grids) are down, rail services have ground to a halt, natural gas is in short supply, hundreds of flights are canceled and icy roads are exceedingly perilous. All of this will have a snowball effect on your supply chain. While there’s no way to control the weather, working with a Cleveland 3PL can help you better insulate your supply chain for the inevitable moments when you won’t have control.
As in sports, the best defense is a good offense when it comes to supply chains. Ideally, you will have planned and prepared for supply chain setbacks. As a longtime Cleveland 3PL, we have trucking, warehousing and shipping partners all over the country, allowing you to navigate more nimbly through some of the most serious seasonal swings and challenges.
In third-party logistics, our success depends on your success. We’ll only recommend actions that are in your best interest. Some of the top ways you may benefit from a 3PL partnership in advance of a weather crisis:
Simply put, a supply chain is a network between a business and its suppliers to produce, process, store and distribute goods. A supply chain involves people, technology, information, activities, resources and organizations. It incorporates every step necessary to get that product to its final destination. To meet consumer expectations, your supply chain needs to be efficient and error-free. Currently, one of the biggest challenges is the increasing complexity of supply chains. Working with a 3PL (third-party logistics provider) like On Time Delivery & Warehouse can help you overcome supply chain complexities to ensure your items are moved quickly, safely and seamlessly.
Complexities in modern supply chains are largely attributed to a continually growing number of products, customers, channels and geographies. Research by Gartner found that supply chain complexity is a top concern of CEOs, with more than 60 percent of supply chain leaders reporting it poses one of the highest risks to business continuity.
The term “driver detention” in trucking refers to occasions when a trucker’s fastest route is delayed at the location of either pickup origin or delivery destination – costing the driver and other stakeholders time and money and posing possible safety risks on the road. Our Cleveland trucking service providers are familiar with the old adage, “If the wheels aren’t turning, truckers aren’t earning,” and work to address these issues to improve efficiency and capacity and keep costs in check.
Loading dock times longer than a two hours is considered a substantial delay, and it’s become a common issue weighing heavily on the trucking industry the last several years.
reported that, on average, only 6.5 of the total 11 hours of drive time available under federal Hours of Service rules are spent actually driving. Much of the rest spent waiting to load and unload.
Working with a Cleveland trucking service with warehousing and logistics capabilities can help to identify which issues and individual suppliers/receivers pose the most driver detention risk and work to reduce those risks.
Truck driver benefits and wages are ballooning across the U.S., even as freight-hauling capacity has diminished in the face of ever-higher demand. In turn, small businesses (especially retailers and distributors) are saddled with soaring shipping charges, an expense that’s proven crippling for some. Truckers deserve good wages for the vital job they do. But businesses hoping to stay afloat would be best-served with a Cleveland 3PL partnership to help keep costs in check.
The American Trucking Associations group, representing owners of fleets, reports annual trucker salaries climbed 15-to-18 percent in the last four years, with the exact rise varying based on the nature of fleets and routes. Overall, private fleet driver salaries topped $86,000 last year – a $13,000 increase from just four years prior. A truckload driver on irregular national route (basically an entry-level post) can now expect to pull in about $53,000 – up from $46,000 just a few years ago. This trend is not braking anytime soon, The Wall Street Journal reports, because the demand for trucking is higher than ever and companies are increasingly counting on freights with full truckload and less-than-truckload capacity to ensure consumer expectations are met.
One silver lining for our clients is trucker turnover is down, meaning those on the road are increasingly more experienced – and that’s a very good thing in terms of reducing roadway liability.
Some elements of this higher-cost transportation landscape simply can’t be avoided. Even with higher pay drawing in more drivers, there are still only so many truck drivers, so many trucks and so much space. As a trusted Cleveland 3PL, On Time Delivery and Warehouse leaders work to help minimize this impact for our customers. To augment reliability and consistently meet demands of this new standard “get-it-there-sooner” market, we must offer competitive truck driver compensation. We must supply them with the best equipment, as well as advanced transportation management software to ensure efficiency. But we also work to help clients sift through an expanse of carrier options to pinpoint the best choice. We identify and bridge supply chain gaps that bleed businesses of time and money. We offer transparency so clients can track their goods at every leg of the journey.