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
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.
Supply chain optimization is all about getting customers what they want, when they want it and spending the least of money possible to do so. However, if your inventory is inaccurate, there will come a time that a warehouse worker will go to pick a SKU for an order, and it won’t be there – or there won’t be enough. Working with a dedicated Cleveland 3PL helps ensure that you aren’t losing time and money to avoidable inventory inaccuracies.
Third party logistics providers (3PLs) like On Time Delivery & Warehouse continually evolve their service offerings, not only to set ourselves apart in the marketplace, but also to meet increasingly rigorous customer demands. 3PL operator customers trust us to manage numerous functions, including warehousing, trucking and overall supply chain optimization and management.
As noted by research published in the International Journal of Recent Research in Commerce Economics and Management, outsourcing inventory management allows a company to:
- Maintain their focus on core competencies.
- Broaden competitive advantages.
- Enhance differentiation in the marketplace.
- Avoid outlying, resource-intensive tasks.
- Reduce logistics and carrying costs.
Working with a Cleveland 3PL provider that can capably manage inventory means entrusting the company’s most valuable assets to a third party. But this also assures peace of mind. They likely recognize that poor inventory management is the root of many operational problems, missed sales, lost time to perform reconciliation and shrinkage. That means it must be given high priority. Doing so, however, is a significant challenge, particularly when the company is responsible for maintaining numerous items of inventory for multiple clients in the same place. A third-party logistics provider already has the resources and experience with best practices.
Some of the factors that result in inventory inaccuracy include:
- Poor store records or documentation.
- Manual documentation and records posting, leading to long processing times and increased odds of misplacing figures or making a recording mistake.
- Keeping inventory in the wrong place.
- Errors in inventory transaction.
- Physical inventory is either stolen, damaged, expired or spoiled.
As a long-time 3PL firm and provider of Cleveland last-mile delivery services, we understand the important role logistics plays in getting products where they need to go – intact and on time. When logistics aren’t effectively coordinated, communication and visibility suffer and bottlenecks and delays become inevitable. This was illustrated recently in early efforts to distribute newly-available COVID-19 vaccines.
We should start by saying this was never going to be a perfect process because of the scale, limited supply, outsized demand and sheer number of stakeholders. But it was largely presumed the rollout wouldn’t be overly-taxing on U.S. transportation capacity. So why the many roadblocks? And what can businesses learn from it?
It’s possible supply chain inefficiencies in some states could be partially addressed with expanded trucking capacity. But complex storage, handling and administration requirements were an undeniable part of the equation. Beyond that though, it does seem the trouble broadly has been less in getting available vaccines from manufacturers to the states and more with logistical struggles in facilitating last-mile deliveries.
This is unsurprising because, as any 3PL service provider knows, last-mile deliveries are often the trickiest. This is true whether we’re talking about airplane parts or toilet paper or medicine. It didn’t help that this was essentially a massive, brand new supply chain with untested routes and logistics coordination.
The takeaway for businesses is that no matter what your industry, it’s imperative that your Cleveland last-mile delivery 3PL service be one with extensive experience, established routes, top-tier technology and trusted supply chain partners.
In facilitating efficient management of your supply chain, choosing a transportation and logistics partner with right combination of services that fit your company needs is essential. Unfortunately, industry jargon breeds confusion. For example, 3PL (third-party logistics) and freight brokering are often spoken of as if interchangeable. They aren’t.
As our Cleveland 3PL experts can explain, there are some similarities, but also a few key differences. When you’re in the market for a logistics partner, those differences matter.
At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we want clients to have the information and tools necessary to determine the best solutions for their operations.
What primarily sets 3PL services and freight brokers apart (as well as freight forwarders and motor carriers) is the range of services they provide (including whether they are asset or non-asset services) and the type of primary insurance coverage they carry. Much of this is spelled out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the regulator responsible for ensuring safety and legal compliance of over the road transportation.
Some think of logistics and supply chain management as simply moving goods from one place to the next. In reality, it’s a complex and dynamic trillion-dollar industry, with outsourcing proven to be mission-critical for companies edging out competition.
Reliable supply chain management partners know it’s always been a challenging field, though it’s true lately many of us are facing down some tough realities. Those include higher rates, capacity shortages and now a pending trade war and import/ export uncertainties. This tightening of the market (especially in ground transportation) means those of us on the front lines need to be innovative now more than ever – while also holding true to the best practices and relationships that allowed us to ride out past tumult.
If you depend on Cleveland supply chain management, you may be interested in these surprising statistics offering insight into the industry – and where it’s headed.
In our increasingly global economy, intermodal shipping and effective supply chain management is essential. Staying ahead of competitive pressures and keeping pace with growing customer demand has meant businesses of all sizes are discovering greater opportunities by going global.
When you want to optimize profits, sourcing from regions with the lowest costs for procurement, assembly and manufacturing makes sense. So too does commercializing your products in areas with high demand.
However, it’s not without risk. Global supply chains with intermodal shipping (some combination of air, sea, truck and rail) are inherently more complex. Anytime there is the flow of goods, services, information and payments across international boundaries, business leaders must be sure there is skilled coordination of these efforts. This is where a Cleveland intermodal shipping and 3PL service like On Time Delivery & Warehouse proves especially beneficial.
Managing the global supply chain in-house is too often more trouble than it’s worth, even under ideal conditions. Throw in a natural disaster, political unrest or fluctuating oil prices, and companies quickly become overwhelmed scrambling for alternatives. Contracting with an experienced 3PL that has a comprehensive risk management strategy already mapped helps largely alleviate your headaches.
Freight shipping (aka freight transport) is the physical process by which we move goods and cargo through the sea, land and air. Like so many other industries in recent years, freight shipping has been forced to evolve to meet ever-increasing consumer expectations, thanks in part to the so-called “Amazon effect.”
The Amazon effect is named for the multi-billion dollar online retailer that sells everything from podcast equipment to pools – usually delivering in a matter of a couple days or even hours.
Our Cleveland freight shipping experts know that once-upon-a-time (not so very long ago), companies used to capture customers on their own terms. Now, the Amazon effect means customers expect to be addressed on their terms – and on their timelines. It’s not quite as fast as a fairy godmother, but it’s often pretty close.
That means freight shippers must keep up – and we’re committed to doing just that. Freight shipping and 3PL providers that used to launch strategic planning initiatives every three years now need to make sure improvements are constant. On Time Delivery & Warehouse is dedicated to guaranteeing our Cleveland freight shipping services and supply chain operations are agile and responsive and employ the best people and technology available – all while making safety a top priority.
E-commerce is a rapidly-advancing supply chain frontier, driving demand for well-placed public warehousing in Northeast Ohio. But simply providing empty space isn’t enough for many businesses. Effective third-party logistics (3PL) involves a trifecta of quality warehousing, shipping and fulfillment – and it all must be done from a strategically advantageous location.
3PL warehousing and distribution itself isn’t new. It’s a cornerstone business strategy that can streamline the flow of goods through the supply chain by helping you control costs, limit over-stocked inventory and arrange timely transportation. Whether you’re a small start-up company staking a presence or a large firm intent on seizing ripe opportunity in a new area, 3PL warehousing at On Time Delivery & Warehouse offers desirable options for smart scaling of your operations in Cleveland and beyond.
Our 3PL warehousing experts recognize the complexity of fluctuating logistics and will work to help you tailor a public warehousing and distribution plan that fits. Although many companies initially seek public warehousing as a short-term solution, these arrangements often turn into long-term relationships for On Time Delivery & Warehouse. Businesses find our 3PL warehousing and distribution services are not only convenient but key to their ongoing competitive edge.
The market for third-party logistics (3PL, or sometimes TPL) in Cleveland and globally is on an upswing, according to recent analysis by researchers at TechNavio.
For those unfamiliar, third-party logistics and supply chain management is when companies use third-party businesses, like On Time Delivery & Warehouse, to outsource elements of distribution and fulfillment services. A wide range of industries benefit from having a third party involved in the logistics process, which helps reduce cycle times and inventories, lower cost and bolster customer service.
The more companies discovering the profitability of hiring a 3PL, the faster the industry and demand grows. Ohio is considered a prime route for 3PL because of its central Midwest location and easy highway access.
At On Time Delivery & Warehouse (OTDW), our Cleveland 3PL is at the forefront of this growth trend, offering business-to-business operations a reliable means to meet rising consumer demand. We’re not just any Cleveland trucking company or warehouse provider. We pride ourselves on fast, efficient distribution and transloading freight operations. Clients trust us to quickly and carefully load, unload, store and ship their materials and ensure customers receive them punctually and in excellent condition.