Almost 95 percent of Fortune 1000 companies are experiencing supply chain interruptions thanks to the spread of the coronavirus, according Fortune Magazine. But our Cleveland 3PL providers know it’s not just companies like Apple and Nike that have been hit. Businesses large and small are seeing their supply chains disrupted by the rippling effects of the outbreak. In fact, those employing companies of less than 100 employees are likely going to suffer the greatest blow.
As recently reported by The Wall Street Journal, firms that rely on Chinese suppliers will obviously be affected, but even those with core operations outside of that country may feel some strain. If the spread of sickness continues, some businesses are going to see delayed goods, unfulfilled orders and unpaid invoices.
Maintaining open communication with both your suppliers and your customers during this time can help safeguard those relationships. This is true no matter what the supply chain challenge. Working with a dedicated 3PL can help lessen the repercussions.
Communication is a core component of any successful supply chain in terms of efficiency, security and transparency. Yet a stunning amount of Cleveland trucking logistics firms lack efficient communication solutions.
Trucking and logistics teams are responsible for moving freight across significant distances, sometimes with multiple stops, while collaborating closely with various shippers, warehouse managers and other stakeholders. Team communication is essential to ensuring deliveries arrive when, how and where customers want them. This is increasingly important because orders and shipping windows are growing smaller. Cleveland trucking logistics companies that aren’t adequately communicating – internally and externally – are risking their bottom line and that of their customers.
Poor communication can result in:
- Wasted time;
- Loss of money;
- Ineffective use of resources;
- Reduced worker morale;
- Missed innovation opportunities;
- Unsatisfied customers;
- Public relations headaches.
It’s easy enough for trucking companies to presume that whatever communication systems they’ve been using for years will continue to work just fine indefinitely. However, as the Cleveland trucking logistics experts at On Time Delivery & Warehouse know, communication inefficiencies can take months or even years to become apparent. That’s why we proactively evaluate our communication systems on a routine basis. We’re committed to making sure that the supply chains for which we are responsible are as transparent and uninterrupted as possible.
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.
Whether on a highway, an ocean freight or a customer’s doorstep, one key advantage of working with a Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics company) is reducing the risk of liability – on several fronts.
How? A dependable Cleveland 3PL streamlines supply chains by reducing bottlenecks, constantly updating intermodal deliveries and preparing for exigencies with solid contingency plans. In taking on these responsibilities, our insurance assumes coverage for some of the risks our clients would otherwise have to burden alone.
That said, shippers/manufacturers are urged to carefully review their own liability insurance plans with a qualified agent to ensure their coverage is sufficient, but not excessive. Cargo insurance (land, marine, general) is not required of shippers, but it’s something for which many opt.
Although we can’t advise you on insurance, here’s what we can say:
At On Time Delivery and Warehouse, our committed Cleveland 3PL team strives daily to always provide the very best logistics services to our clients while also keeping our rates AND terms-of-service, fair, unambiguous and transparent.
A recent analysis by commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE Group, Inc. revealed retail-to-warehouse conversions are soaring, in large part due to the way people shop. Big box stores are becoming less lucrative while e-commerce is booming. As this trend continues, Cleveland 3PL service providers at On Time Delivery & Warehouse urge companies to recognize there is a big difference between companies that solely provide public warehouse space and the extensive services you get with a third-party logistics firm.
The retail-to-warehouse place-trading involves a broad range of projects, including demolition of old malls and remodeling warehouse retail stores into distribution centers. CBRE also found that while demand for warehouse space overshot supply last year by nearly 30 million square feet. Industrial real estate availability fell to its lowest level since 2000, with only 7 percent up for grabs. Retail space, on the other hand, is much more prevalent. However, just because the space is there doesn’t mean it’s primed and move-in ready. Issues have included trouble with rezoning (which requires local government buy-in) and difficulty convincing other stakeholders like co-tenants to go along.
Companies in Cleveland looking to expand or outsource some of their warehousing services must understand that while public warehouse space-only services do offer some benefits, they’re far less than what you get teaming with Cleveland 3PL service providers.
As long-time Cleveland 3PL providers, the On Time Delivery & Warehouse team is trained to quickly spot any hint of a supply chain weakness so we can either address it fast or – better yet – avoid it altogether. That keeps our partners from losing profits, customers and investor faith.
A single supply chain weakness has the potential to stymie productivity, spike company costs and hamper a business’s ability to deliver quality.
In recent years, there have been numerous instances wherein a supply chain weakness forced a business to close its doors – temporarily or permanently – or curtailed its ability to offer key products. Worse, those failures made big headlines.
Sustainability has become a hot topic in Northeast Ohio supply chain management circles, especially as scientific projections on impacts of climate change become increasingly urgent. As long-time Cleveland 3PL providers integral to Midwest supply chains, On Time Delivery & Warehouse managers know there is much evidence to support the assertion that companies committed to greener, more sustainable supply chains help guard against numerous financial, reputational and legal supply chain risks.
A recent HSBC Navigator survey found that of 8,500 business leaders in 34 markets globally, one-third are making sustainability-related changes to their chain of supply in the next three years – specifically prioritizing more environmentally-friendly practices. This is better for the planet obviously, but that’s not the only reason. Our Cleveland 3PL supply chain experts have long known these benefits go both ways. Economic drivers for greener supply chains, according to the HSBC survey, include:
- Greater cost efficiency
- Improved revenues
- Better overall financial performance
Cleveland 3PL supply chain management teams recognize the additional cost for many businesses amid the U.S.-China trade war is potentially crippling, involving $250 billion in Chinese export tariffs and $110 billion on U.S. goods. The Section 301 remedy tariffs have been unrolled in phases this year, and more are scheduled for next year. The Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel have also hurt bottom lines globally.
Hopes are high an accord will soon be reached, but in the meantime, firms and industries reliant on Chinese manufacturing and parts (and there are many) should be mapping their game plans if they haven’t already. The aide of an experienced 3PL supply chain management company can help businesses navigate these challenges and curtail impact.
Whether the tariffs will have the desired economic policy impact remains to be seen, but it’s not impossible that even if this one ends, a new one won’t suddenly crop up. Tariffs are one of those adverse market forces outside our control for which companies need to prepare because of the dizzying blow to American manufacturers and shippers, jobs and consumer prices. As a long-time Cleveland 3PL supply chain management partner, On Time Delivery & Warehouse works to formulate strategic supply chain approaches – tailored to each client – to help minimize distribution and financial woes.
Warehousing bottlenecks are a source of time-consuming and costly delays that ultimately chip away at customer confidence. A once-in-a-while warehouse bottleneck might be manageable, but even an occasional bottleneck can signal larger, non-obvious systemic issues that are hurting your bottom line. If this or constant in-house warehousing bottleneck headaches sound familiar, it’s time to discuss these concerns with an knowledgeable Cleveland 3PL provider.
Outsourcing warehousing services to a third-party logistics firm is sometimes the smartest way to manage complex and/ or fluctuating operations long-term – and avoid warehousing bottlenecks.
No matter what size your business, reducing unnecessary supply chain costs can result in a significant savings – assuming you can accurately identify and efficiently address the weak links.
Anyone who works in Cleveland supply chain management service knows that all for-profit companies are going to incur a “cost to serve.” But is your company’s “cost to serve” reasonable? Can you lower it without risking a major blow to quality or customer satisfaction?
Supply Chain Loopholes Vary by Industry, Service, Location
The answer will depend a lot on the type of product or service you provide. For example, let’s say your Cleveland supply chain involves the packaging and delivery of building products to construction sites. Not only are you managing a complex schedule thanks to the heavy equipment and various contractors involved – your deliveries MUST be precise and on time. Certain materials like mixed cement can be totally wasted if there aren’t workers on site. If elements like weather are consistently a problem in one region, you may need to consider whether you can re-route around that area altogether. If you are in the grocery or restaurant industry, it will be critical that your deliverables be properly packaged, sometimes limited to one product-per-pallet and that delivery dates and times are accurate to the minute – otherwise the shipment could be unusable.
Understanding not just your industry but also your customer base is priority No. 1. You need to be able to serve their needs, but also make sure the cost of doing so is still sensible. One analysis in the International Journal of Production Economics found in supply chain cost reviews by 30 companies in 10 different industries, most were falling short when it came to the estimated standard supply chain cost compared to actual cost.
One of the best ways to cut your Cleveland supply chain costs is to work with a dedicated third-party logistics partner. On Time Delivery & Warehouse 3PL providers can help you better pinpoint what exactly in your chain of supply is causing you the biggest headaches and cost bleed-out. Despite wide variances between industries and companies, there are a few supply chain our third-party logistics professionals have seen consistently cause problems. If any of these issues sound familiar (or you’re having trouble identifying exactly which supply chain loophole is costing you most or what to do about it), a third-party supply chain management team can be an invaluable resource.