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:
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.
Same-day delivery and next-day delivery are part of our Cleveland 3PL wheelhouse. These services keep customers happy, but they have become especially important in the midst of a dramatic shift toward e-commerce this year.
As TechCrunch recently reported, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift away from physical stores and pushed the e-commerce ahead by a full five years. This change has been on the horizon for years, but e-commerce is projected to grow by a stunning 20 percent in 2020.
This latest report, IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, reveals what our Cleveland 3PL has been preaching for years: Retailers, manufacturers and business-to-business operators are going to need to pivot more quickly multiple outlet fulfillment capabilities if they want to stay competitive. This means prioritizing same-day delivery and next-day delivery services.
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.
One of the best ways to boost supply chain efficiency – and reduce your costs – is to optimize your warehousing options. On Time Delivery & Warehouse offers Cleveland 3PL warehousing services that are optimized, streamlined and tailored to meet your needs.
Warehouse optimization is a process by which we use the time, space and resources in our warehouse as efficiently as possible through careful planning, automation and improvements in customer experience and satisfaction.
We recognize that the drive for low-cost sourcing, outsourcing, customization and globalization can result in substantial complexities in a supply chain. Companies cannot afford to gloss over warehousing optimization – especially when a single mistake or delay could impact your business’s reputation and revenue stream.
E-commerce has completely upended virtually every supply chain, not only with respect to how customers find what they want but also how those goods make it to customers. Warehousing and fulfillment has largely become decentralized to meet last-mile delivery needs. Cost effective, timely solutions are in demand. Our Cleveland 3PL warehousing team delivers.
As Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics) providers, we understand that what’s good for the environment is also good for overall supply chain sustainability. Partnering with a dedicated 3PL provider in itself can help companies make the most of transportation and warehouse capacity while also reducing adverse environmental impacts. That’s because we can streamline processes and resource usage.
Although eco-friendly practices sometimes have a reputation for being pricier and more time-consuming (at least in the short term), the reality is that more sustainable strategies in packaging, warehousing and transportation often have the added benefit of lowering your costs and time investment. Some of the economic goals that improve environmental outcomes include reducing the aggregate distance traveled by each unit, eliminating the unnecessary use of resources, moving inventory faster and being as responsive as possible to customer demand.
The logistics sector in general has long been on the cutting edge of green innovation because economy and efficiency go hand-in-hand with minimizing waste. Companies that nurture a sense of sustainability can often find a great deal of common ground between greater social responsibility and lowered expenses.
Warehousing has proven more critical than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, with teams like ours responsible for delivering essential goods to healthcare facilities, businesses and individuals. While many other businesses are closed or have the bulk of their employees working from home, warehouses like ours have gone into overdrive. Keeping the supply chain moving is important, but it’s also imperative that we keep our Cleveland warehousing workers safe.
On Time Delivery & Warehouse has taken numerous measures to assure our warehouse facility personnel can do their jobs safely and that we’ve minimized the risk of infection. We’ve adopted a range of actions from implementing strict social distancing guidelines to taking worker temperatures to ensuring our facilities are frequently cleaned and sanitized. Meal breaks and shifts may be staggered. Meetings are held over the phone or via video conferencing where possible.
Keeping our valued warehouse workers healthy our top priority, and it also helps protect our customers and ensures we can meet their dynamic and rising needs.
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.