Cleveland supply chain management
Businesses of all sizes have struggled with supply chain instability the last few years. It’s considered the No. 2 concern, just after finding and retaining qualified, reliable workers. Girding themselves for more supply chain volatility on the horizon, many mid-sized companies are strategically stockpiling inventory, allocating more funds to ensure timely deliveries, and onboarding software that allows for greater transparency. These are smart tactics for Northeast Ohio businesses – and can all be successfully implemented by teaming with a dedicated Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics) warehousing and distribution partner.
According to the recently-released 2022 Business Leaders Outlook Survey, conducted by JPMorgan Chase, the majority of mid-size company leaders appear to be shifting from a small-business mindset to a larger one in an effort to stay competitive in the global economy. To maximize their competitive edge, more than half of respondent companies (with annual revenues ranging between $20 million and $500 million) were adding suppliers from new areas as well as dedicating more capital to higher shipping and delivery costs. One-third were changing materials or manufacturing processes, and some had even stopped working with some suppliers altogether.
More than 80 percent of firms said they had to increase wages in order to recruit and retain workers. This is a particular challenge for companies managing their own warehousing and logistics in-house – further highlighting the benefits of working with an established Cleveland 3PL.
Other top concerns for companies looking ahead this year are difficulties with forecasting, customer demands for lower costs, customer demands for reduced response times, and overall rising expectations for customer service. Well over half of companies queried are actively investing in inventory & network optimization.
As an experienced team of third-party logistics professionals, we recognize that while many businesses stress over supply chain operations, the consumer-driven approach does open the door for innovation opportunities. Running an efficient, cost-effective operation has always been a challenge – and it’s one that Ohio 3PL operators are uniquely equipped to help resolve. Among the top concerns we help clients address with Cleveland 3PL services:
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.
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
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.
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.