Top-performing businesses have always felt big pressure to earn and maintain superior customer satisfaction. These days, however, they’re faced with the herculean task of doing so while grappling with the aftermath of a global pandemic, long-standing labor shortages, and a seemingly unrelenting stream of supply chain disruptions. The good news is: These challenges too shall pass – eventually. However, some recent changes are part of bigger movements that are likely here to stay. Primarily, these include booming e-commerce sales, high demand for direct-to-consumer deliveries, and robust enforcement of warehouse worker rights. One way to gain an edge on the competition is by working with a dedicated Cleveland 3PL warehousing & distribution company – particularly one with a rock solid reputation and the flexibility to shift amid changing times and customer demands.
Recently, the Logistics Managers Index (which measures U.S. supply chain pressures) rose to a record-high. This reflects not only soaring inflation costs impacting inventory and logistics, but also the waning amount of available warehousing space. Bloomberg reports inventory stockpiles many companies purchased during the pandemic may be contributing. Companies are now holding excess inventory at premium rates, something likely to continue for at least another year. Consumer hesitance driven by inflation appears to be further exacerbating the issue. On the flip side, given the global supply chain tumult of late, many manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers have seen the value of having at least some inventory stockpiled so they aren’t caught short.
In any case, one thing is clear: Whereas warehousing was once considered an afterthought for most companies, it’s now recognized as a critical element in the go-to-market strategy for most firms.
“It’s sort of like the shift we saw with the information technology sector in the early aughts,” explained On Time Delivery & Warehouse CEO Anthony Figliano. “What was once basically a background function quickly became a pivotal part of intraorganizational planning – and for good reason. Today, it’s the warehousing and distribution functions that are increasingly acknowledged as mission critical.
“But of course, that’s been at the core of our wheelhouse from the start, so we’ve always recognized its inherent value. As 3PL partners, we’re as committed as ever to continuing to meet fluctuating demands with both top speed and accuracy.”
The safety and well-being of our valued Ohio warehouse & logistics workers have always been an imperative at On Time Delivery & Warehouse.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that given the heightened demands being placed on warehousing and logistics employees, it would be launching a new initiative to vigorously enforce these workers’ wage and hour rights and safety protections.
“The increased demand and constraints on the global supply chain have combined to place enormous strain on the nation’s warehouse and logistics industries,” the DOL said in a news release.
Regulators are ramping up federal enforcement to ensure employees are safe from harassment, paid their legally-owed wages, and are afforded proper family and medical leave in accordance with applicable employment laws. They’ll also be watching for potential misclassification of employees as independent contractors, a practice that tends to result in underpaid wages and benefits, as well as an unfair competitive advantage for companies in the free market.
Of course, the agency has had its eye on the industry for some time now. But the pandemic underscored the critical economic function of warehouse workers, truckers, delivery drivers, and other Ohio warehouse & logistics professionals. Ongoing supply chain exigencies have left more than few logistics firms scrambling to keep pace. Still, the DOL doesn’t see that as an excuse to make concessions on worker pay and safety measures. The recent announcement involves news that the agency is hiring more than 100 new wage and hour investigators – with more likely on the way.
Our Ohio Warehouse & Logistics Team is Committed to Worker Safety and Customer Satisfaction
We recognize that Northeast Ohio warehouse & logistics costs and challenges have risen in recent months, but investment in dedicated employees and their well-being is a core tenet on which our team has never compromised. We’ve had this commitment dialed in for decades, so the DOL’s announcement has no real impact on our day-to-day activities.
Meanwhile, companies that are just launching and/or struggling may want to reconsider any internal warehousing and logistics operations – especially knowing that there will be additional federal oversight and zero room to cut corners without significant penalties.
Cleveland warehouse devanning is a critical component of the logistics process that involves removing cargo from sealed containers. This sounds fairly straightforward, but our warehousing and logistics management experts know it’s one of the more demanding aspects of the job. Devanning incorrectly can lead to serious safety risks as well as damaged goods. Proper devanning keeps workers safe, minimizes unnecessary product loss, and keeps supply chains rolling smoothly.
Container devanning is sometimes called unpacking, stripping, deconsolidation, or unstuffing. It typically (but not always) involves goods from international shipping. Containers are received and then carefully unloaded by highly-skilled handlers, often with cranes and forklifts.
It requires not only having an adequate workforce with the right training and equipment needed to physically move the goods, but also professionals with the technical skill required to effectively manage the digital technology to ensure each item in the container is prepped and ready for the next phase. Well-practiced devanning teams spend years developing the most effective approaches to unloading different types, shapes, and sizes of containers, while ensuring maximum efficiency. If you’re looking for Cleveland warehouse devanning, make sure your third-party logistics partner has the ability to receive containers, de-van them, palletize your goods, properly store each item, and then carefully pick, load, and deliver them on demand.
The type of shipment can impact where goods are going to be devanned. In most cases, full container load (FCL) shipments are going to be devanned at the destination warehouse. On the other hand, less-than-container load (LCL) are usually devanned at the Container Freight Station (CFS). On Time Delivery & Warehouse can serve as both.
The Cleveland Warehouse Devanning Process
When containers arrive at our Cleveland warehousing facility, it’s our top priority to ensure full care and attention is paid to getting the goods safely unloaded and stored and then prepped for the next leg of the journey.
If you’re seeking affordable Cleveland warehousing space, you might consider teaming with a third-party logistics (3PL) company. Not only will a 3PL be more likely to have a central warehouse location in an increasingly competitive market, it can also handle receiving, storage, inventory control, and reverse logistics with optimal efficiency.
Warehousing is critical for moving goods safely through the supply chain. But warehouse space competition has dramatically impacted industrial rents over the last year. Retailers and logistics firms are routinely paying a premium to lock down the most advantageous spots. CBRE Group Inc. reports industrial rents in 58 U.S. markets were up almost 10 percent in the first five months of 2021 compared to last year. Demand was largely driven by the surge in e-commerce that occurred when pandemic-related lockdowns closed many storefronts, keeping people at home and shopping for goods online.
But even as restrictions have eased, the public and businesses have continued their online ordering habits – along with their expectations for next day or even same-day deliveries. CBRE estimates more than a quarter of all retail sales in the U.S. will be facilitated by e-commerce by 2025. Meanwhile, suppliers stung by the pandemic shortages are trying to guard against a similar scenario by ensuring they have enough on hand to meet a sudden demand spike. That inventory has to be safely stored somewhere – and ready to be moved at a moment’s notice. Select sites in regional hubs near highways and closer to final destinations can dramatically reduce transportation costs.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, this demand for warehousing is likely to create a similar situation to what we’ve seen with the housing market, with limited supply and fierce competition for warehouse properties in strategically key locations. But available spaces – particularly larger buildings with higher ceilings and ample parking lots near urban centers – have become more scarce in recent years.
For many Northeast Ohio companies, the expense of Cleveland warehousing is a considerable one when determining operating budgets. Prices can swing significantly, depending on the type of facility and services one needs. What we can confidently say is lots of businesses don’t require an entire warehouse dedicated solely to their operations. That’s why it often makes sense to partner with a 3PL, one with adequate space, value-added services and the best rates.
We live in a world that is interconnected. Substantial disruptions in supply chains highlight the need for resiliency, particularly from Cleveland warehouse and logistics firms. On Time Delivery and Warehouse has proven over 40 years our ability to adapt in dynamic and uncertain markets.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges, we are helping many businesses find workarounds with e-commerce and local distribution. Although there is likely to be a fair amount of volatility in the supply chain for some time, our Cleveland warehouse and logistics will help our clients navigate these new realities.
We anticipate seeing:
- Higher inventory levels.
- Continued e-commerce adoption.
- Diversification of manufacturer locations.
No matter what challenges confront our Cleveland warehouse team, we are here for our customers, and ready to face it.
Cleveland Warehouse & Supply Chain Trends
In general, supply chain managers often prefer to keep inventory levels low to reduce overall costs. However, as we’re seeing shortages of things like cleaning supplies, health products and food, those managing supply chains are rethinking optimal inventory levels and storage locations. We’re anticipating higher demand for warehouse space to handle the uptick in goods and services. Ultimately, we anticipate this is likely to help us improve resiliency against future shocks.
Although the impact of COVID-19 is arguably one of the most substantial we can recall, the fact is that within this industry, our Cleveland warehouse team is familiar with fluctuations in stockpiles and slowdowns.
If you have questions about our Cleveland warehouse services, contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.
Warehousing sector well-positioned to whether coronavirus disruption, report finds, March 17, 2020, By Morgan Forde, SupplyChainDive.com
More Blog Entries:
Cleveland 3PL Can Help Limit Coronavirus Supply Chain Impact, Feb. 18, 2020, Cleveland Warehouse Service Blog