Cleveland truckload carriers moving full trailers have been in especially high demand in recent months, thanks to persistent West Coast supply chain bottlenecks. The Wall Street Journal reports indicators from bellwether transport services foreshadow the likelihood these western port backlogs will drag through the holidays and into 2022. Suppliers and shippers looking to keep down costs may want to consider working with a dedicated 3PL trucking logistics service.
Part of the issue with higher costs is the rush by large retailers to restock inventory (with demand in some sectors up as much as 85 percent this year compared to the same time in 2020). Also factoring are the broader supply chain upheavals affecting the whole country – primarily, shortages of truck drivers, rail workers, and warehousing employees.
Keeping freight and trucking costs down while maintaining efficient logistics operations isn’t a cakewalk, especially when the labor force has been so limited. Meanwhile, consumers are leaning on e-commerce now more than ever, with few sacrificing expectations – including on costs and delivery times.
As longtime Cleveland truckload carriers and warehousing professionals, we understand these challenges and work closely with our customers to help tackle them. Key to our longevity are competitive pricing and low staff turnover, the latter fueled by good pay, attractive benefits packages, and a perpetually positive work environment. Loyal, experienced truck drivers and warehouse workers help us keep customers’ inventory moving as efficiently as possible for the best rates.
Each day, billions of packages are prepared and shipped from production plants, over seas and skies, through warehousing, distribution and processing centers and on to their final destinations. For those that cycle through our Northeast Ohio warehouse and distribution center, businesses and their clientele benefit from our expert Cleveland repacking & coding services.
Repacking is a value-added service that allows the contents of packages to be changed or reconfigured so that the end result meets customer expectations. Some examples of repacking goals:
- To repack a product into your company’s personally-branded packaging, as opposed to sending it in the manufacturer’s packaging.
- To make adjustments based on unique customer requests.
- To make a change to any pre-assembled kits.
According to Packaging Digest, the cost of repacking services globally is expected to reach $50 billion by next year. Wrapped up in these expenses are labor, returns, materials, transport and shipping.
Many 3PL warehousing and distribution centers offer some type of repacking, but not all promise the same quality assurance guarantee as the repacking professionals at On Time Delivery & Warehouse. In addition to repacking, we use specialized electronic coding equipment to place product information directly onto the product/packages. Such labeling can include clear sell-by and expiration dates, which must be both clear and readable.
How Cleveland Repacking & Coding Can Reduce Warehouse Costs & Inventory Losses
Supply chain managers have the ultimate goal of developing, implementing, and monitoring the timely receiving, storage, transport, and distribution of products for shipping. This means we must have effective planning strategies for packing and repacking goods, reducing damage risks and avoiding additional costs.
Specialized internal and external packaging can protect the integrity of a product as it continues to move through the distribution chain.
A bill of lading is a document that serves as proof a company or carrier received goods from a shipper. It’s a critical record that our Cleveland warehouse professionals know is essential to demonstrating the chain of custody from shipper to carrier. Beyond simple proof of cargo transfer, it establishes a contract between the two parties for the delivery of the goods to the purchasing party or next carrier. They’re often required for many types of land freight shipments, but can also be mandated for air and sea cargo as well. Failure to properly fill out these forms can be costly.
If you’re considering partnering with a Northeast Ohio warehousing and distribution to a third-party logistics company, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what bills of lading are and how they’re prepared. Chances are, it will be an aspect of your operations you’ll also want to outsource.
What Exactly is in a Bill of Lading (BOL)?
Bills of lading, sometimes called BOL, are nothing new. In fact, they go all the way back to at least the 16th century, when they were routinely used to track ship cargo movements. Back then, it was pretty basic: An inventory check and the signatures of the shipper and carrier.
Today, the general idea is the same, but with all the various modes of transport, warehousing, and distribution (not to mention evolving technology), the particulars are quite a bit more involved.
In recent months, logistics industry watchers have seen demand for warehousing close to major ports surge, driven by the tsunami of e-commerce demand and flood of container imports. That’s made it tougher – and more expensive – to find storage space from New York to Los Angeles. Bloomberg reports these demands are unlikely to abate anytime before next year, at the earliest. The good news is many companies may find solutions in working with Ohio warehousing & distribution firms that are strategically located and connected.
Both logistics service providers and real estate companies were quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying the fierce competition for warehousing space near port cities has pushed warehouse costs so high that many companies have been compelled to scour neighboring regions (including in the Midwest) to serve shippers’ needs. Northeast Ohio has long been a prime, strategic hub for warehousing and distribution.
The demand for industrial space – inland and around the ports – is likely only to rise in the coming years. Nationally, it’s accelerated the last few years thanks to the rapid rise of e-commerce, which relies more heavily on Ohio warehousing and distribution versus retail space. Storage space rates in some regions have doubled just in the last year. The pandemic exacerbated that trend, and shows no signs of abating.
If your current, in-house Ohio warehousing and distribution practices are already taxing your time and resources, it may be time to take another look at outsourcing with a Cleveland 3PL. “3PL” stands for “third party logistics.” A dedicated 3PL warehousing provider does more than simply give you a place to store your stuff. It offers opportunity for dynamic companies to access a broad range of supply chain & logistics services and expertise.
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.
Storage demand fluctuations are nothing new to the Ohio warehousing industry, though this year has certainly tested the limits. Demand for nonessential goods and same-day deliveries swung wildly throughout 2020, in part reflecting a sharp rise in e-commerce, something Northeast Ohio warehousing operations felt acutely.
Our hats are off to our various supply chain partners and warehouse workers who quickly adapted to the strict requirements and regulations of numerous new industry priorities driven by consumer needs. With distribution bottlenecked at several points during various times, our warehouse employees adroitly rose to the challenge, – particularly when it came to compressed sales cycles of goods that had to be swiftly and carefully offloaded from ports and trucks and properly consolidated, sorted, packaged, stored and transloaded.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports e-commerce activity spiked dramatically in the second quarter of this year as many consumers shifted their shopping practices away from physical stores and over to digital platforms. Demand for dipped, while the home improvement and technology sectors boomed. U.S. retail e-commerce increased 44.5 percent year-over-year, ultimately resulting in 2.4 million additional square feet of warehousing space, many of those dedicated to business-to-business (B2B) operations.
“Resilient supply chain” is not a new catchphrase in the logistics world. It is, however, one that has taken on new importance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cleveland trucking services like ours recognize that streamlined transportation is essential to resiliency. Delivering goods as promised is pivotal for businesses involved in goods production and transportation.
It’s always been important to our team at On Time Delivery & Warehouse to avoid unwanted disruptions, bottlenecks and delays, whether we’re handling imported/exported freight or carrying out same-day deliveries.
In this current climate, we know that building customer confidence is critical. Now more than ever, business reputations are riding on the service and quality standards of their transportation and logistics firms.
We know our clients have many Cleveland trucking services to choose from. But none stay in this business long if they aren’t offering clients invaluable services and flexibility. On Time Delivery & Warehouse offers a one-stop-shop for streamlining supply chains: Warehousing and distribution, shipping, trucking, transportation and third-party logistics.
Before a global pandemic threw so many supply chains completely off-course, flexible Cleveland warehousing was an emerging trend driven by growing consumer demand for same-day and next-day deliveries. Now, flexible warehousing options are especially attractive for retailers balancing their fluctuating needs for warehouse space and demands to efficiently move inventory on-the-fly.
Flexible warehousing (also sometimes called in-demand warehousing, pop-up distribution, public warehousing or multi-client space) is a service that connects warehouse operators with businesses requiring storage on an as-needed basis. This allows suppliers to pay seasonally or as-they-go rather than be tied to a year-round contract. Many client products can be received, handled, stored and shipped out in a flexible environment, as opposed to dedicating a large space and full labor force to a single operator. Manufacturers and retailers want to position themselves closer to customers without getting locked into multiyear leases or long contracts – particularly when trade conditions and buying patterns are so uncertain right now.
But companies that only offer flexible Cleveland warehousing may fall short of what you need, especially if your bread and butter is specialized goods. Third-party logistics firms can commit a dependable workforce to store, handle and deliver sensitive goods. On Time Delivery and Warehouse stands out among our competitors because we offer both.
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.
Cleveland warehouse kitting services offer many competitive advantages to manufacturers and retailers hoping to streamline their processes and lower costs.
Warehouse kitting, a service typically handled by a 3PL, involves taking multiple stock keeping units (or SKUs) and combining them into a single package to create a separate SKU. In other words, we’re taking several individual products or parts of individual products and compiling them into “kits.” Those kits are then passed on for production and “just-in-time” deliveries.
Many companies take advantage of 3PL warehouse kitting because it allows for:
- Reduction in the number of purchase orders;
- Lowered administration costs;
- Faster assembly (for manufacturers and/or consumers);
- Optimized use of space;
- Better packaging quality;
- Fewer shipping mistakes;
- Happier customers.