Northeast Ohio 3PL
Supply chain instability and challenges – from labor shortages to backlogged ports to pricey spot truck rates – have basically been the status quo ever since the pandemic. Although some aspects may be starting to even out, Cleveland 3PL experts at On Time Delivery & Warehouse recognize that with the height of peak season 2022 on the horizon, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are bracing for these challenges to take on greater significance. Those able to effectively leverage the resources of a Cleveland 3PL trucking, warehouse, and logistics firm will ultimately be the ones that carve out a competitive advantage.
In general, peak season typically occurs annually, starting with the back-to-school shopping season in late summer and rounds out sometime in November, just after Black Friday (with a final holiday rush in late December). However, some suppliers say that with unpredictable surge-and-trickle demands, those clear seasonal trends have been tougher to nail down.
Still, logistics industry insiders are predicting tsunamis of demand in certain sectors, with ripple effects spreading far beyond those directly in the center. That could mean we’re likely to see delivery delays, price increases, and further labor shortages. Northeast Ohio companies seeking to minimize their vulnerability to supply chain challenges would be wise to tap into the resources offered by a dedicated Cleveland 3PL.
Primary Peak Season Challenges
To effectively prepare for the challenges of peak season, you must first identify what that time frame is for you – in your industry, your region, and your organization specifically. That alone can be tricky, particularly given the lack of market predictability in recent years.
This is one area where a Cleveland 3PL can help. You know your business, but we know supply chains. We utilize the latest data software to analyze inventory and the movement of goods critical to your operations. Once we pinpoint trends, weaknesses, and bottlenecks in your supply chain, we help create a strategic end-to-end plan to minimize delays and losses.
Some common issues likely to arise:
- Fluctuation in peak season length. When you know how long your peak season is going to be, you can better prepare by matching the appropriate level of seasonal labor and delivery costs. Even when it’s difficult to nail down, there may still be precautions we can suggest to help you minimize the consequences.
- Inaccurate volume forecasting. This has been especially challenging in recent years. A third-party logistics firm can help with accurate data analysis to better identify when spikes and lulls can likely be anticipated – and prepare effective responses if outcomes deviate from earlier predictions.
- Lack of efficiency in labor management. If you’re trying to manage your own operations while also managing your own supply chain, warehousing, and delivery can be next to impossible for some firms – particularly when you’re under additional demand pressures. Transparency, accurate communication, and proper training are imperatives. Errors and oversights can result in wastefulness and depletion of customer confidence.
Peak season predicaments can sometimes be forecasted, but not always. Working with a competent Cleveland 3PL helps ensure you are better prepared for both the known and the unknown.
Cleveland 3PL Predicts Warehouse Bottlenecks Likely to Be a Problem This Peak Season
Although industries vary on the specific challenges they face during peak season, our Cleveland 3PL is fairly certain as we head into the last quarter of 2022 that warehousing bottlenecks will become nearly everyone’s problem.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal noted that the shipping capacity struggles that were apparent at traffic-snarled seaports has been moving inland the last few months. It’s only likely to be exacerbated. As those of us in the logistics field know, trailers needed to transport goods on trucks are already being tied up – sometimes for weeks on end, even as demand for container ships has waned – because so many warehouses are at capacity. Distribution hubs in the Midwest and throughout the U.S. are seeing lengthy delays.
Recognizing these headaches are likely to drag on well into next year, our Cleveland third-party logistics professionals work closely with clients to arrange the most streamlined, cost-efficient modes and methods of shipping, storage, and delivery. We can help you access the most up-to-date, transparent data to help identify optimal rates, diversify carrier relationships, hone in on flexible warehousing partners, and anticipate reasonable timelines.
For information on 3PL Warehousing, Inventory Management, and Trucking Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.
Warehouse Bottlenecks Are Snarling U.S. Supply Chains, Aug. 26, 2022, By Paul Berger, The Wall Street Journal
More Blog Entries:
6 Supply Chain Insights From Northeast Ohio Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Pros, Aug. 28, 2022, On Time Delivery & Warehouse Blog
As Northeast Ohio third-party logistics warehouse professionals, we understand the complexities of supply chain management better than anyone. Increasingly, it’s important that our clients have a grasp of them as well.
In recent years, the volatility of local and global supply chains has been on full display not only to manufacturers and distributors but consumers as well. There is a growing expectation that savvy businesses will take measures not just to respond to supply chain hiccups when they arise, but to become better at predicting and preparing for their inevitability.
Working with an Ohio third-party logistics team helps your company to do that. It also provides consumers with broader transparency and more responsive communication when problems occur.
With this in mind, the Ohio 3PL team at On Time Delivery & Warehouse offers the following list of basic supply chain insights.
Modern supply chains are increasingly complex.
Most supply chains can be broken down into two basic segments: Production and distribution. But that’s really where the simplicity ends.
Consider, for instance, a basic laptop computer. It can easily have 3,000 different parts. Your typical Ford truck? It’s likely to have at least 30,000 components. An effective supply chain is going to have numerous layers of varying sophistication, typically involving specialists who can supply certain components. Often, businesses end up with many layers of supply chains – and it can get even murkier when your suppliers don’t want you to know who their suppliers are, for fear you’ll just go around them if possible. This can be especially problematic if a lower-tier supply shuts down – and you aren’t even made aware of it until a certain time period. That can eventually lead to major supply chain snarls – which is precisely what we saw during the pandemic.
On the distribution end of things, issues with congested ports and labor shortages have resulted in bottlenecks. Working with an Ohio third-party logistics company helps ensure you if something falls through, you have alternative routes and means (by road, air, and sea).
Unexpected Demand May Not Mean What You Think.
Customers signal their demand by making purchases. This prompts businesses to ramp up supply. But this sort of demand forecasting can cause problems if spikes are interpreted as fundamental shifts in demand.
We saw this during COVID-19 when it came to things like exercise bikes. There were huge customer demands, retailers flooded their suppliers with orders, suppliers started cranking up production and returned the flow back to retailers – who by then realized they had too much and cut back substantially on future orders. This lead to major supply chain headaches – manufacturers cut production, suppliers were left with an overstock of raw materials and customers were left cooling their heels for extended periods waiting for deliveries.
When it comes to sudden demand spikes, it’s best to proceed with a degree of caution.
Just-In-Time Production Can Be a Practical Solution.
To avoid the whiplash of sudden demand spikes that just as suddenly fall, some companies have found just-in-time production a practical solution. As our Ohio third-party logistics pros can explain, just-in-time production involves making precisely what you need – and only when you need it. The idea is you’re only carrying as much inventory as you need, raw materials get delivered only just in time. If there is an issue with any of those parts/raw materials, the impact is typically minimal because the orders are smaller.
However, this solution really only makes sense when suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors are relatively close and/or when the supply chains are fairly lean. If your network is more global, trying to work out exactly when you’re going to need a delivery – and how much it will be – can be tricky. It can lead to problems when you factor in demand spikes and supply chain bottlenecks (particularly those involving international shipments, which can get held up for weeks on end).
Just-in-time production can work for some companies, but it’s wise to consult with your 3PL to see whether your supply chain has any weak links that can be tightened first.
The Bigger Your Supply Chain, the More Opportunities for Disruption.
Many companies rely on lengthy distribution chains. For example, if you’re shipping furniture from a factory in Sweden to a store in Northeast Ohio, you might need an air leg, an ocean leg, a rail leg, and truck transfers. The more links your supply chain has, the riskier it may be, particularly when each link directly depends on the smooth function of all the others. Keep in mind too – some of those links depend on cogs and sprockets that are on different tracks entirely.
Longer logistics threads are more vulnerable to delays than shorter ones. When you work with a third-party logistics partner, you have the benefit not only of transparency and seeing potential issues just before or immediately after they arise, but also alternatives when that happens.
Ordering More Than Necessary May Exacerbate Shortages.
Ideally, companies are only going to order as much of an item as they think they are going to consume or sell until the following cycle. However, if you forecast that a certain product may become particularly in-demand, it may seem smart to order extra.
However, where this is a problem is that some companies might start ordering double or triple what they actually need. This not only leads to shortages in the immediate, but can result in companies having far too much inventory – which inevitably leads to the need for more warehouse space, etc. You may end up with further losses if you’re forced to slash prices to just to offload it.
It can be tough to determine the exact right amount of just-in-case product to keep on hand. It’s a balancing act. Working with a dedicated Ohio third-party logistics team can help ensure both communication and supply chain visibility so that you can accurately forecast just how much you’re going to need.
Ohio Third-Party Logistics Partner Can Help Reduce Bottlenecks By Providing Big Picture Snapshots.
Bottlenecks in the supply chain are commonly the result of a lack of visibility – both for what’s in the pipeline on its way to you and then what comes after.
For example, it’s easy to see hundreds of ships stalled at a port and conclude, “Clearly, lack of efficiency at the port is the problem.” In reality, the actual issue might be that there was poor communication among downstream distribution centers. You could increase the port’s capacity 200 percent by keeping it open 24-7, but it’s not going to make much difference in the backlog if there is no one to pick up those goods or nowhere for it to immediately go.
Working with a team of skilled, experienced 3PL professionals can help provide a big picture lens, allowing you to identify potential issues before they become a major problem – easing the flow of goods downstream all the way to your customers.
If you have questions about how our Northeast Ohio third-party logistics warehousing & trucking team can help improve your supply chain visibility and flow, we’re here to provide further insight.
For information on 3PL Warehousing, Inventory Management, and Trucking Services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.
Supply Chain Pressures Ebbed in July, Aug. 15, 2022, Central Banks Research, The Wall Street Journal
More Blog Entries:
Cleveland 3PL Recommends Ample Planning to Cope With Packaging Shortage, June 28, 2022, Northeast Ohio Warehousing News Blog
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:
If you’re among the millions of Americans who have recently launched a new business this year, let us be among the first to congratulate you! U.S. Census data indicates that the surge of new enterprises contains a significant number of manufacturing and retail companies. All startups (but those in these areas in particular) should look closely at the benefits of partnering with a trusted Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics) company. A 3PL can assist with optimizing inventory management, warehousing, scalability, simplification, shipments, transparency, customer satisfaction reviews, and cost savings.
Outsourcing shipping, warehousing, and order fulfillment with a third-party logistics firm is something burgeoning business owners sometimes overlook in the early phases, primarily because many are cash-strapped and looking for any and all opportunities to save capital. However, smart entrepreneurs recognize that certain expenses are well worth the investment. Many new (and veteran) Northeast Ohio business owners see substantial benefits working with a trusted Cleveland 3PL, often right out of the gate. In fact, some operators find they can’t effectively compete in the market without one.
What Does a Cleveland 3PL Partner Do, Exactly?
Third-party logistics companies manage your supply chain operations, including warehousing and shipping. In short, our job is ensuring your products make it to your business partners/customers – intact, on time, every time.
We help facilitate the receiving, picking, warehousing, packing, and shipping. On Time Delivery & Warehouse goes above and beyond the typical storage space operation to provide:
- Heated warehousing.
- FDA registered warehousing.
- Container Freight Station (CFS).
- Centralized Examination Station (CMS).
- Import/export freight handlers.
- Product coding & packing.
- Daily, weekly, monthly, and annual storage rates.
- Bill of lading preparation.
- UPS Standard daily.
- On-site security.
- Domestic freight handlers.
- Hazmat certification.
- Hot shot services.
- Liftgate deliveries.
- Same-day & next-day delivery services.
If we don’t offer the exact services you’re seeking, we’ll point you to another trusted local provider who can.
Why Logistics Are an Important Consideration for Brand New Businesses
Very few startups have experience in logistics. This is problematic because it can impact how quickly the right goods get to the correct destination, unblemished and exactly when they’re supposed to.
Our goal as 3PL providers is to ensure your supply chain is working for you and your customers from Day 1.
The modern supply chain is capable of impressive feats, delivering goods and materials from across the globe to businesses, suppliers, and customers in days or sometimes even hours. Of course, there are always vulnerabilities. If the last 1.5 years has taught us anything, it’s that even the most tightly-managed supply chains aren’t invincible. Industry analysts now opine that global supply chains are poised for ongoing, high volatility on several fronts. Those partnering with a Cleveland 3PL will find they’re far better prepared to successfully steer through these challenges.
You may recall that during the pandemic, supply chain snags meant certain goods and products were unavailable for days, weeks, and even months. High-demand items were suddenly in short supply, creating logistical calamities that have, in some cases, persisted to this day.
These problems haven’t been limited to a single industry or product, which is why we’ve seen overall hikes in logistics costs. Compounding matters are the record numbers of ships delayed at ports, a highly constrained warehousing space market, and soaring fuel costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of fuel was up more than 35 percent this summer year-over-year. In some areas, load-to-truck costs are up more than 70 percent.
As longtime Cleveland 3PL providers in warehousing and shipping, we’re familiar with the many ups and downs (and sideways spins) a supply chain can take. Given that there is a good chance we won’t see a pre-pandemic normal of supply chains anytime soon, businesses need to brace themselves for disruptions and higher costs. Those that are working with a dedicated third-party logistics firm will have a leg-up on the competition.
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.
Our third-party logistics supply chain partners in Cleveland are adept at helping clients navigate all challenges impacting the timely flow of goods to their final destination. Sometimes, the issue is a faraway natural disaster or social unrest. Other times, it’s homegrown regulation or infrastructure challenges.
Right now, there’s swelling concern over recent promises by President Donald Trump to shutdown the U.S.-Mexican border if neither Congress nor the Mexican government takes what he deems decisive action to stem the tide of illicit drugs and illegal immigration into the U.S. Ohio 3PL partners at On Time Delivery & Warehousing are watching the situation closely, and have begun mapping supply chain contingency plans.
The likelihood of an actual border shutdown isn’t clear. While some of the president’s allies in Washington D.C. have stated a total border closure would be “catastrophic” to U.S. supply chains, the president isn’t exactly known for always toeing the party line. He’s said that secure borders take priority over trade. He has floated a potential compromise: A border closure solely permitting the back-and-forth flow of commercial trucks. Whether that would be enough to blunt the biggest supply chain impacts isn’t certain.
Meanwhile, trucks at the Mexican border have reported long delays this month, after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were abruptly reassigned from import regulation to immigration processing, according to Bloomberg.
For us, this is not about choosing political sides. Our role as an Ohio 3PL partner is to be prepared for all scenarios with the goal of minimizing the product and financial losses for our clients – and that’s what we intend to do.
As a longtime Northeast Ohio 3PL provider in Cleveland, On Time Delivery & Warehouse has a battle-tested supply chain network of carriers and routes spanning the U.S. market and beyond – on ground rails, overseas and in the skies. For most domestic deliveries though, we rely on commercial trucks.
We’re certainly not the only Northeast Ohio 3PL to do so, though our longstanding, loyal customer backing affirms our stake as one of the most trusted supply chain management companies in the Midwest. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports 70 percent of the 50 million tons of U.S. economy freight moved daily is hauled by commercial trucks. Our trucking services clients have the advantage not just of our expansive carrier network, but our own fleet of trailers, box trucks and flatbeds.
Trucking is often the most cost-effective ways to move freight domestically, though as you probably know, it’s not exactly cheap either. Working with a 3PL trucking service can help, getting you better deals on less-than-truckload services and more. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of working with a Northeast Ohio 3PL instead of managing trucking services in-house is: Third-party logistics providers can help reduce your trucking liability risks.
This is an especially key consideration for many firms, given the risk of commercial truck crashes is on the rise.