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.
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.
Shipping companies around the globe are increasingly concluding that outsourcing with a third-party logistics service isn’t simply a means to ease the workload or save costs. Shippers of all sizes are finding such partnerships essential to carving a competitive advantage in modern markets. A solid partnership with a trusted Ohio 3PL can mean the difference between sink-or-swim for some shippers.
Consider recent analysis from supply chain think-tank Armstrong & Associates (published in Supply Chain Management Review) revealing that 9 out of 10 Fortune 500 companies depend on third-party logistics for key supply chain services. We’re guessing most folks reading here aren’t on that list, but the reason we make note this statistic is because these firms have the means financially to construct strong internal logistics operations – yet each concluded if they want to enhance client satisfaction in an era when same-day service is expected, it’s not worth the investment to optimize logistics on their own. Reality is, their resources and energy are better spent on innovation. They decided the smartest thing they can do is team up with an experienced 3PL team with the ability to act as a positive business extension.
Shipping companies especially can’t overlook at least exploring Ohio 3PL partnerships because of high truck driver turn over and soaring rates of trucking shipments and expenditures are higher than ever – and continuing to climb. This ongoing trend is squeezing all shippers, but smaller ones in particular. They need the savings 3PLs can provide, and are actively seeking freight broker services to secure better rates.
The official Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30. While those of us in Northeast Ohio are safely tucked away from direct impact, local supply chains in this region still need to be hurricane-ready. Those Ohio 3PL providers like On Time Delivery & Warehouse that have national and international reach can’t afford to waste time weighing IF they’re going to be ready for natural disasters – but rather HOW.
For example, our Cleveland supply chain network of local ports includes those in Galveston, TX, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Charleston, SC and New York-New Jersey – all of which have the potential to be affected by Atlantic hurricanes. We recognize that even if a storm doesn’t hit one of those locations this year, it’s likely than not they will be affected by one in some way over the next few years. We must be ready.
If you work with a third-party logistics company (or you’re searching for one), it’s important to inquire about their disaster mitigation strategy is, especially if a key part of your supply chain is in a coastal area or one prone to other natural disasters. No one can predict with perfect accuracy when and where a storm will strike, but smart supply chains utilize the benefit of historical data to help us form workable contingency plans.
Warehousing is essential in Ohio logistics operations, where the goal is faster, cost-effective facilitation of your supply chain. The best warehouse management systems help companies keep pace with seesawing compliance regulations, increasing order cycle demands and oscillating supply chain requirements.
It’s no shock the global market for warehouse management systems is expected to climb from $1.7 billion this year to $5.72 billion in 2025, according to Grand View Research. Clearly, a growing number of industries recognize the value of third-party warehousing.
At On Time Delivery and Warehouse, we know that when warehouse operations are smooth, you get better results with:
- Proper inventory accounting;
- Order fulfillment accuracy;
- Fewer picking errors;
- Practicable stock replenishment;
- Ease of scalability;
- Real-time tracking and trouble-shooting.
Partnering with a trusted Ohio logistics firm allows for all this, plus shared costs.
Thinking about hiring an Ohio 3PL? Operational complexities inevitably expand when the company does. Higher demand and more stock keeping units put added pressure on pickers and packers. At some point, businesses need to consider whether it’s worth it to keep supply chain management in-house or if they should hire an Ohio 3PL.
3PL, short for third-party logistics, is an outside firm used to handle distribution and fulfillment services to keep the supply chain running smoothly.
Both in-sourcing and out-sourcing arguments have merit, but the right choice is going to be highly case specific. It’s our goal at On Time Delivery & Warehouse to help you determine whether a hiring an Ohio 3PL makes the most sense for your current operations and projected growth. We want our customers to plainly see the benefits of a contract with us, so we encourage all potential clients to ask lots of questions and give existing clients the ability to track it all in real time.
Many business leaders have reached the conclusion that 3PL is the way to go, as evidenced by the facts revealed by a new market research report on 3PL Service Outlook projecting the global 3PL market will reach $925 billion in the next two years.