The Coronavirus Impact and How 3PL's Should React

Everyone is reacting to the Covid-19 virus and the uncertainty and stress of the resulting changes are making us all fearful. Take a deep breath and remember our priorities: Care for people and prevent the spread of any illness Provide for continuity of operations to service customers Minimize financial impacts to employees, customers, and our operations. Internally, Spartan Logistics will take all conceivable actions to protect and inform our team and their families.Once this is accomplished, we have an obligation to consider the impact the virus has on our customers and how we can assist them.  Major retailers such as Apple have reported that a prolonged outbreak could interrupt its supply chain, while Amazon has expressed concern that it won’t be able to import enough inventory to meet its annual Prime Day obligations. As one of China’s four central railway hubs, a virus outbreak quickly spread along the supply chain to the rest of the world, with outbreaks in 47 countries. Nearly 95% of Fortune 1000 companies are experiencing supply chain distruptions due to the rippling effect of the virus. Companies of less than 100 employees are likely going to be effected as well, seeing delayed goods, unfulfilled orders and unpaid invoices.  Read More

Topics: Revolutionizing logistics, Supply Chain Strategy, Logistics News, Regional Distribution Center, Supply Chain Risks

The Generation Z Evolution and Why 3PL’s Should Be Ready


Why is there a Shortage in Warehouse Space?

Some days this feels like the best of times for those who operate logistics companies and who operate industrial real estate, but the worst of times for those looking for a bargain on warehouse space. There has been significant economic growth, and the U.S. industrial market continues to expand. Nationwide, warehouse vacancy decreased to 4.3% in the first quarter of 2019. This is near the lowest this number has been since this data began to be tracked in 1980. In certain markets, it is even lower, sometimes just a few properties. Moreover, the Class A and B space was the first to be absorbed; much of what is currently available is Class C and D, and these are mostly 50-year obsolete properties and shuttered manufacturing plants. In response to this trend, new warehouse construction is going through the roof, with 258 million square feet in new space under construction, the majority of which are speculative buildings. However, this supply of new warehouses is still less than current demand. Are you challenged to find high quality warehouse space and service providers where and when you need them?  Spartan Logistics has been planning for this day for 30 years.  Read More

Consider a Logistics Warehouse/RDC in Napoleon, OH

 As the economy continues to prosper, e-commerce sales have become a way of life and manufacturing production overruns are becoming increasingly familiar. So where do you turn? You could consider an expansion to the existing property or locate a 3PL warehouse to store 50,000-100,000 square feet of production overruns as inventory and manage it for you. It’s not often that industrial property with >100,000 square feet is readily available. Q1 2019 saw a slight uptick in vacancy rate to 5.0 percent—so all eyes are on leasing activity now. Spartan Logistics customers reach out knowing our unique expanded 3PL services include our affiliation with NAI Harmon Group of Toledo, OH, and Logan Creek Construction of Oregon, OH. Having these resources gives Spartan Logistics an opportunity to differentiate and locate available industrial real estate options for our potential and existing customers with a diverse portfolio of commercial property all across the US.    Read More

Topics: Warehouses in Toledo Ohio, Industrial Real Estate Market, Supply Chain Strategy, Regional Distribution Center, NAI Harmon Group

Spartan's Fort Smith, AR Warehouse Investment Reduces Risk at the Rail Car

Railways keep most industries moving, quite literally. Unloading rail cars in a warehouse setting need to be executed quickly and safely upon arrival, so they are well on their way.  So How Does Spartan Logistics Unload Rail Cars While Reducing Risk and Improving Production? With a collaboration of Spartan's Warehouse Manager, a local vendor with a national equipment manufacturer account, and a Director of Maintenance at the Spartan corporate level — the overall solution agreed upon was centered almost exclusively around the safety and increased productivity of a high-end rotating clamp truck to unload 2-3 ton paper rolls from rail cars from the Fort Smith, AR rail access warehouse.    Read More

Topics: Rise of 3PL Fulfillment Services, Supply Chain Strategy, Logistics News, Warehouses with rail capacity, Logistic Leaders

Include Warehouse Storage as Part of your Emergency Disaster Plan

Tornadoes, floods, four-alarm fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a doomed reality for any business. In 2012 I experienced such a disaster while working for an industrial company with no emergency plan in place. Without much warning, a tornado ripped through the rural county leaving a 1/4-mile of destruction along the way. Employees were not alerted where to seek shelter or lockdown—it was complete chaos. I was told by company personnel…”The county was a low-risk area for tornadoes so we didn’t see the urgency in pre-planning for such a disaster.” It’s like watching the news and you’re thinking…that could never happen here. So How Do You Prepare? The following is a list of critical procedures to implement: Designate an emergency planning team Develop an emergency disaster plan Designate employees to perform key emergency leadership roles Practice as many of elements of your plan throughout the year Have a customer communications plan Document a list of emergency contacts Perfect a procedure to inform employees of an emergency A fully stocked first aid kit Up-to-date fire extinguishers A safe indoor/outdoor gathering point A list of equipment that is required to be shut down or secured Secure flammable liquids and tanks Make sure everyone has photo identification available— local authorities may only permit people who own property in a disaster-affected area. Plan to temporarily relocate inventory and equipment  Read More

Topics: Rise of 3PL Fulfillment Services, Supply Chain Strategy, Logistics News, Logistic Leaders

How focused is your leadership team on what really matters?

Because I am a Christian man and a business leader, there are certain things that I know will always be true and there are other things that I believe as a matter of faith.   Read More

Topics: Future of Logistics, Logistic Leaders, Logistics Teamwork

Riding the Rail to Avert Higher Freight Costs

Capacity remained the most pressing logistics issue across the supply chain as the new year began. This is especially true within the transportation sector, where the driver shortage, ELD mandate, and other factors severely impacted the trucking industry’s ability to handle increased freight volumes. Because of this, more shippers are looking to intermodal (rail) transport for capacity. According to the Association for American Railroads (AAR), intermodal volume rose by 3.9% in 2017. Through the first 28 weeks of 2018, AAR reported that U.S. rail carloads are up 1.5% annually at 7,259,135 and intermodal units are up 6.1% at 7,686,093.  Part of the volume growth in intermodal was due to the capacity issues that challenged trucking as the electronic logging device mandate took hold and some carriers strained to find enough drivers to carry loads. We are experiencing a market with low truck supply and high freight demand. One of the reasons for tightened capacity is the ongoing driver shortage. Year after year, skilled truck drivers are retiring with fewer younger experienced drivers taking their places. Fewer drivers mean fewer trucks on the road to haul the increase in freight, which, in turn, drives up the cost of your freight and eventually that increase will have to be passed along to your customer. U.S. shippers are desperate for capacity and turning to modes they previously shunned as a result.  Read More

Topics: Warehouses with rail capacity, Intermodal transportation

Spartan Logistics Survives Hurricane Florence and Now Deals with Aggressive Mosquitoes

On September 9, 2018, it seemed we were all fixated with any form of technology that was broadcasting up-to-date information and storm-related events throughout the state of North Carolina with reference to Hurricane Florence. The Governor of North Carolina urged all North Carolina residents and businesses to prepare for Hurricane Florence, issuing a State of Emergency management and emergency plan.  Before the massive storm even hit, North Carolina emergency officials were preparing for what meteorologists have called the second “500-year storm” to hit the state since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  As reports grew with intensity during the week, Spartan Logistics’ Executive Management Team in Columbus, OH, maintained consistent communication with Maxton, NC Warehouse Manager, Bobby Morman.  Prior to evacuating the building, all hands were on deck to board up glass windows and doors; the forklift propane tank cage was chained and secured while Spartan forklift operators brought in 10,000 contract customer pallets from the outdoor elements so they would not become projectiles when the storm arrived. Bobby Morman purchased a pallet of 76 cases of bottled water from a local Food Lion store to bring back to the warehouse to be distributed to all employees  before evacuating the property—and then we waited.  The monster storm battered the North Carolina coast, trailing inland, leaving a path of destruction throughout eastern coastal regions. The warehouse sustained minor damage to overhangs, but the outdoor lighting was destroyed due to the strength of the wind. Local authorities created shelters for those not able to escape the wrath of the storm in time.    Read More

Topics: Logistics News

Navigating What’s Left of the Industrial Real Estate Market

Are you in touch with what is happening in the industrial real estate market?  A shortage exists everywhere, creating real challenges for businesses seeking to expand in their marketplace. For example, Napa Valley's industrial warehouse vacancies are now at 1.3 percent. The thriving wine industry finds its growth and margins constrained due to a lack of space to store inventory, and higher freight costs to store it farther away. In 2017, commercial properties in most markets enjoyed the sustained growth of demand, high occupancy rates, and rising rents. This is under added pressure in 2018 due to rising interest rates and increased U.S. manufacturing activity encouraged by recent tax reforms.  U.S. industrial rents now average $5.53 per square foot with a year-over-year increase of 5.3 percent. Many tenants are in the difficult situation where expiring long-term leases are 30-50% below today’s market rates.  For example, if you have been leasing space for the past ten years at a $4.50 sq. ft. rate and the owner comes to you this year to let you know the rate is increasing to $6.50 per sq. ft., your options are to absorb this cost, buy the building or vacate. Do you have an immediate plan in place to address the options you’ve been given?  As top logistics markets continue to operate at a sub–3.5 percent vacancy rate, you can expect continued competition for quality warehouse and distribution space to add pressure on rents through 2018.  First Quarter 2018 warehousing vacancy by US Region - Source: U.S. Real Estate News: U.S. warehouse and distribution rents rise as vacancy rates dip.  Read More

Topics: Industrial Real Estate Market, Supply Chain Strategy