How Ohio is set up to benefit logistics and distribution operations

Ohio is a great place for logistics and distribution operations. It supports the physical aspect of logistics with dependable intermodal infrastructure, but also the burgeoning digital side of the business that’s buoyed by dedicated data analytics programs at its many universities.

“Cost, flexibility, speed, dependability and access are among Ohio’s greatest logistics and distribution assets,” says Ted Griffith, managing director of logistics & distribution at JobsOhio. “Also, the state’s universities have been among the forerunners in developing data analytics programming that has grown bigger and better over the decades as supply chains become more strategic for business profitability and delightful customer experiences.”

Smart Business spoke with Griffith about the ways in which Ohio supports logistics and distribution companies.

What are some of Ohio’s greatest logistics and distribution assets?

Ohio’s lack of inventory tax, favorable tax environment and low cost of doing business are certainly perks, but it’s about more than that. Flexible supply chain options via every kind of modal access companies need and a high-ranking interstate system mean it’s easy for companies to ship and receive products from the state’s 13 intermodal terminals.

Knowing that freight can be shipped or received in two days from port helps companies plan out the rest of their supply chain consistently. In addition to Ohio’s very robust transportation infrastructure, the state boasts several dedicated cargo terminal airports that create another layer of flexibility and dependability. When products land they’re quickly on to the next mode of transportation so inventory is never stuck in one place.

Ohio is rated as having the lowest risk of natural disasters relative to most other states, which is an important consideration for logistics as it reduces disruptions.

And Ohio’s geographic location offers companies in the state one-day access to 60 percent of North America’s population.

Why are well-known companies opening distribution centers in Ohio?

The physical side of logistics benefits from scale. The more companies that are moving in, building distribution centers and leveraging the state’s transportation assets, the more efficient the response of the carriers. It means container loads of inbound products can be refilled and shipped back out, driving down costs as carriers charge less because of the inbound/outbound continuity. Having myriad industries in Ohio engaged in high-volume shipping creates those synergies.

What makes Ohio such an attractive investment location?

Logistics today are not just about the physical side of moving products. While that’s still a central tenet, successful companies have to be completely on-game in data analytics to such a degree that it’s foundational to how they operate. To that end, 26 Ohio universities have data analytics programs. The Ohio State University has a center dedicated to data science that’s designed for collaboration between companies and students who work on live, practical business projects together.

What is Logistics 4.0 and is it happening in Ohio?

Logistics and distribution is going digital, embracing what’s now possible in IT to make the supply chain more efficient.

Data science analytics can be used to determine where inventory is needed and to facilitate reliable on-time delivery to customers where they want it. A few decades back, much of the current capabilities weren’t possible because of a lack of server capacity. Modern cloud systems now give access to computing power that can run the heavy data analytics needed to optimize the supply chain.

Data analytics is also being used inside warehouses to optimize those operations, helping to augment the human workforce with machines that make distribution centers more productive.

Companies that figure out how to incorporate all these elements win by being more profitable and delighting customers by getting products to the right place at the right time. The use of sophisticated machines and the application of data analytics is how companies will achieve this in today’s market and well into the future.

Insights Economic Development is brought to you by JobsOhio