ODW Logistics Inc.

John Ness, president of ODW Log- istics Inc., explains that the fully integrated third-party logistics company makes promises, and those promises help its customers keep theirs, as well. “We don’t produce products,” Ness explains. “We talk about taking care of customer inventory, and making deliveries on time, integrated systems and all the things that we do to partner with clients.”

Bob Ness and John Berend founded ODW (formerly Ohio Distribution Warehouse) in 1971 with 89,000 square feet of warehouse space in central Ohio. Today, ODW operates multiple locations in six states, which is comprised of nearly 4.5 million managed square feet. Each expansion at the company has focused on one goal: creating a seamless vertical integration process to handle each client’s warehousing and transportation needs.

“We are an integrated solutions provider,” Ness explains.” We have both asset and non-asset based solutions and the capability to satisfy any domestic logistic requirement.”

Three Function as One

The company is organized into three categories. The ODW Warehousing Group operates both shared and dedicated warehousing sites. ODW personnel use state-of-the-art inventory management systems to track clients’ goods as they enter and exit these facilities.

Logistics and Transportation Services  is a full-service, third-party transportation provider. Its freight services include transportation management, brokerage, consulting, network analysis, optimization, reverse logistics, freight pay and audit. The company handles transportation modes including truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, partial, time-sensitive and international freight.

Its asset-based transportation solution division Dist-Trans Co. serves warehouse clients with regional transportation, drayage and yard management services. In 2012, Dist-Trans received its California Operating Authority permit, allowing it to provide transportation services within the state, improving service to its West Coast clients.

“We’ve had great success and growth in this business,” Ness Explains. “But probably the most important thing along with that growth is that we can bring better services to our customer.”

These developments fit into ODW’s plan to be a single-source solution for warehouse and transportation needs. By handling logistical matters, ODW can help customers increase productivity, improve customer service and lower administrative, staffing and vendor costs. It requires a warehouse and fleet operation that is overlaid with processes that brings the vertical solution together.

Tools of the Trade

ODW’s technology toolbelt includes radio frequency technology and its own web inventory management tools that allow customers to access real-time information about their distribution operations.

In addition, ODW has created innovative tools to allow continuous improvement to occur within the organization. ODW uses a kanban inventory control system to practice just-in-time delivery. The system allows ODW to determine when and how much of something needs to be distributed to its customers’ production facilities. By employing this technology, employees and customers can queue this data on smartphones or tablets to  track this data with simple visuals – similarly to a traffic light.

“Last month, we were 100 percent on time for 15,000 kanbans that month,” Ness says. “Prior to starting this, it was 90 percent, so this has been a huge driver in efficiency and process improvement.”

People First

These technologies are certainly key to ODW’s success; however, without the right people to run these systems they are simply “fancy tools,” Ness explains. That’s why the company continues to invest in employee recruitment, training and retention. Additionally, ODW partners with  Columbus State Community College in its LogisticsART Program to provide unemployed workers with skills in logistics careers.

“It takes great technology and systems to do what we do,” Ness stresses. “But at the end of the day, it takes great people in warehouse and transportation. We have an incredible staff and an incredible group of leaders from top to bottom of this organization who make these pro­cesses work day in and day out.”

Corporate Head Office

Transportation and Logistics International

Cringleford Business Centre
Intwood Road
Cringleford, Norwich, UK
NR4 6AU

Click here for a full list of contacts.

North American Office

Transportation and Logistics International

Finelight Media
207 E. Ohio Street Suite 351
Chicago, IL 60611


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