Inbound Logistics | March 2022


For those considering moving to or expanding within Georgia, the state pro- vides a series of job tax credits, including special enhancements for port-using industries. Additionally, there is ample land available near Georgia’s port facili- ties and rail hubs to ensure the efcient movement of manufacturing compo- nents and nished goods. Lynch describes the state’s Quick Start program, which provides targeted work- force training, as a national model. Quick Start develops and delivers fully custom- ized, strategic workforce solutions for qualied companies investing in Georgia. Quick Start helps companies assess, select, and train new hires. Services are provided free of charge as a discre- tionary incentive for job creation for clients opening or expanding manufac- turing operations, distribution centers, headquarters operations, and cus- tomer contact centers in a broad range of industries. GPA grew its workforce by 145 employees in 2021. Lynch says the increase is due in part to Y.E.S., a work- force development program aimed at career-ready high school seniors, launched by GPA in early 2019. The program, which has accepted 26 students to date, has been so successful that GPA recently expanded the Youth Learning Equipment and Safety/Youth Elevating their Skills and Training pro- gram, now known as Y.E.S.+ The initiative previously focused on terminal operations and maintenance positions, but Y.E.S.+ will begin includ- ing other departments such as nance and human resources when the 2022 program kicks off in August. PARTNERS IN GROWTH Connectivity and communication go hand-in-hand in the supply chain, and the state’s emphasis on forging strong links all along the way is a vital factor in Georgia’s logistics success. Nowhere is this aspect of Georgia’s logistics leadership more evi- dent than the links that exist with its ports. “The people we deal with at the Georgia Ports Authority are always on their game,” says Hal Justice, vice

Atlanta Bonded Warehouse (ABW) offers co-packing services and is a long-time provider of temperature-controlled and ambient warehousing as well as LTL/TL transportation.

than 14% over 2020. This increase was in spite of short inventories.” The continued record of growth is especially remarkable in light of the unpredictable nature of 2021’s inventory needs, stretched transportation resources, and evolving health regulations brought about by the pandemic. “To say that 2021 was a challenge would be an understatement,” Justice says. “Some customers had no issues with getting us inventory but those were the exception, not the rule.” RISING TO THE CHALLENGE Employment challenges likewise complicated matters, but Georgia employers such as ABW rose to meet those challenges. “We have never seen a year quite like last year for scheduling labor on top of nding, recruiting, and retaining a skilled workforce,” Justice says, adding that ABW emphasized—and contin- ues to emphasize—the importance of maintaining a skilled workforce whose primary focus is serving the customer. Among other things, competi- tive wages gured prominently in the solution. “If you don’t have enough applications to cover your growth and turnover, you are not offering a competi- tive starting and mature wage,” he says. Finding solutions, in turn, contributed mightily to Georgia’s ability to maintain its status as a standout on the national logistics landscape by distinguishing the

president of sales and operations for Atlanta Bonded Warehouse (ABW), a long-time provider of temperature-con- trolled and ambient warehousing, co-packaging, and LTL/TL transporta- tion services. National and international logjams made the past two years particularly challenging for logistics providers, Justice acknowledges. But, he says, timely, open, and reliable communica- tion helped minimize the stress of short inventory and limited exibility in out- bound transportation. “Our contacts at the port are very upfront, very responsive,” Justice says. “They give us the facts-on-the-ground so we can communicate expectations accu- rately to our customers.” The experience is typical of the coop- eration that exists among the key links in Georgia’s supply chain. “We rely a lot on drayage from the port,” he says. “The drayage carriers and railroads were responsive. Everybody was working to x the problems. Everybody put a shoulder into it.” This positive logistics environment contributed to another year of growth for ABW, which annually handles more than 700 million cases and 9.4 mil- lion pallets across 6.4 million square feet of space from 15 facilities across the Southeast and Southwest. “We added a lot of business in the back half of the year,” Justice says, “and our throughput volumes were up more

66 Inbound Logistics • March 2022

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