Michigan – A Central Hub for Logistics Education

A recent article boasted about Georgia’s innovative logistics environment, so we did some research on what Michigan had to offer the field. We learned a lot about logistics and supply chain management college programs and that Michigan State University scored as the top school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. This makes sense when one considers that Michigan is a transportation hub in general, with many leading logistics companies providing their services throughout the state. Midwestern states provide a central location for shipping companies, and as a result, provide innovative schooling on the subject.

In addition to Michigan State University, the University of Michigan also boasts a top 10 supply chain program, coming in at number 10 on Michigan Business’s list of top nationwide schools for the subject. With so many jobs available in supply chain efficiency and logistics operations, these schools can have a major impact on not only Michigan’s economy but also the health of the entire nation. Michigan serves as a major center for cross-border shipments with Canada, which means there’s a lot at stake for international trade as well.

With a strategic focus on the development of its own logistics and supply chain program, Michigan is providing top-tier education for many young people looking to get into the field. These students represent the future of the industry, so it is encouraging that they are learning from the top programs that the nation has to offer. Because Michigan’s economic development relies so heavily on an efficient transportation network, these future logistics gurus could be key in creating new jobs and helping the state maintain its status as a transportation stronghold. The continual improvement of supply chain education in Michigan is helping to establish our state as a true leader in the industry.

Michigan: King of Automation

West Michigan: King of Automation

With a long history as the automobile production capital of the United States, it’s no surprise that Michigan ranks as the most highly automated state in the nation. In fact, the state accounts for 12 percent of the country’s industrial robots. While Detroit remains the leader in the automation with 8.5 robots for every 1,000 workers, Western Michigan is experiencing an automation boom of its own. In Grand Rapids, there are 6.3 robots for every 1,000 workers, making it the most automated of all mid-size cities.

With automation sweeping across Western Michigan and robotic technologies continually improving, there are many changes taking place across various industries. Increased manufacturing output creates a need for more quality control and places a heavier burden on the supply chain. As more businesses flock to West Michigan, there is an amplified need to bring in their machines as well as ship out the items they produce. Supply chain managers must make changes to ensure they are keeping up with the improved efficiencies of automation.

Zip Xpress, a full-service provider of custom carrier solutions, has a long-standing reputation as one of West Michigan’s finest logistics companies. The experienced and professional staff at Zip Xpress is dedicated to creating the most efficient solutions for all of their customers. Because Zip continually strives to be a leader in supply chain management, they are sufficiently adapting with the changing climate of West Michigan’s manufacturing. This means they have the expertise and resources to fill in the gaps in any organization’s supply chain.

From office furniture to medical machinery, Zip is here to reliably transport their customer’s goods, providing the highest level of service throughout the process. Clients can focus on manufacturing and increasing automation while the specialists at Zip Xpress take over the shipping and supply chain functions. At Zip Xpress, problem-solving and transportation efficiency are prioritized, giving customers peace of mind that their products are safe and on time. If you are a manufacturer in West Michigan seeking a committed custom carrier solution, get started with Zip Xpress today!

Custom Carrier - Logistics

Zip Xpress: A Custom Carrier for Every Circumstance

The month of April has seen spot rates continue to climb for the transportation industry, and this trend isn’t slowing down. With a new trade war being fought and economic uncertainty looming across many industries, capacity has tightened accordingly. Manufacturers are constantly battling each other to secure the trucks they need to move their freight, and they are rightfully worried about the current trends. Some industries, in particular the furniture industry, have been handcuffed by new tariffs and rising material costs, making the trucking trends an even harder pill to swallow. Fortunately, Zip Xpress is here to help.

Zip Xpress provides comprehensive supply chain solutions to help their customers overcome any challenges that may arise during transport of their product. With an experienced customer service team dedicated to providing accurate updates and solving problems with full transparency, Zip Xpress can eliminate many of the worries that are currently plaguing customers of the transportation industry. Whether a customer needs assistance with warehousing operations or last-minute capacity for a critical shipment, the experts at Zip have the ability to take over and relieve some of the burden in these stressful times.

Zip Xpress believes in quality service as well as adapting to industry trends in order to maintain their reputation as a high-end carrier in Western Michigan. One of the industries that Zip specializes is office furniture, and they have proven to be reliable during these difficult times for furniture manufacturers. They are aware of the price increases in everything from raw materials and chemicals to spot rates and storage costs. They are committed to providing their customers with affordable and dependable logistics solutions to offset some of the losses experienced with the new economic turbulence. If you are a manufacturer and you are suffering from reduced capacity and skyrocketing rates, get started with Zip Xpress today!

domestic freight

The ELD Mandate and its Effects on Carrier Behavior

The first quarter numbers are out, and the transportation industry has seen major changes since passage of the ELD Mandate. While load-to-truck ratios and shipping rates have reached record highs, productivity has been drastically reduced. The new laws and requirements have had a dramatic effect on carrier behavior. This has consequently made it more difficult for shippers to get their products delivered according to their desired schedule. It is important to understand why certain decisions are being made on the carrier end as a result of these changes.

The electronic log books generally provide little room for error, so drivers are being far more discerning in the loads that they are willing to haul. Because they must meet tighter deadlines or risk being shut down and losing their next load, they are avoiding shipments that are susceptible to detention issues and longer loading times. This is a major problem in the grocery and produce sectors, so shippers in those parts are seeing rates go up and capacity decrease. Some drivers will flat-out refuse grocery shipments from certain shippers based on their reputations for detaining drivers. Increased rates on that shipment may not be enough to offset the potential loss of their next shipment as a result of detention.

There has also been a decrease in capacity for “borderline” lanes, or routes where the mileage is right on the cusp of the one-day or two-day barrier. ELD restrictions mean that drivers can’t make the mileage overnight, and their load may spill over into a second day on a shipment that used to take only one day. Major lanes like Chicago to Nashville, Philadelphia to Atlanta, and New York to Cleveland have all been affected by this. Carriers are asking for rates that are sometime more than double what they used to receive in order to make up for lost revenue while waiting around to finish these shorter lanes.

Another major change is in the market for dedicated runs. With pricing on the rise and capacity decreasing, carriers can pick and choose from the spot market and make more money than they used to with static runs. Market volatility has contributed to this, and it correlates heavily with the passing of the ELD mandate. Shippers should do themselves a favor and brush up on the spot market if they haven’t already, as these trends are likely to continue into the future. It may be a difficult time to adjust to these changes in the market, but as carriers have felt the effects of the mandate, they are more aware of what they need to do in order to remain profitable. If you need guidance on how the ELD mandate can affect your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress