Every Mile Counts: Why Route Optimization is Vital in Shipping

It may seem like common sense that any company involved in the shipping process should try to find the most efficient path for every shipment. However, there are still many out there who simply rely on GPS directions to get them from point A to point B. While this isn’t necessarily detrimental and can certainly work on a load by load basis, there are far more steps that can be taken to optimize routing and maximize efficiency. With new technologies, specialized employees, and a world of information at our fingertips, we can now plan for delays and analyze trends better than ever before. When all of these things are working together, carriers, shippers, and manufacturers will reap the benefits of lower costs, better on-time delivery numbers, and more overall success.

Optimization is especially important when handling consolidated shipments for multiple customers. A driver with one single truckload shipment may be able to allot more time for expected delays due to traffic, weather, or other outside factors. On the other hand, a driver carrying a variety of products going to different locations doesn’t have as much leeway when it comes to delays. One small traffic incident can cause him to miss his first appointment, which in turn will put more pressure on him to make each subsequent appointment after the fact. This is why so many logistics companies are employing analysts and investing in technology in order to find the best routes and make planning for delays more predictable. A single missed delivery due to weather isn’t the end of the world, but when we can analyze data and come up with new optimization plans, we are setting ourselves up for more success in the future.

At Zip Xpress, we factor in everything when it comes to ensuring your freight will arrive undamaged and on time. We operate as a team, seeking new and better solutions, even when previous efforts were satisfactory. We strive for excellence every time and we collaborate on what we can do better for the future. Our planners and customer service specialists ensure that everything was correct with the load before it leaves our warehouse. We optimize our routes and operate under the highest efficiency every day. We set goals to do everything better with a focus on continuous improvement. To see how we can optimize your route with your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Importance of Accuracy

Technology has continually made shipping goods more convenient, efficient, and reliable. From a single person sending a small-package gift to a friend cross-country to a major corporation scheduling hundreds of truckloads in a day, many shipping operations can be successfully carried out with just a few simple keystrokes. This has led to expansion and profit growth throughout the industry, but our tendency to rely on simplification can often lead to large problems down the road. Even with lightning-fast software and increasingly impressive AI making transportation more automated, we have to be sure to double check all of our work to guarantee accuracy during every step of any given shipment.

Because computers have become so central to the booking process for many transportation companies, the information in a shipment may pass through several systems and be relayed to multiple warehouses before a second human even takes a look at it. While these computers are highly capable of providing this information to each other, they cannot make up for any errors that were made during the initial data entry phase of the shipment. This means that the human operator at the beginning needs to make sure to double and triple check every line of data to prevent catastrophic problems down the line. Shipping and receiving addresses may seem rudimentary, but a single mistyped digit in the zip code could throw the entire shipment off. Failing to provide the correct PO number or dock door could lead to driver detention at the shipper, costing money for the customer and carrier. All of these could be prevented by simple accuracy checks and SOPs that ensure all workers are paying close attention to their data.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of accuracy in the logistics world. We know that time invested at the beginning of any process will most certainly save time in the long run, as backtracking to fix a problem requires far more work than preventing the error in the first place. It is inevitable to encounter mistakes in any industry, but our detail-oriented, hard-working philosophy allows us to minimize the number of simple mistakes, thus reducing the negative effect of larger problems down the road. To see our accuracy with your shipment, start today at Zip Xpress!

Looking Back at the ELD Mandate

When the ELD Mandate was originally proposed, many in the transportation industry were vehemently opposed to it. How could they continue to remain profitable while taking on fewer shipments? Why should they be regulated in a way that affects their ability to do business? When the mandate was approved, there was panic and anger across the field. But logistics is an industry made up of resilient individuals, and many people found a way to train, adapt, and eventually accept the reality of the ELD Mandate. Here are some changes made since December 2017.

While training has always been a vital part of logistics, many companies – especially smaller ones – invested more in training their employees on safety and compliance. It was necessary for drivers who had always used paper logbooks to understand the new system and be prepared for the changes. Those companies who trained found themselves at an advantage when the mandate was finally implemented. Other companies found themselves blindsided by the new rules, but they too eventually adapted and learned the rules, and violations dropped by almost half within the first year.

The mandate didn’t only affect carriers. Customers began to realize that they had to run their warehouses more efficiently. Keeping drivers detained for long periods of time became a bigger problem because it often meant they wouldn’t be able to make the transit without shutting down. This was especially true on the longer mile one-day shipments. While this also required training and preparation, it has proven to be a net positive for many manufacturers as they have been able to pump out more shipments in a shorter amount of time. It has also made for stronger relationships between carriers and customers. So, while the mandate still has its criticisms, many of them valid, one thing that most logistics professionals can agree on is that it showed the grit, determination, and never-say-die attitude that is prevalent across the industry. To stay ahead of the ELD mandate with all of your shipping needs, start today with Zip Xpress!

Specialized Freight – Highlighting Furniture

For some manufacturers, packing and loading freight is a simple, uniform process that doesn’t require a whole lot of planning. If you are shipping a single type of food or beverage product, you can package the boxes neatly on a standard size pallet, and easily load the pallets side by side on the truck. However, not all manufacturers produce such uniform products, and a significant amount of planning is required for each particular shipment. Office furniture is one industry where careful dedication and planning for each shipment is needed.

Our furniture industry partners can’t rely on shipping boxes of pieces and parts to their destination. They don’t want to see office chairs or desks chipped during transport, which is why they don’t work with most carriers. An entirely different process is needed to handle the non-uniform shapes of office furniture, including load bars, straps and e-tracks which help secure the freight during transit. Office furniture requires meticulous care, which is why many carriers don’t wish to handle this highly specialized freight. Since office furniture happens to be one of West Michigan’s largest sectors of the economy, we focused on providing these companies with the care and attention they deserved.

Zip Xpress specializes in handling office furniture better than other carriers. We utilize load bars, straps, and blanket wrap to ensure safe delivery to the customer. The result is excellent customer service for everyone involved. Our meticulous handling and experienced dock workers ensure that every shipment is treated with care, and our shipments are able to arrive undamaged and on time. No company wants to see chipped office desks or ripped chairs. Let Zip Xpress find the custom carrier solution that works for you. When you see for yourself how we handle your freight, you’ll understand why so many shippers trust Zip Xpress. To see what custom carrier solutions we can create for your office furniture, start today with Zip Xpress!

Minimal Skids

The Future of Packaging

In order for goods to be transported across the country, they must be held together in some sort of packaging. Whether these goods show up in plastic bags, cardboard boxes, or glass jars, it is likely that everything you purchase will come in a container. Packaging for food, electronics, clothing, and pretty much everything under the sun has made things extremely convenient for manufacturers and end consumers. However, as we become more aware of the problems that much of this packaging is causing for the environment, innovations are being made across the industry to mitigate these negative effects.

Manufacturers of biodegradable packaging have become major players in the game, and companies across the world are switching over to biodegradable or reusable packaging for many of their products. This, however, is just the beginning. Packaging companies have tapped into the scientific world, engineering new compounds that make for thinner and lighter yet stronger packaging that is still environmentally friendly. This has allowed shippers to load more freight onto every truck, helping to minimize transportation costs while maximizing profits. The investment in green packaging has been beneficial not only for our habitat, but also for business.

The ultimate goal for many is to eliminate the need for disposable packaging altogether. Clearly you can’t just ship a load of ball bearings with no sort of containers, but minimizing the usage of wasteful, non-recyclable materials is a major win for customers, manufacturers, and everyone involved throughout the supply chain. At Zip Xpress, we encourage our customers to eliminate unnecessary packaging, and even ship their freight with no packaging whenever it is possible. This ensures that we can maximize our efficiency to move the largest amount of freight while leaving behind a smaller carbon footprint. It may not seem much on a shipment by shipment basis, but it truly adds up, and if we can influence others to follow our initiative, we will be happy that we had a positive impact on cleaning up the world that has provided us with so much. To show you how we can save on packaging with your shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!