Reducing Waste in Manufacturing

These days, it isn’t just fringe, forward-thinking manufacturers that are concerned about reducing their carbon footprint. Going green and focusing on eco-friendly initiatives is now virtually a requirement to keep your business running smoothly. It isn’t just about being concerned about the environment – many manufacturers have realized that they can save money and bolster their bottom line by reducing the amount of waste they produce and minimizing the amount of energy used to create their products. There’s no doubt that this has a positive impact on the environment and on international business, and there are several things that forward-looking manufacturers can do to continue to reduce their waste.

One of the biggest culprits in the world of waste is packaging. Plastic packaging is especially difficult to recycle and often gets thrown into landfills where it accumulates at high rates. Manufacturers should focus on limiting the amount of packaging they use – especially plastic packaging – with the goal of eliminating packaging altogether if their product lines allow it. In fact, Zip Xpress encourages all their customers to set a goal of shipping without any packaging whatsoever. This contributes not only by reducing the amount of waste they are putting into the environment, but also by maximizing their truck space resulting in fewer total miles driven for delivery. If packaging can’t be eliminated entirely, companies should focus on using sustainable, recyclable, and reusable packaging.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that packaging may be the major factor right now, but there are other processes that can be improved throughout the manufacturing and supply chain process. Adopting lean logistics systems with high turnover and low inventory levels can also help prevent spoilage or obsolescence, which both contribute to more waste as plants throw out product that can’t be used. By focusing on improving inefficient processes, warehouses can lower both tangible waste and reduce the amount of energy required to make their product. To see how we can help make your processes more sustainable, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing for the Holiday Season

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and while they can be a joyful, relaxing time in our personal lives, they can be a cause for added stress professionally. This is especially true for those who are involved in supply chains, as time-critical shipments increase and capacity can become scarce. Add in last minute requests, and you have a lot of things that can potentially go wrong. This is why it’s so important for businesses to place a priority on proactive communication, and to set realistic expectations ahead of time.

Anybody in logistics knows that it is better to ask permission than to seek forgiveness. This means that you should account for anything that could happen, and communicate it with your customer, developing a backup plan just in case it does. When you have an agreed upon plan in place, you’ll have a much easier time correcting an error than if you have to shuffle to fix it at the last minute. Everybody involved in any shipment – manufacturers, wholesalers, carriers, and end receivers – needs to be aware of the additional workload that the holiday season can bring. When people are empathetic to the burdens of others, they will take necessary actions such as placing orders early to allow extra time, clearing up warehouse space when possible, or expediting shipments with team drivers.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that nobody wants to get a call about a delayed shipment as they are heading to a holiday party, and the best way to avoid this is to look at other businesses in your supply chain as part of your team. Taking the first steps in planning for adversity can go a long way in easing the transition into the holidays, and your customers and vendors will be thankful for it. After all, they likely have plans for relaxation and family fun as well! To see how we can help ease the holiday rush, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing Trucks for Winter

It may only be October, but several parts of the US are already experiencing early snowfall and preparing for potential blizzards. For truck drivers, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared, lest they caught in unexpected weather and need to shut down. From mechanical precautions to personal safety measures, there are a variety of steps that should be taken for the winter before a truck is sent on the road. Some of these simply make driving more comfortable, but others can save lives.

Test Batteries

Batteries take a lot of abuse over the summer, but can be drained quickly in extreme weather, so fall is the perfect time to test them to ensure that they are in good shape.

Check Starting Systems

The mechanisms that help a truck start are sensitive to weather changes and general wear-and-tear, so these should be checked thoroughly. Many drivers understand how they work and are able to perform a quality assessment, but it doesn’t hurt to have a mechanic check them out for some added assurance.

Ensure Proper Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Tires are a key component of safe driving at any time of year, but they become even more important in the winter. It is vital to make sure that they are inflated to the proper level and that the tread is not worn down. While new tires can be expensive, it is worth it to prevent slipping and sliding on ice, as well as to improve fuel mileage.

Add Fuel Additives to Prevent Gelling in the Fuel Line

Diesel fuel is known to gel in colder temperatures. At 32 degrees fahrenheit, the wax in liquid form will crystallize and leave the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees, it will finally start to gel and clog the tank and fuel filters. Fuel additives will also boost fuel economy, make trucks run smoother and longer. It’s a small investment that prevents many timely delays.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Every driver should have an emergency kit inside the cabin. At the very least, this should contain a first aid kit, extra clothes, non-perishable food items, flares, batteries, a radio, and water. These can be of utmost importance if the truck breaks down miles away from the next exit.

At Zip Xpress we understand the importance of reliability. This possibly more crucial during the winter months that at any time of the year due to the potential for weather delays, sudden snowstorms and other hazards that can occur. However, you’ll see that we take the time to optimize our trucks and ensure we’re checking them and preparing for the winter months ahead. Our aim is to keep our drivers safe and comfortable so they have the extra time they need to ensure reliable delivery. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How Important is the Supply Chain?

When you place a large order for your company, you may not think about what’s going on behind the scenes. You finalize the order details with your vendor and walk away, happy that you’ll be able to receive your freight within a few days. However, once you place that order, hundreds of gears start moving across the supply chain. Whether it involves robots designed specifically to locate a single item or dock workers loading up multiple pallets of goods, there is a complex system firing on all cylinders that is essential in fulfilling your order. This is true for something as small as a single box of sensitive product to an entire truckload of raw materials.

While they may not always be conscious of it, customers are drawn to manufacturers who have well-oiled supply chains that keep product moving along quickly and safely. In fact, if someone isn’t talking about their supply chain, that’s probably a good thing, signaling that they aren’t experiencing constant headaches regarding production, storage, or transit times. The best supply chain is one that works quietly in the background, churning out shipment after shipment as satisfied customers receive their product. If it is running as smoothly as possible, the end consumer shouldn’t even have to think about what’s happening throughout the life of a shipment.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that it’s essential to create a reliable, efficient and trustworthy partnership with all of our stakeholders. We understand that building a customer-centric supply chain helps grow your business and build trust with your customers. When a shipment arrives when you say it will, that’s great customer service. We believe in helping our customers ensure that every shipment arrives undamaged and on time. Our focus on optimization will help you understand just how important the supply chain is. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Product Moving

Whether your company owns your warehouse or you rent space from a third party, it is expensive and wasteful to have product sitting on the shelves for any excessive period of time. Inventory planning is an essential role in every organization’s supply chain, and should be taken seriously and evaluated regularly. The key to maximizing efficiency and maintaining a lean supply chain is to have just enough inventory ready to be shipped without running into shortages. This, of course, is easier said than done, but there are several ways manufacturers can make it happen.

Keeping track of previous trends and future projections is one of the biggest factors in planning your inventory. If you’ve maintained a steady level of growth over the past year, you’ll likely need to plan for higher stock levels in order to meet demand. With this comes your minimum inventory calculation. You want to be sure that you have enough stock to meet a customer’s demands in case of a spike in orders, but you don’t want to go overboard and have inventory sitting in a warehouse and costing money. So, this requires a safety stock level that will allow you to fulfill orders if you encounter an unexpected increase. Unfortunately, that will cost money in storage, but the key is to calculate how much money you would lose if you couldn’t fulfill customer orders and hedge against that. Even with storage fees, you’ll be more profitable if you are able to meet expectations.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of being able to move inventory consistently. Our dedicated and experienced team can help you manage your inventory and adapt with your shipping timelines. We’ll create a customized carrier solution that suits the needs of your business, so you don’t have to rely on the ad hoc market. To see how we can keep your product moving, start today with Zip Xpress!