Trucking and Disaster Relief

Although Hurricane Laura did not reach the catastrophic levels that were predicted, it still devastated areas of Louisiana and is considered the strongest to have ever hit the state. 2,000 miles west, California is fighting their own natural disasters with wildfires and extreme heat ravaging the state. The US is a highly diverse geographic region, making it susceptible to multiple types of disasters at any given time of year. Fortunately, our interstate highway system and dedication to expedited logistics allows carriers to provide relief to those in need. At the center of many of these relief efforts lie some of the hardest workers in the country – truckers.

Although immediate catastrophe generally requires helicopter and water rescue, trucks are essential for bringing relief products to affected areas. FEMA shipments can be filled with food, medical supplies, and pop-up shelters for those who have lost their homes to disaster, and without the expansive trucking network in place in the USA, much of this would take longer to get where it needs to. It should be noted that drivers are often taking risks heading to these areas, so they can rightfully be seen as heroes in instances where they are willing to fight inclement weather in order to bring supplies to those in need.

Whether it’s a hurricane, wildfires, or a blizzard, the people of our nation are more than willing to help each other out, even those across the country. Truckers who move disaster relief materials are doing a major service to our nation and to our people, and it is important to recognize their efforts in aiding other disaster relief workers during difficult times. It isn’t easy to take on these jobs, both from a logistical and personal standpoint, but somebody somewhere is willing to do it.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the hard work drivers put in when reaching these disaster zones. Communication is key with the receivers in the affected areas. Circumstances can change very quickly and unexpectedly in a disaster zone so staying current as the situation develops is crucial. We honor and respect the arduous task before drivers as they ensure crucial items are delivered even in hazardous conditions and are willing to help whenever needed. To see this dedication to service for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Future of Trucking Technology

You may not look at trucking as an industry that breaks technological barriers or pushes the limits of innovation. After all, most trucks run by using the same core mechanisms and fuel types as they have for decades. However, the antiquated image of trucking is only surface deep, and there have been countless impressive ideas behind the scenes that have improved supply chain efficiencies and made it easier for all of us to receive food, clothing, and shelter.

You are probably aware of concepts such as electric and autonomous trucks – machinery that has already been put into action on a small scale. But these big-ticket items aren’t the only innovations that we have seen from the trucking world. There are some major improvements on the horizon, and they could change the future of logistics as we know it.

Software To Assist Drivers: New trucks are already equipped with all sorts of software to enhance driveability and improve safety, but there is much more to come. As road vehicles become more interconnected, we can expect to see new programs such as sign recognition software that will alert the driver of speed limits and changes in road conditions.

IoT Connectivity: The Internet of Things is the theory of interconnected automated processes and it has already infiltrated the trucking industry. Many trucks are currently connected and capable of receiving/transmitting data 24 hours a day. This will continue to increase, as it is predicted that 80 billion IoT devices will be connected by 2025, which will allow innovations with data and new understanding for logistics practices.

Increased Human Focus: While it seems like all of this technology will take the jobs out of the hands of people, humans are still the number one concern and the reason that they work. Technology will continue to be used to increase safety for both the drivers on the road and those around them, and more jobs will become available in the logistics industry as more people will be needed to harness and understand these technologies.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that optimization is a process. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, but it will never replace the need for great service. Many of the key problems that exist in logistics can’t be solved with a computer, and companies will always want special attention given to their shipment. It is important to remember this even with the groundbreaking innovations coming in the years ahead. When you need a customized carrier solution that works to ensure your shipment will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Finding Your Niche in Transportation

Transportation is a wide-ranging industry, with opportunities for all types of people. However, it can be a challenge to find the exact position that you’re looking for. The advantage of having such a diverse group of positions is that you can learn transferable skills which may help you find success even if you switch into a different role. As you gain more knowledge about logistics and transportation, there’s a good chance that something will open up for you, even if the fundamentals of the job are vastly different.

Some people may start with driving a truck but realize that life on the road isn’t right for them. Others may find that life in an office is tedious and want to see the open road. The good news is that the time spent in these positions allows them to learn many skills that could translate into becoming successful dispatchers, operations managers, mechanics, or even sales representatives. Every new set of skills provides an appreciation for the other jobs within the company and the acquired knowledge will prove incredibly valuable in the long run, making these individuals prime employees.

Another key for success is to keep an open mind and a willingness to communicate with others in the industry since they can help you find the resources to succeed, whether in your current position or if you seek to advance. Most companies allow some form of job shadowing so you can see for yourself if a role interests you. Others can recommend courses you can take. Whether this means shadowing a truck driver to start your new job on the road or taking some supply chain courses at a local university, there are a world of opportunities out there, and most of them are here to stay for the long run. Logistics offers an amazing opportunity with lots of potential for the long run.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of a highly trained staff. We pride ourselves on being able to provide you with a quote within minutes, since most members of our staff are trained on how to provide one. Every member of our staff provides input in solving the problems we encounter on a daily basis. As a result, we’re able to create the best custom carrier solutions for every business we work with. Want to find out for yourself? Start today with Zip Xpress!

The Latest Trend in Office Spaces

The past few months have certainly changed the world as we know it. Working schedules have shifted, new online tools are being utilized and the American economy continues to adapt to the changing circumstances. Logistics has proven its resilience, with trucks continuing on the road and freight handlers managing warehouses, but one lingering question remains: what about office staff?

With speculation rampant about the future of office work, what we’re seeing at Zip Xpress is an increased demand for partitions, workstation screens and dividers. This means that offices are moving away from the open office environment and placing these dividers so employees can adhere to social distancing practices. This also allows employees to sanitize their workstations as they see fit and provides the workspace necessary to be productive. Employees overwhelmingly believe that fellow employees will respect social distancing guidelines and each other’s work space. Productivity will likely increase in the future since employees will have their own space to work, but still be able to socialize.

In either case, communication will be more important than ever. Employees appreciated the compassion and understanding executives showed earlier this year, and wish for this to continue. Employees hope to hear encouragement from executives to take walks and small breaks and deeply appreciate the communication from executives on what their companies are doing to keep employees safe.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for companies to get back to business. Companies are adapting and changing their office spaces for the good of their employees because they understand that companies are made of people. They want their employees to stay safe, healthy and secure as they return to work. The trend we’re seeing as the office space evolves makes this very clear, and we’re proud to be a part of it. If you need help in ensuring your office furniture arrives undamaged and on time to your customer, start today with Zip Xpress!

More Hope for Aspiring Logistics Professionals

The world of logistics is always evolving. For those looking to make a splash in the industry, a quality education is invaluable. The good news is that there are hundreds of colleges that offer logistics and supply chain education, and the better news is that the DOT just granted $4.9 million dollars to four new university transportation research centers. This opens up even more opportunities for the next generation of logistics professionals and transportation innovators.

These grants, designed to support research and development of transportation technology, have been awarded to Ohio State University, Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh, and Georgia Institute of Technology. These schools will work in conjunction with University of California (Berkeley and Irvine), University of Texas, University of Tennessee, and University of Kentucky to study and develop programs involving automated transportation systems and vehicles, communications technologies, public transportation, and mobility services.

This is excellent news for anybody looking to start a career in logistics, as there will be opportunities to work on these programs at schools throughout the nation. Even if a student doesn’t attend one of the schools mentioned, the implications are clear – the DOT understands the importance of logistics and will continue to invest in such programs at schools across the country. That said, while a quality education is vital in this field, there is no substitute for great service. To the next generation going into this great field, we advise to remember the human side of logistics and to help the people involved every step of the way in any way you can.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of a great education. We hope that the DOT continues investing in logistics programs – especially into schools here in Michigan. We also hope that the next generation doesn’t forget about the importance of service. We have many young professionals who have not forgotten so when it comes to ensuring your shipment will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Bouncing Back in Shipping

While many challenges lie ahead in the coming months, companies have shown just how resilient they can be. These challenges have already created new solutions and innovations in a number of industries. The logistics industry is composed perhaps of the most resilient workers in the world. Their ingenuity and strong work ethic are paving the way for future success during a critical time when innovation is needed most.

Non-essential industries that were shut down at the height of the pandemic took a big hit earlier this year. Loss of revenue as well as loss of products that couldn’t be shipped are not easy obstacles to overcome. However, shipping volumes have increased, and more people are going back to work. Companies that communicated with vendors and customers about what they were up against will manage to see this through. Embracing innovation, communication and transparency have allowed companies to weather the storm and will provide solutions for the future. While every company is different, communication, transparency and the encouragement of innovation will surely help during times of uncertainty.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need to embrace these three values. We focus on communication by ensuring that anyone who calls our office will be answered by a human being, not a machine. We create innovative solutions because we solicit ideas from our staff. We’re also transparent with all of our stakeholders because we understand the current challenges we all face. There will always be a need for goods to be delivered, but every company faces a different challenge. If you would like to see how we can develop a custom carrier solution that suits your needs, start today with Zip Xpress!

A New Career in Trucking

Americans have been hit hard in recent months, with layoffs or furloughs being the latest threat to job security. We’re facing many difficulties and uncertainties in the job market, but as the economy opens back up, new positions will become available. One of these positions presents an unexpectedly lucrative opportunity since it will always be needed – the truck driver.

Traversing the open road and delivering goods may not be what most have in mind when considering a new career path, but it can be a very lucrative – and fulfilling – job to take on. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in truck driving, and people have many different options from which to choose. If you’ve always wanted to see different parts of the country and enjoy your independence, you might consider a long-haul career. For those who don’t mind being away for a few days but still want to get back home for the weekends – regional driving jobs are abundant. And even if you want to come home every night and sleep in your own bed, you can become a final-mile or local driver.

No matter what route you choose, there is still a strong need for more drivers in this country, and many companies are willing to pay for or co-sponsor your training to ensure you have all the tools required to succeed. This career path is one of the most stable, essential and customizable around. Many logistics providers do their best to accommodate their drivers and treat them with the respect they deserve. You will go home knowing you’ve done honest work for one of the most crucial sectors of the economy – after all, there will always be a need for groceries, clothing, furniture and other goods to be delivered across the country.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that most people don’t realize that trucking is a viable career choice. It is an opportunity to serve a grateful customer base and share in the joys of delivering their purchased product. Drivers are the “face” of most logistics companies and with a can-do attitude and hard work ethic, they will inevitably find success. To work with one of our smiling drivers in your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

Watching the Weather

Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, hazardous weather conditions can appear at any time. Severe weather can cause accidents for unprepared drivers, delay shipments or cause damage to freight. Prepared drivers can avoid most accidents, but even the most prepared can be delayed due to unforeseen issues and cause a delay in the shipment’s arrival. Companies expecting shipments should keep an eye on the weather and develop a communication plan with their carrier in the event bad weather forces a change in plan.

When creating a communication plan with your carrier, be sure to consider weather conditions across the country. Just because it’s sunny at your office doesn’t mean a pop up thunderstorm won’t cause delays on the interstate a thousand miles away. Understanding that weather may cause delays in shipment will go a long way in ensuring driver safety since the driver could be in danger due to an unforeseen storm. It’s also important to remember that dispatch teams are doing everything they can to warn drivers of potentially hazardous conditions, because sudden storms can cause accidents that were impossible to predict, let alone prepare for.

Your communication plan should include contingencies in the event a shipment is delayed. Drivers are no doubt doing their best to get your shipment to you in a timely manner, but developing an internal plan for the unexpected gives breathing room for every organization. Working with the carrier to schedule the delivery will work wonders to put your mind at ease in the event that a storm causes a delay. Communication is key, even when the unexpected occurs. The top priority is the safety of a driver and we’re certain that every organization recognizes this fact.

At Zip Xpress, we understand this need for constant communication even during times of unforeseeable weather conditions. We work with our partners to ensure that their deliveries will arrive on time and undamaged, but we will always put the safety of our drivers above all else. Ensuring they can go home safely is top priority, but we have extensive communication plans in place with our customers so that if a storm will affect the timing of their shipment, they’ll be the first to know. To see how you can create a communication plan like this for your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Sustainability in the Furniture Industry

Sustainability was once confined as a lofty goal for the most idealistic of companies, but now it has been shown time and again that it is a necessity in order for companies to succeed. The furniture industry has proven to be one of the most willing to embrace sustainability initiatives. In this article we are highlighting the advances being made in this dynamic industry.

The first advancement has to do with the sourcing of sustainable materials. Manufacturers are performing incredible due diligence when sourcing sustainably harvested lumber, since this is one of the most difficult materials to source. They also perform numerous tests on lumber materials to ensure they can make sturdy furniture. Fabric is another material that’s changing how it’s being sourced, with a return to materials such as cotton, wool and feathers since synthetic materials are not perceived to be as sustainable.

Manufacturing practices are also advancing with a focus on using recycled alloys if the furniture piece requires metal – even nuts and bolts can be formed using these materials. Water based adhesives are being used to bond fabric instead of chemical-based adhesives that can harm the environment. Furniture manufacturers are increasingly re-using excess materials during production and working harder than ever to reduce excess waste. The last method of creating a seamlessly sustainable product is the elimination of packaging materials used when shipping the furniture to customers. Working with a sustainable carrier will ensure that your products will arrive undamaged and on time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that consumers and businesses want to see their furniture be manufactured sustainably. We also understand that furniture manufacturers don’t want to see their products damaged during transit which is why we offer our blanket wrap solution which eliminates the need for packaging and protects the finished product for the customer. Furniture manufacturers are one of the leaders in sustainability and it’s our privilege to help them create a more sustainable economy. To see how we can help your business become more sustainable, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Truckers Cool in the Summertime

Summer is in full swing, and freight volumes have continued to rise, meaning that there are more drivers on the road than there have been in several months. Certain areas across the country have been hit with incredibly hot weather, with temperatures reaching the 90s and higher across the Great Plains and in the Southwest. This can mean uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions for our country’s truck drivers, who are in their cabins for hours at a time and even sleep in them overnight on long haul trips. This is why driver’s must be vigilant in taking the necessary precautions to prevent both themselves and their trucks from overheating.

Use – and Maintain – Air Conditioning

This sounds like a no-brainer, but air conditioning is very important during sweltering summer days. Most drivers have no problems using it, but it is vital to remember to check antifreeze levels and other components to ensure a safe, cool ride against the beating sun.

Blankets are Your Friend

You might wonder why anybody would want blankets in the middle of the summer, but they are very useful – just not in the way you might expect. For leather seats that tend to get extra hot after sitting in the sun, blankets can prevent overheating. Placing a blanket over your seat while you run into a truck stop or right before you sit down can add exponential levels of comfort while driving. They can also be helpful in covering electronic devices to keep them cool on bright days.

Sunburn is No Joke

Many truckers are familiar with the perils of the dreaded half-sunburn. Due to driving on the left side, the left side of your body, specifically your arm and face, can really take a beating if you don’t apply sunblock regularly. Applying 30 SPF sunscreen once every two hours should be enough to protect from harmful ultraviolet rays

Breaks are Essential

We know that drivers are legally required to take breaks, but in this type of weather it may be beneficial to allot extra times for short breaks when discomfort hits. Even 10-15 minutes at a rest stop to sit in air conditioning and rehydrate can go a long way for your physical and mental health. Taking along a thermos full of frozen water bottles can also help ensure you have a ready supply of cool water that will help keep you hydrated.

At Zip Xpress, we understand how hard truck drivers work, especially during the summer months. We hope these practical tips will help make all the difference in keeping drivers cool during the long summer days. To see how our hardworking drivers can service your freight, start today with Zip Xpress!