Manufacturers – Is Your Supply Chain Ready?

It is no secret that the manufacturing sector has had to ride out many waves within the last year. Between creating new workplace procedures, adapting to rising material prices, backlogged orders and a potential surge in demand due to localized sourcing, manufacturers have a lot on their plate. While many of these issues appear to be a great problem to have, the risk comes when a manufacturer doesn’t have an adequate supply chain to handle all of these factors. Manufacturers that took a “wait-and-see” approach are going to struggle under the weight of these issues in keeping up with orders. As a result, revenues can decrease at a time when costs are rising, putting a serious impact on profitability.

The manufacturing sector is undergoing a massive shift and one of the key features is to build a supply chain that can handle this shift. As manufacturers redesign their supply chains to accommodate localized sources for suppliers, those that have partnered with trusted carriers have seen far more success in meeting the challenges of redesigning their supply chain. Carriers can provide unique solutions in ensuring deliveries are made and can give manufacturers the solutions they need to ensure their supply chains are able to handle any upcoming challenges. Whether you’re pushing to get orders out the door or preparing for more orders to come, a trusted carrier can advise on the best course of action.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of having a supply chain that suits your needs. We specialize in providing companies with the solutions they need to build the supply chain that can handle any challenge. These solutions come in the form of our custom carrier solutions, where we partner with a company and find the best course of action to ensure their products arrive undamaged and on time. We see every problem a shipper faces as our own problem and as a result, premium is the standard at Zip Xpress. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How Lean Supply Chains Help Drivers

For some companies, it may seem as though complex supply chains will help drive efficiency. For certain large corporations, agile, complicated supply chains are needed to carry out their massive operations. However, for most small and medium-sized businesses, complex supply chains can lead to more waste and longer delivery times.

The concept of a lean supply chain is not a new one, but it has become more popular in recent years due to an increased focus on waste reduction and sustainability. With the events of the past year exposing many of the flaws in bloated supply chains, businesses across the nation are re-evaluating their operations and finding where these operations can be pared down. This is good news for carriers and drivers, who benefit from having access to more shipments.

Lean supply chains focus on reducing waste and minimizing the time it takes to design, manufacture, and deliver a product. The increase in production allows for a greater number of items to be sold in a shorter period of time. It isn’t just about the number of shipments, though. When a supply chain is operating more efficiently, there are fewer delays throughout the life of any given shipment. This means that drivers are less likely to be affected by detention on either end of the shipment. Even a few extra hours with a shipper can add an entire day to delivery time due to hours-of-service regulations. When a warehouse can get a truck loaded quickly, they are helping both the customer and the driver.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of a lean supply chain. The benefits at creating a lean supply chain are immense and when companies are working together on their sustainability efforts, it is incredible what they’re able to accomplish. We can help shippers accomplish their goals of a leaner supply chain through our custom carrier solutions as well as shipment optimization so companies can be confident in their sustainability efforts. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing for Tough Terrain

Driving a truck is no simple task, and it becomes exponentially more difficult when a driver encounters rough terrain and sub-par roads. You may picture the Rocky Mountains or Appalachians when you think of difficult drives, but the truth is that there are challenges everywhere in the country. Even flatter areas with moderate climates can suffer from road erosion and lack of maintained infrastructure. Nevertheless, shipments still need to arrive. For drivers embarking on these routes, it is imperative that proper preparation routines and maintenance schedules are practiced.

Maintenance is vital for any truck, but improper maintenance is easily exposed on sub-par roads and in tough terrain. Drivers and fleet managers should inspect tires, electrical systems, brakes, and lights on a regular basis. If they notice even minor issues such as worn tread or a faulty switch, they should be addressed immediately. Doing so will minimize the chance that something disastrous could happen out on the road. These routine maintenance schedules help protect the drivers as well as give them trucks they prefer driving since they’re well cared for and the driver will in turn care for the truck.

Ahead of the trip, drivers should ensure that they are familiar with the roads on which they will be traveling. They can map out the route and note which roads may be unpaved or uneven, and try to find detours around them if possible. It is important to ensure that communications devices are fully charged and that the truck is stocked with emergency equipment in case of a breakdown or if the truck gets stuck. This prevents drivers from being stranded and allows the carrier to notify the customer and work through a contingency plan.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of routine maintenance schedules in keeping our fleet in prime condition. Ensuring all minor maintenance issues are addressed prevents risks to the driver and the shipment, helping us to get every shipment to the customer on time and undamaged. Our drivers understand and appreciate the care we show for our vehicles, which makes them satisfied and able to provide great customer service. We believe that doing the little things right add up, which is why premium is the standard at Zip Xpress. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Outlining the NSFP

The US Department of Transportation recently unveiled the National Freight Strategic Plan to help make the movement of freight safer and more efficient for manufacturers, shippers, carriers, and all other stakeholders. The plan provides a blueprint for improvements in infrastructure and growth of the overall workforce. The main goal is to improve the country’s competitiveness in the international market, but that can’t be done without first addressing domestic issues.

The plan to improve infrastructure is exciting news for anyone involved in the freight industry. Modernized roads, stronger bridges, and more efficient railroads will go a long way in providing more reliable service across the logistics industry. This goes hand in hand with their goal of improving the national freight network, which should allow for faster, more streamlined routes between major transportation hubs.

It isn’t all about infrastructure, though. The NFSP intends to invest in research, technology, and analytics at both the federal and state levels. These analytics are designed to provide municipalities with the understanding where their inefficiencies lie and give them ideas for a stronger future freight network. While such investments may not show immediate results, the long-term implications are positive in building an optimized logistics network.

The NFSP will also work to eliminate restrictive regulations that put strain on the supply chain with no real benefits. There is still a deep concern for safety, so it’s unlikely there will be a change to Hours of Service rules, but it could open up opportunities for interstate and international commerce. Essentially, it wants to get rid of or re-evaluate transportation regulations that inhibit innovation or decrease efficiency.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for an optimized supply chain on all levels. The National Freight Strategic Plan is a great start at addressing these issues on the national level, however many other steps need to be taken in order to create a fully sustainable and optimized supply chain. We help shippers navigate these challenges by providing the custom carrier solutions they need to ensure that every shipment is optimized and that they’re aware of their contribution towards a sustainable supply chain. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!