Supply Chain Resilience by Expecting the Unexpected

Expecting the unexpected has become a cornerstone of the logistics and supply chain playbook over the past few years. There’s good reason to believe this since there have been so many curve balls thrown into the American supply chain. The cumulative effect of these curveballs has resulted in congestion, backups, increased costs (material and shipping) and an assortment of challenges manufacturers face related to production. While nobody could have predicted the challenges we face, we can all agree that learning to expect the unexpected will create a more resilient supply chain and help build stronger companies.

The question becomes: how do we expect the unexpected? One of the key ways manufacturers can prepare for the unexpected is by working with a localized carrier that specializes in the regions where they primarily conduct business. Localized carriers with a regional focus will understand the variables that can delay a shipment such as weather patterns, highway construction and a myriad of others that can prevent getting your shipment to its destination on time. By asking these carriers “what happens when…?” will give you an idea of how prepared they are as well as providing you with the basic ideas for your own contingency plans.

Speaking of which, another way of expecting the unexpected is by developing contingency plans with every member of your supply chain. Opening all communication channels and utilizing the spirit of cooperation with every member of the supply chain allows for innovative solutions to come to the surface. When ideas are being shared, discoveries will inevitably arise. For example, your carrier may know a business that can manufacture a part your company needs or you discover a process that you want incorporated into your own organization. Keeping communication channels open at all times helps keep the supply chain running smoothly and ensures supply chain resilience.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand what it means to expect the unexpected. Our team is always in constant communication with every member of the supply chain because we schedule pickup and drop off for every shipment we handle. If anything changes we notify customers with a phone call so you always know what is happening with your shipments while they’re in our care. Our understanding of the regional market that we serve combined with our cooperative problem solving spirit offers you a vast array of options that will solve all of your logistical needs through our custom carrier solutions. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Careful Freight Handling Builds Supply Chain Resilience

As manufacturers navigate through their supply chain challenges, one of the crucial areas will be in how they manage their raw materials. Many articles explain how to recycle and reuse materials in an effort to reduce waste due to the increase in prices as well as possible labor shortages. One area that is being given little attention for manufacturers in their efforts to reduce waste is in shipping, especially at a time when capacity is so tight. While many manufacturers undoubtedly are grateful that their shipments are being delivered to customers, the frustration they experience when their freight arrives damaged is no doubt multiplied at a time when the manufacturer had to jump through so many hurdles to get that shipment to the customer.

When a shipment arrives damaged, it is not simply a matter of filing a claim with the carrier and then the issue is resolved. There’s the effort of securing new materials for the product, manufacturing the new product, scheduling the delivery with the customer and the labor costs through the entire process of creating a new product. Meanwhile, weeks have passed and you’re still waiting for the dispute to be resolved in getting compensation for the damaged shipment. This doesn’t even consider the non-monetary costs of lost trust in the carrier as well as damaged trust with the customer, since they’re forced to wait weeks (if not months in some industries) to receive their shipment.

Manufacturers would be wise to evaluate their carrier partners, especially at a time like this. They must ask themselves: are they working with a reliable carrier that understands their shipments or are they in search for the best rates and ‘anyone will do?’ The unfortunate truth is that we live in a time where spot market rates are rising and will likely continue to do so. In the meantime, manufacturers must find ways of mastering their supply chain. The first way of mastering their supply chain is by looking to their carriers to ensure they’re able to get all of their shipments to the customer on time and undamaged.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting a shipment to a customer on time and undamaged. Our speciality is in handling unique freight and providing careful consideration to all of the shipments we’re privileged to be working with. This is accomplished through our custom carrier solutions, methods in which we devise a shipping strategy that works for our customers, no matter what their situation. Many carriers would call such dedication to service the ‘white glove treatment’ but here at Zip Xpress, that’s our standard and it’s why we have a 99% satisfaction rating with our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Helping Freight Handlers

When people think of a logistics job that deserves respect, their first thoughts would likely be truck drivers. While drivers deserve such recognition, there is another position that is critical to the logistics field and deserves our praise: Freight Handlers. Freight Handlers are the vital behind-the-scenes workers who ensure that the shipments within the American supply chain arrive in a timely manner. These professionals ensure that goods get to the customers and without freight handlers, the supply chain would be much more chaotic.

Yet in these times of supply chain congestion, freight handlers are working harder than ever to get shipments to their destination. We sought out ways of keeping freight handlers safe and maximizing efficiency, thereby providing means of support to these invaluable workers. One of the most important ways to support freight handlers is to develop a process for a clean and efficient work environment. Keeping a clean and efficient warehouse is vital in helping freight handlers do their jobs and maintain their wellbeing. A clean warehouse reduces chances for an accident, since the last thing anyone wants is a freight handler slipping on an oil slick or tripping over refuse. A clean warehouse can also raise morale because it shows the dedication and pride freight handlers have for their work space.

Another way of providing freight handlers with support is by reviewing procedures to ensure that label creation is efficient while also making it easy for freight handlers to procure these labels. When a freight handler must walk from one end of the warehouse to the other multiple times a day, that can tire them out. Reducing this ‘back and forth’ will help reduce fatigue and improve efficiency. Whether these methods involve pre-printing labels, putting a printer on wheels or other means, empowering freight handlers to help create these procedures will get their support, since they are the ones that know the warehouse the best.

Here at Zip Xpress, we work hard to keep our freight handlers happy and show them the respect they deserve. We have one of the cleanest warehouses in the industry as well as procedures that keep shipments organized, which makes the lives of our freight handlers easier. We always listen to their ideas, which have yielded incredible results in the development of our warehouse processes and custom carrier solutions for our customers. It is because of our dedication from our freight handlers that we can ensure shipments will arrive undamaged and on time every time. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Stripping Inefficiencies Out of Loading and Unloading Process

During times of supply chain congestion, it is vital that every member of the supply chain look for inefficiencies in a concentrated effort of keeping shipments moving. One of the key areas that inefficiencies can thrive is the loading and unloading process. While the reasons may vary, inefficiencies with loading and unloading is a critical pain point, specifically for drivers. They have traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles to reach their destination at the designated appointment time only to be told to wait. Once a driver arrives at their destination, there is little they can do other than wait since they cannot simply drive the shipment back. 

Being forced to wait in this manner is one of the key factors as to why there is a driver shortage. All too often drivers aren’t treated as professionals, and there is little concern shown about their wellbeing when they’re forced to wait two to six hours for their shipment to be unloaded. Any attempt to enforce fees from extensive waiting is unlikely to go over well and as a result, nobody makes any money when this happens. Word spreads about warehouses that make drivers wait, primarily through Google Reviews, which can cause carriers to be hesitant to deliver a shipment to such a location or a raise in rates to compensate for long unloading times. In this instance one or both results occur: longer shipping times or more expensive shipping rates, neither of which are good for a shipper.

The best way to eliminate this inefficiency is for a collaboration between shippers, carriers and warehouse managers. Scheduling loading/unloading times, keeping communication lines constantly open and sticking to the shipments schedule will go a long way in cementing a great relationship between shippers, warehouse managers and carriers. Once all members of the party understand where the inefficiencies lie, they can take proactive measures to reduce or even eliminate them, creating a more efficient supply chain at a time when we need it most. This collaboration can prevent many headaches, fees and rates from spiraling out of control.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of collaborating with shippers and customers when it comes to loading and unloading shipments. We schedule calls for pickup and delivery, taking out all of the guesswork in this process. From there our professional drivers will arrive precisely when they need to, making the entire process painless for our customers and their customers. Companies appreciate the extra effort we take in coordinating deliveries, which is why we’re able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rate with our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!