Solidifying Your Carrier Network

Manufacturers no doubt deeply understand the value of a trusted carrier network that provides a predictable and reliable means of transporting shipments to the customer. Shippers have become more selective in designing their network due to the events of the past two years, but a lingering question remains: how do manufacturers solidify their carrier networks? It is a great challenge to hire these carriers on your own, so here are some strategies businesses can utilize to solidify their carrier network.

There Are Too Many Carriers

One of the most common issues for shippers is: which carrier is the right one? There is no doubt that finding a carrier to help solidify your network will not be an easy task. This is not a step that is to be taken lightly or simply pushed off to a freight broker. Performing due diligence by reviewing carrier websites, talking to their customers and conducting research will go a long way in ensuring that you partner with the carrier that is right for your business. Pay attention to word of mouth as well since many of the best business relationships are created when great companies are paired with other great companies.

Too Much to Manage

When building a carrier network there’s always a chance that you may never encounter some carriers again and with the paperwork involved in contracts, insurance and other variables it can be too much to manage at times. While it may be tempting to use a broker to negotiate with these carriers, developing a long term relationship will be far more advantageous for your business since you won’t have to constantly ‘reevaluate’ the carriers your broker brings you. You will also develop an understanding of the nuances each carrier offers your business as well as determine the predictability these relationships offer your business. When you only work with a broker, you are at the mercy of market forces rather than being proactive in the development and optimization of your supply chain. Companies that have taken the time to solidify their carrier network have proven to be more resilient and can rely on that network no matter what happens.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the value of solidifying your carrier network. The value we provide to our customers is the insulation from uncertainties during times of duress as well as providing options to our customers at a time when they need them most. We specialize in unique freight that must be treated with care and optimizing these shipments on behalf of our customers, creating an experience unlike any other. We pride ourselves in creating a vibrant experience for our customers, which is why we maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with the businesses we partner with. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Strengthening West Michigan’s Supply Chain

The past few years have shown all of us how one impact in our supply chains can have a domino effect, even here in West Michigan. Everyone is working hard to put the pieces of their supply chains back together, whether that’s working with suppliers to find new sources of raw materials, or developing new inventory management systems. West Michigan businesses will face many challenges, but here are a few areas businesses can review when working to strengthen their supply chains.

Identify Weak Spots to Improve Workflows

If you have not done so already, it is vital to review your supply chain and any weak spots in an effort to improve workflows. Investing time and resources into updating (or sometimes creating) processes to make your business more effective pays dividends in the long run. You can also determine which inventory strategies work best for your business as well as reviewing suppliers of crucial parts and materials. These efforts in taking steps to limit disruptions will make your business more resilient in an environment where reliability is now a competitive advantage.

Multiple Contingency Plans

Every business leader knows the value of a good contingency plan, however there are times when you don’t need just a Plan B, but also a Plan C & D. Working with your supply chain partners to develop these contingency plans will help you and your stakeholders feel more secure in your decisions and ability to move forward. It’s also vital to recognize that such contingency plans are developed on an ongoing basis since there are so many variables that can change on a dime. As you assess your sourcing strategy and develop plans based on customer demands, you can become proactive by determining what you need, when you need it and place your orders accordingly.

Closer Collaboration

The last area that deserves attention in overcoming supply chain fragility in West Michigan is communication and collaboration. Since there are so many links in the supply chain, it is important to develop a communication plan with everyone involved as well as developing a vision that everyone can share. Making phone calls and discussing how companies can work together in the long run will also reduce the ‘reactive’ state that so many businesses hate being in. Collaboration across the supply chain is a proven strategy in building supply chain resilience, because when you know your supply chain is there for you, you can proceed with confidence.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of overcoming supply chain fragility here in West Michigan. We work alongside all of our customers, developing the custom carrier solutions that solve any problem they’re up against. Our dedication to servicing you and your customers is unparalleled, since we call everyone to determine pickup and delivery times that work for both sides. Our careful handling of your shipments means that they will arrive on time and undamaged no matter what. Our dedication to our customers is the reason why we have a 99% customer satisfaction rating with our customers and have provided 20 years of custom carrier solutions. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Deepening the Carrier and Shipper Relationship

When it comes to carrier and shipper relationships, in all too many circumstances, there is none. At least this was the case years ago before capacity tightened, which has caused shippers to search for a carrier partner of choice. However in many instances, for shippers without a carrier attempting to build a relationship in these current circumstances is likely too little too late. Companies have long memories of who was and wasn’t there for them, especially when times were tough. Yet shippers need to get their goods to customers too, so here are a few steps for shippers in need of deepening their relationship with their carrier.

One of the areas in determining a carrier that can help you is to evaluate their predictability and reliability rather than price. Getting your goods delivered to customers is top priority right now. Carriers who maintain agility and responsiveness by communicating with their customers, informing them about their orders every step of the way win the loyalty of their customers. Once you’ve found a carrier of choice that can handle your shipments, there are additional ways to deepen your relationship with them.

One area to improve relationships with carriers is by making life as easy as possible for their drivers. Respecting the driver’s time and treating them as people will speak volumes about a company, because drivers talk to one another and word gets around. If your company is disrespectful to drivers by making them wait a really long time in order to unload their shipment, word will spread and you will inevitably be in a capacity crunch. Drivers often rate companies on Google based on their wait times. The better you can treat a company’s driver, the more you’ll be appreciated.

Opening all lines of communication with your carrier is another vital means of building the relationship. Setbacks can and do occur, and when one side informs the other of such setbacks, trust is built. Open communication also signals that you’re both doing the best you can, which is all companies can ask for when dealing with one another. Open communication is also a signal of honesty with one another since neither side is trying to hide information and such honesty inevitably leads to trust in one another and a dynamic relationship. Such a relationship will help both companies flourish and happy customers that will keep wanting your business.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand what it means to be the carrier that will work with you, no matter what. We have a long history of helping customers overcome their logistical challenges and partnering with our shippers to ensure their shipments will arrive on time and undamaged, no matter what. Relationships matter more to us than anything else, as we treat every customer’s problem as one of our own. No matter what the situation is, we have a custom carrier solution that will work for your business. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Value of Carriers

Over the past few years, carriers have been at the forefront of solving every logistics issue imaginable for their customers. Since spot market rates on freight load boards have increased, it has been proven that the search for cut rate service and hopping to the lowest priced carrier is a losing strategy. Focusing too much on cost cutting has become a death sentence for many companies that have attempted to navigate the current supply chain environment, since carriers have been forced to increase their prices due to capacity, lack of drivers, fuel and even issues relating to the unavailability of trailers and trucks. 

While in theory logistics possesses relatively few barriers to entry, many trucking companies were started with one individual, a truck and a CDL license. The resulting oversupply from the previous decade has caused many companies to in essence neglect their extremely crucial supply chain responsibilities because they believe that somebody else will be able to ‘handle the deliveries.’ However, with our current situation, logistics is becoming a more specialized field with its own challenges and expertise. Expecting bottom rates at the expense of the carrier will only result in a lack of a business relationship in a field that is quickly becoming more specialized.

It is important to see that this issue will not be solved on the carrier side alone. While it is becoming easier to acquire a CDL license, driving a truck is still not a field overflowing with new entrants at the current time. The lack of available trucks and trailers also tightens the supply chain, which means the best option to consider is the optimization of freight. Optimizing freight allows for carriers to work together in getting shipments to their destination on time. Many carriers are willing to work together in this endeavor, but we also need shippers to consider this as an option when developing their supply chain strategy.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of providing value to every member of the supply chain. We’re also the pioneers in developing optimization strategies for all of our customer’s freight, ensuring that every shipment will arrive undamaged and on time. We coordinate pickup and delivery times for shippers and customers, at a time that works best for everyone. We’ll work with you to solve all of your shipping challenges and no matter what challenge you’re facing, we have a custom carrier solution that will meet your needs, getting the shipment to the customer on time and undamaged. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Supply Chain Resilience Through Headload Optimization

As the economy adjusts to additional supply chain constraints and fluctuations in the economy, the most likely outcome of this will be more supply chain congestion. It is understandable that this is the last thing companies want to hear, however now is the perfect time to implement a solution that has been underutilized across the entire logistics industry and the American supply chain. At a time where we face rising costs, driver shortages and congestion everywhere we look, one area shippers need to take a second look is whether they’re marking their shipments as full or partial truckloads.

By taking a second look at whether a shipment is marked full or partial and assessing if a full truckload is really needed, companies can help alleviate the congestion that has run rampant across the logistics sector. Capacity only seems to keep tightening, so it is vital to determine if a shipment really needs a full truckload. In too many cases, shipments are marked as full truckload even though they only occupy a fraction of the trailer. This is a waste of valuable resources at a time when we can’t afford such waste. Optimizing shipments is quickly becoming the smarter choice.

We here at Zip Xpress pioneered the headload optimization service which allows companies to only pay for the space they’re using on a trailer. This practice contributes to saving fuel, reducing empty air on trailers and easing the congestion that has run rampant. All of these factors help build resilience into your supply chain by getting your shipments to their destination on time and undamaged. Optimization is one of, if not the most effective solution for the short term, helping shippers and carriers alike as both sides navigate the challenges ahead of us.

Here at Zip Xpress we understand the importance of optimizing shipments, and building resilience into our customer’s supply chains. Our headload optimization service ensures that all of our shipments are able to get to their destinations on time, no matter what. We’ve utilized this service to great effect for all of our customers, creating a sustainable solution and recycling air by reducing the number of empty trailers on the highway. To see the results for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!