Contract Shipping: A More Stable Supply Chain

When most companies consider their shipping needs, their first thought is likely to contact a freight broker who will in turn search for a carrier on a freight board that is capable of handling their shipment. A price will be reached by all parties and the shipment will be coordinated most likely by the carrier. Yet while this arrangement has its place, there are times when shippers begin to realize the pitfalls of this arrangement.

For one, there is little oversight when a shipper utilizes the spot market for their transportation needs. The broker is bonded, which does add a layer of protection, however there is no accountability in the event the customer receives poor service in the form of a late delivery or worse, broken freight. Spot market rates are also highly variable, which can wreak havoc on company budgets, along with uncertainty surrounding capacity, which is what many companies faced a few years ago. Most importantly, the spot market arrangement doesn’t provide a high level of service. It is a transaction and offers little chance of building a relationship with your carrier and developing a more strategic supply chain.

A useful alternative is contract shipping. A contract with a carrier states the terms such as pricing and capacity for a set duration, most often a year. This helps the shipper determine a stable transportation budget that can be accounted for. A contract also requires that both companies work together in order to find a win-win solution while also making the carrier accountable to the shipper directly, rather than an intermediary. This allows you to create measurable KPIs for the sake of building a stronger supply chain.

The final benefit of contract shipping is the dedication to service you’ll receive. A carrier has a stronger incentive to work with you and provide you with better service that you can count on. The carrier will also learn your shipment patterns and can develop new methods of creating a better shipping experience for you in the long run. Contract shipping is about taking the long-term view of supply chain strategy instead of settling for cut-rate service on an individual shipment.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of creating a stable supply chain. That’s why when you work with us, we’ll provide you with the best service in the industry and do whatever it takes to get your shipment to its destination on time and undamaged. There are no surprises when it comes to working with us, just custom carrier solutions that will help you grow your business and a company that cares about your success. It’s why we’ve been able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with our customers for more than 20 years. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Focusing on What We Can Control to Deliver Exceptional Service

With so many concerns over the economy, it’s essential for companies to focus on what they can control in order to stay ahead. This is particularly true for carriers such as Zip Xpress, which are at the mercy of fuel prices, weather conditions, labor and other external factors that can affect their bottom line. While we understand that we cannot control some of these factors, we are committed to continuous improvement in every area of our business. Whether that’s in investing in our fleet, finding great people and maintaining a great culture, or providing better service to our loyal customers.

Investing in our fleet and maintenance is one way that we’ve focused on what we can control. We maintain strict maintenance schedules which allows us to keep our trucks in top condition, which helps reduce fuel emissions and minimizes downtime for repairs. We’ll also continue developing our fleet maintenance solution which allows us to utilize a network of repair trucks and facilities located across the country in the event we experience a breakdown. If one of our tractors cannot be repaired right away, we will request an immediate sub-truck to be put on the road, which ensures that delays will be minimal and that your shipment will get to its destination on time.

Another area we’re focusing on is both finding and developing the great people that work for Zip Xpress. Everyone here is focused on your success and we’re all ready to lend a helping hand with your shipment. We also deeply believe in problem solving, because we know that anyone here could provide the ideal solution in getting a shipment to its destination on time and undamaged. We’re always on the lookout for the best and brightest and logistics is always a great field to be a part of.

The last area we can control are the solutions that we offer in caring for our customer’s shipments. Our blanket wrap solution will help prevent scuffs, scratches, and dents during transit. We plan on investing in load bars for our headload optimization solution which will allow shippers to only pay for the space they need inside the trailer. No matter what shipping challenge you find yourself up against, we’re here to provide you with a custom carrier solution that will benefit your business and grow your supply chain.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of focusing on what you can control. That’s why we’ll continue to invest in the machinery and the people within this great organization that help keep it great. We’ll also work hard to continue providing you with great service, getting your shipments to their destination on time and undamaged every time. We’ll handle your shipments with the care and dedication that few other carriers can match because we know that these shipments are essential to your business. It’s this dedication that has allowed us to maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with our customers for more than 20 years. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Stranded and Diverted: How Extreme Weather Disrupted Deliveries Across the West Coast

While this has been one of the oddest winters in recent memory for Michigan, our snowfall troubles pale in comparison to the mountain snow and high winds that were experienced in the Western part of the United States. This has been especially true in Wyoming, one of many states on the I-80 highway that we use to deliver shipments to the West Coast. While closures occur during the winter months, this year there has been a large uptick in the number of closures, including a period where the interstate was closed indefinitely which left drivers stranded for days with no safe route out of the area. 

Extreme wind has been the primary culprit, since it doesn’t take much snow to create drifts that make a highway impassable, even on the interstate. On top of that, wind gusts of over 50 mph cause an extreme risk of semis toppling over, especially if they don’t have enough weight loaded in their trailers. While I-80 is one of the main veins to the West, many trucks have had to be diverted to I-90, I-70 or I-40. However in the month of February there was a period when all four of these major highways were closed due to high winds. We here at Zip Xpress were able to make deliveries, but only by sending trucks all the way to Interstate 10 which had our trucks going through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in order to make deliveries in California.

Heavy snowfall in the mountains has also made travel extremely hazardous where at one point meteorologists were begging people to stay off of mountain roads. During the winter there is a section of the road called Donner’s Pass and it’s the only place trucks can drive through in order to get into Northern California. Yet Donner’s pass has been experiencing record snowfall, even to the tune of 44 inches in one day back on March 1st. (For those who may be curious, a link to their snowfall tracker can be found here) This pass can close at a moment’s notice due to high winds or heavy snowfall, creating a maze through the mountains that carriers must navigate through in order to keep their drivers, equipment and freight safe from the weather.

While Zip Xpress is able to divert our fleet to other interstate highways in order to get shipments to their destination on time and undamaged, we must also keep in mind the safety and well being of other drivers as they try to navigate this winter environment. Just because the weather doesn’t look bad outside our window doesn’t mean that another part of the country isn’t experiencing rough weather conditions that drivers must navigate in order to make their deliveries. The safety of a driver is far more important than the contents of a shipment, especially when storms are hitting harder than ever.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting your shipments to their destination on time and undamaged, even in the midst of turbulent weather conditions. It’s why we devised our storm diversion solution which utilizes alternative routes that avoid road closures and harsh weather conditions. It allows us to reliably deliver all of our shipments on time, no matter what. To utilize this solution or see what other solutions we can offer you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Storm Proof Shipping Solutions

Weather can have a significant impact on the logistics industry. Storms can cause considerable delays and even possible damage to cargo due to closed roads or slippery conditions. When shipping your products, it is vital to choose a carrier that has a plan in place to minimize the impact that weather can have on your delivery schedule. Unfortunately, many carriers do not have a program in place that diverts their trucks in transit in order to avoid weather delays. This is where choosing the right carrier can make all the difference in getting your shipment to its destination on time and undamaged, especially when the weather looks hazardous.

Here at Zip Xpress, we’re constantly monitoring traffic and weather conditions nationwide and coordinating with our drivers to adjust routes when absolutely necessary. If we see a closed road or hazardous weather conditions on the horizon, we will divert our trucks on a different route to avoid these conditions. Our ability to adjust routes provides your business with additional flexibility and better quality of service while also protecting our drivers from unnecessary risk. Even if it means going a 1000 miles out of route to avoid severe weather, we will do so to ensure all shipments in our care will arrive on time and undamaged.

Another reason why we’re able to adapt to adverse weather conditions better than most carriers is because we’re able to utilize a network of repair trucks and facilities located across the country. This way if one of our trucks experiences a mechanical breakdown we’re able to get it repaired right away. Expanding on this, if our tractor cannot be fixed in a timely manner, we will request an immediate sub-truck to be put on the road, ensuring that any delays are minimal and that your freight will arrive at its destination on time, period.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of keeping your freight moving, even in hazardous weather conditions. That’s why we developed our storm diversion program as well as our fleet maintenance program. These two methods were developed to provide exceptional and reliable transportation service to our customers, because we know that they deserve only the best. These two programs are an example of the custom carrier solutions that we can provide to all of our shippers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Revolutionizing Supply Chain Design: An Article for Forward-Thinking Executives

While it depends on the company, supply chains can often be seen as an area that may not be worthy of an executive’s attention. Or worse the executives are only to be called when something has gone terribly wrong with the supply chain. Yet such ignorance doesn’t allow companies to build a dynamic supply chain. In order to create a dynamic supply chain, a deep-rooted relationship must be fostered by the executives within each organization, creating a mutually beneficial partnership that is focused on win-win solutions.

The first area in building this dynamic supply chain is understanding how much impact the supply chain has on the operations and the profitability for your company. While the goal is not to simply find faults or areas to improve, a concentrated effort needs to be made at finding real solutions when it comes to designing your supply chain. This is why working with an experienced carrier can help you optimize your supply chain, finding areas in both organizations and creating efficiencies that will help bring more satisfied customers to your doorstep.

The second area is to not be afraid to challenge assumptions and current methods involved in running the supply chain. While managing the supply chain is a highly technical process, there are often areas that can be improved. Asking questions and suggesting creative solutions will help foster real innovation that can be used going forward. Oftentimes many companies assume they can do it all without outside assistance when in reality they may truly benefit from the experience and expertise of a dedicated carrier. Test whether your supply chain is being run on facts or assumptions and then question any assumptions to find better solutions.

The final area is for executives to ask where they can deploy resources to ensure their supply chain is an asset rather than a ‘sinking cost.’ While many businesses will hesitate to take risks in developing their supply chain, those ‘risks’ will inevitably provide an immediate return on investment due to your ability to deliver goods faster and bring more satisfaction to your customers. A smoother supply chain experience will allow your business to grow due to customer satisfaction. When customers are delighted by how your supply chain fulfills their needs, they’ll inevitably tell others, which will help your business grow.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the need for executives to design their supply chain. While this may be a daunting task, we work very closely with our customers to build a supply chain that will help them grow their business, rather than just provide transportation services. We also work with our customers to devise custom carrier solutions for all of their shipping challenges, ensuring that all of their goods will be delivered on time and undamaged. Our dedication to service will leave you and your customers delighted, because we work with your customers to deliver all of their shipments in a timeframe that works for them. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!