Finding The Right Carrier For Your Supply Chain

One of the most important partnerships a manufacturer can make is which carrier they are to trust with their valuable freight. We’ve expressed the importance of establishing these relationships, but one of the critical questions that will inevitably arise is: how do we find the right carrier? This is a very important question and one that shouldn’t be left to chance especially since manufacturers cannot rely on brokerages to find the right shipping partner for them.

Culture Match

Finding the right supply chain partner involves speaking with carriers and ensuring there is a culture match between the two organizations. If your company is focused on efficiency and cost savings, then you’ll likely select with a carrier that exhibits these traits. Whereas if you have specialized freight that needs more service dedication, you’ll likely select a carrier that focuses on relationships and customer satisfaction. Obviously you want a carrier that exhibits all of these qualities, but the best option is to schedule consultations, speak with and learn about the carriers who will be handling your freight. When you find a carrier that understands your company’s needs and you relate well with them, then you have likely found a relationship that will help your business flourish.

Constant Focus on Improvement

Obviously culture isn’t a foolproof determinant of a great business relationship, however when a carrier and manufacturer are both focused on improvement, as well as finding the right people, processes and methods of getting your shipment to its destination on time and undamaged, then you have a carrier that will help your business grow in many ways. The constant focus on improvement means that your supply chain partner will help solve your problems and take your needs into consideration. They can help you expand and provide you with options during times of uncertainty. When you provide trust to your carrier, you will find that combined both companies will have a dynamic and incredible relationship that will strengthen with time.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of finding the right carrier for your business. We strive to provide great service for all of our customers because we know they value great service, sustainability and are in need of specialized freight handling. Customers who know our values are delighted to work with us and it’s why we’re able to maintain a 99% retention rate with manufacturers we’ve worked with. If you want to see all of this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

There Will Always Be Supply Chain Challenges

Many articles discuss labor shortages, tightening capacity, increasing prices, inclement weather and a host of other challenges companies need to overcome in order to get their shipments to the end customer. It is certain that some of these challenges are unique to our time, and it’s also apparent that companies want more consistency in how they conduct business. Challenges in shipping however are the norm, not the exception. The truth is that there have always been supply chain challenges and that we have always navigated these challenges through a mix of collaboration and innovation.

One of the methods in overcoming supply chain challenges lies in collaboration throughout the entire supply chain. When companies work together, they’re able to create solutions that work for all parties and keep the customer satisfied. Every member of the supply chain understands what is at stake and provides different skill sets, strengths and strategic insights which create remarkably innovative solutions. This innovation creates unique opportunities for businesses that may not have existed before and as a result will provide a competitive advantage in a field where everyone else only sees challenges.

One of the benefits of all the articles highlighting these challenges is that these challenges cannot be ignored any longer. As a result, many innovative individuals are coming forward to address these challenges and provide solutions in an environment where none were available before. This outpouring of ideas will allow business owners to test and implement the right tactics for their company and in time they will find the right strategy for their business. For every challenge out there, there is a solution. The question is how long will it take to find yours.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand that there will always be supply chain challenges. This is nothing new in an industry that is always changing. It’s this dynamism that creates the opportunity for unique problem solving in how we get every shipment to the customer on time and undamaged. This problem solving attitude is applied to our customers through our custom carrier solutions which addresses every shipping challenge our customers may have. If you’re curious about how we can handle your shipping challenges, start today with Zip Xpress!

Retaining Talent in Logistics

It is clear when listening to the news that many businesses are searching for talent. Companies have stepped up recruiting efforts, offering incredible incentives to bring on new talent and the logistics field is no exception. The industry has struggled for years with finding drivers, now the talent struggle has reached many other levels of the organization. Yet what’s not being discussed are methods for retaining the incredible talent you already have, especially in the logistics field. Turnover will always occur, but when you make talent retention a priority, you won’t need to focus on expensive incentives to entice workers to join your company. Here we share some of the methods we’ve had great success with when it comes to keeping talented employees.

Treat Everyone With Respect

This perhaps goes without saying, but there’s another saying: employees leave managers, not companies. Going out of your way to treat the people who remain with you (especially now) with respect and showing you care about their needs will go a long way in making them feel valued. Giving space for employees to tell you what they need will also yield valuable information that will help improve an organization. One area we placed our focus on was keeping our drivers in well maintained trucks, which resulted in us investing in maintenance schedules and routine repairs. Our drivers are happier as a result and treat our customers exceptionally well.

Host a Regular Check In With Employees

Due to increased shipments across the American Economy, there is a greater risk that all of a company’s current employees are working harder than ever and feeling the burden of carrying the company. This is true for manufacturers as well as carriers. Hosting a check in with current employees to see where they’re feeling stressed and what management can do to help will do wonders for morale. These employees will provide invaluable insights into how the company can prevent burnout with the current employee base. The last thing anyone wants is to see more employees leaving. The more we can help employees in-house, the better it is for everyone. Current employees may also bring referrals for new hires, which is a win-win for everyone.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of retaining talent, especially in uncertain times. We strive to do our best in keeping our employees satisfied with their work and developing our talent from within. It’s a process we continue to refine, but the results speak for themselves. When employees are satisfied, they’re apt to treat our customers with the utmost respect, which creates satisfied customers. Everyone at Zip Xpress is willing to help, and we do our best to help everyone inside and out. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Assessing Supply Chain Risk

Every manufacturer needs to assess their supply chain risk at some time or another. You need to understand where vulnerabilities lie, especially at a time when market forces are creating volatility. Performing risk assessment allows you to be prepared and take active measures to ensure your company will be less vulnerable in the long run against unforeseen circumstances. Supply chain risk assessment is vital in preventing complacency since many companies understandably place innate trust in their suppliers. However this can cause manufacturers to be ‘blindsided’ in the event something goes wrong.

Analyze Every Angle of the Supply Chain

Viewing risk from the perspective of only your suppliers creates a myopic view, which doesn’t allow you to understand how much the supplier factors into your total risk exposure. On the other hand, only viewing the supply chain from a holistic perspective makes it difficult to understand where the ‘real’ vulnerabilities lie.

Perform Risk Audits on Every Supplier

Chances are you have a few suppliers that are key to your business. If this year has shown us anything, it’s that even the largest supply chains are still vulnerable. Performing risk audits on your suppliers forces you to prepare and prevent complacency. Also keeping your files up to date keeps your company up to date on all of the factors in your supply chain, which lets you see potential risks and allows you to adjust ahead of time.

Perform an Assessment of Each Particular Risk

Performing assessments tied to particular risks allows you to ‘see’ the potential impacts to your operations. Modeling these crisis events can show what you have direct control over and how you can prepare in the event of a crisis. You can begin to take preventative measures which will allow you to adapt as circumstances change. Staying on top of these situations will help you in the long run. It’s also important to remember that this is an ongoing process, one that needs to be performed over and over since circumstances are always changing.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of assessing supply chain risk. We work with all of our customers to asses their risk and help them with any vulnerabilities to keep their shipments moving. We help each customer through our custom carrier solutions, a process where we partner with each customer and treat their problems as our own. If you want to see these solutions for yourself with your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Fixing a Broken Supply Chain

It is no secret that many industries have faced interrupted supply chains this year. With shortages across wide swathes of the American economy, companies are searching for ways to repair their broken supply chains and get their shipments to customers. A broken supply chain can cause irate customers and lost trust in a company’s reputation. Here we provide a carrier’s perspective on what can be done to fix a broken supply chain.

One of the methods in fixing this problem begins with proper logistical planning. While nobody could have predicted the events of the past two years, many companies don’t have proper supply chain management plans in place. Their solutions are often to search using brokers in the hopes of finding a great deal and their shipments are often “thrown in” with the rest. Instead what’s needed is a comprehensive supply chain management plan, especially due to the tightened capacity we’ve seen this year. It is natural for some companies to panic and seek out a full truckload for their shipments to secure their space, but more often than not, they don’t need a full truckload, which only exacerbates the capacity problem. It would be far better to partner with a carrier and build a shipment plan that is best for your organization, rather than hoping this will all blow over.

Supply chain risk management is becoming an increasingly valuable field, but risk management begins with identifying where you’re most vulnerable. An example of vulnerability in a supply chain could be sourcing a component or material from a single provider. If the supplier faces any challenges such as price fluctuations or being shut down for any reason, now your company is forced to scramble for a replacement. Developing your supply chain plan requires you to map out your entire logistical process, including distribution facilities and transportation hubs. This will not be easy, but seeing the vulnerabilities will allow you to develop contingency plans in the event something goes wrong.

The final key to fixing a broken supply chain is communication. Communicating with your suppliers as well as your customers keeps everyone apprised of the situation and allows for innovative solutions to rise to the surface. Communication prevents silos from forming across organizations, which cause vulnerabilities in the supply chain. When you partner with a carrier that understands your supply chain, you’ll find it far more resilient and less likely to be affected by outside forces.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of fixing the supply chain. Nothing frustrates everyone more than supply chain disruptions, which is why we partner with all of our customers and assist them in overcoming their shipping challenges. We assist them in the form of our custom carrier solutions, which have been helping companies now for 20 years. To see how our custom carrier solutions can help you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Your Supply Chain on Track

The peak season for 2021 is just around the corner and it’s vital for shippers to begin preparations in an effort to ensure there will not be an interruption in shipments. Shippers who don’t have an established plan for their supply chain may find themselves at the mercy of the spot market, where brokers will prey upon both shippers and carriers, exploiting the market conditions for their own gain. Our goal is to see shippers and carriers protected from these practices and ensure that shippers and carriers have a bountiful year.

The key to avoiding the spot market is to align your business with a trusted carrier that is experienced in handling your freight. This prevents shippers from being forced to compete for tightening capacity and allows both parties to develop a shipping plan that works for everyone. Collaboration is always rewarded in logistics since shippers are provided access to proven processes, systems, dedicated teams and experienced leadership that will provide the best solutions for any supply chain problem.

Another method in keeping your supply chain on track is collaborating with your carrier in regards to shipment schedules and methods of transportation. Your carrier will know their capabilities as well as their shipment schedule and will be more than willing to create a shipment plan that works for you. They’ll be able to provide you with options, a vital asset that may not always be available during peak season. Businesses that laid the foundation by collaborating with a carrier have seen a smoother process and are happier with the results.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of preparing for the peak season. We specialize in handling unique freight, but we’re willing to work with any business that is in need of an efficient supply chain. We will provide you with the custom carrier solutions you need to make the right decision and create a better supply chain that will get you through any market conditions. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Striking the Supply Chain Balance

Over the last 15 months we’ve seen headlines telling about shortages in every area of the economy. From consumer goods to microchips, everyone is feeling the effects of a vulnerable supply chain and is assessing new options. Yet there is an opportunity for companies to restructure their supply chains and create new processes with their stakeholders in order to meet the demands of the customer.

One of the ways businesses can meet this challenge is to keep focus on their suppliers and stock on hand. By measuring and analyzing every aspect of the supply chain, businesses can diagnose where the pitfalls are and take steps to fortify their operations. This helps companies stay flexible and make smarter decisions.

The second way businesses can strike the supply chain balance is by working with a trusted carrier to ensure they can fulfill your order. Keeping communication channels open across the supply chain allows businesses to plan for the ebb and flow within their operations and communicating those shifts allows your carrier to construct a plan to meet your delivery needs. Working together on a consistent basis helps both companies in the long run, allowing the creation of a supply chain that can help you regardless of the circumstances.

The third method of striking a supply chain balance is by ensuring you’re using the best method of optimizing your freight. Working with your carrier to determine the best delivery system for your business allows you to find the best solution for your needs. When you’re shipping unique freight, your needs will be different than a manufacturer who fills a truckload on a routine basis. Optimizing your freight provides options, which are critical at a time like now when it comes to striking the supply chain balance.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of providing great service to a customer. We partner with all of our customers, developing and optimizing their supply chain with our custom carrier solutions which fulfills all the needs of the business. Our customers find satisfaction because they can trust us when it comes to finding the right solution, no matter what their supply chain is facing. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Know Your Freight

Choosing the right method of shipping can be difficult. With so many ways to ship your freight, you may have concerns about whether you’re using the right service for your business. The good news is that there are multiple options when it comes to getting your shipment to the customer. You just need to make sure that you are choosing the method that best aligns with your priorities.

LTL

LTL, or Less-Than-Truckload freight, is usually less than 20,000 pounds, taking up six or fewer pallet spaces in a truck. LTL shipments are combined with other shipments going in the same direction, and usually optimized at an origin terminal and distributed for final mile delivery from a destination terminal. At Zip this is not the case, as all of our shipments are sent directly to the customer and our handling is reduced by up to 75%, ensuring that your freight will arrive undamaged and on time. This is generally a more cost-effective shipping solution, however it may take a little bit more time due to the optimization and distribution needs.

Truckload

Truckload freight takes up an entire truck. This means that the space inside is dedicated to your freight and will generally have a quicker transit time. This is often the right option when you have enough freight to fill a truck and need to have it delivered quickly. However, you will be paying for the entire truck, so this option isn’t cost effective for smaller shipments.

Expedited

When you need to expedite your freight, you are usually on a strict schedule, but might not have enough freight to justify paying for an entire truck. Expedited solutions can optimize your freight with other loads, but will place priority on your shipment. This may cost a little bit more than standard LTL service, but most customers find that it is well worth it. Our expedited service will help ensure that your products will arrive right when you need them to.

Headload

Sometimes you may have a shipment that sits right in the grey area – too large to be an LTL shipment, but not large enough to justify buying space on an entire truck.You are also concerned about paying for air due to the empty space. These types of loads are perfect for our Headload solution, which optimizes customer freight to provide superior service by ensuring that your freight will arrive undamaged and on time.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of knowing your options when it comes to shipping your freight. That’s why whenever you reach out to us, we work with you to find the best option for your business that will ensure your freight will arrive undamaged and on time. These are called our custom carrier solutions, and we provide them to every customer we work with, which is why we maintain a 99% satisfaction with all of our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Optimizing Your Transportation Network

One of our goals is to keep our shipments and transportation networks optimized at all times. All of our efforts are focused on this goal since optimizing shipments helps ensure that deliveries are made on time and undamaged. Optimizing transportation also has the benefit of creating a more sustainable fleet since there is a reduced amount of “empty space” that customers are no longer paying for. Here are a few tips manufacturers can use when it comes to optimizing their network.

Set Optimization Goals

Are you looking to get your high-volume shipments to customers as quickly as possible? Or do you manufacture high end products and are looking to make sure your unique freight always arrives undamaged? Optimization looks very different between companies and your ideal may look very different from a company in another industry.

Consider All Stakeholders

Freight optimization starts with the customer. Asking them about the frequency of deliveries, cost expectations and transportation schedules allows both companies to create an optimized network that works with all parties. Keeping carriers in the loop helps ensure they can work around your schedule and keep your customers satisfied by receiving deliveries when they expect them.

Anticipate and Communicate Hurdles

Optimization is a process. Expect there to be hurdles and keep all stakeholders in the communication loop. As long as all parties are working together, the hurdles will themselves smooth out and in time, the transportation network will be a fully optimized supply chain.

Work with the Best Carrier for Your Business

Every carrier is different and it’s important to find the carrier best suited for your freight. The worst solution is to turn to brokers who will force carriers into providing you with cut-rate service. This is a short-term solution, a mistake we’ve seen too many times. Working with a carrier directly will ensure you’ll get the best outcome in designing your optimized transportation network for the long run.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of optimization. Everything we do is driven towards optimization, from the way we handle our shipments to the way we clean our offices. We work closely with all of our partners in optimizing their supply chains, creating what we call custom carrier solutions which ensures that every shipment arrives undamaged, on time and to the customer’s satisfaction. If you’d like to see how we can optimize your transportation network, start today with Zip Xpress!

Steering Clear of Detention

Nobody likes delays, but they are an inevitable part of trucking and transportation. The best thing we can do is to be proactive in our supply chain operations in order to minimize the number of delays that we must face. Of the many slowdowns that happen during the life of a shipment, one of the most easily avoidable is that of detention. You can’t control the weather, traffic, or the mechanical abilities of any given truck, but you can control the ways in which your warehouses operate. Here are some tips to help you save money on detention bills.

Don’t Schedule a Pickup Until the Goods are Confirmed

Whether you are manufacturing the product or waiting on raw materials to arrive, make sure that your shipment is ready to go before scheduling a truck. If pallets aren’t assembled or wrapped by the time the appointment rolls around, the driver will likely have to sit for longer than 2 hours. In some instances, there may not be a need for packaging, so check with your carrier on their recommendation for packaging.

Employ a Reasonably Sized and Qualified Staff

It should be obvious that you can’t really get through your day without your forklift operator. Make sure that you have plenty of qualified professionals who can load a truck safely and efficiently. In some cases, it may be worth it to look into outside contractors during times of increased business.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

If you are a smaller warehouse with 2 docks, it probably doesn’t make sense to schedule 100 trucks a day. Know your limitations and keep track of loading time data so that you can better stagger your appointments in order to load every truck as quickly as possible.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

In all aspects of shipping, communication is key. If you are experiencing a backup at the warehouse or if equipment is down, notify your carrier. Chances are they would be willing to accommodate a different appointment time slot. It may not always be possible, but keeping communication open will be appreciated and will set you up for more success down the line.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the frustration of detention for both sides of the logistics equation. In order to combat this frustration we communicate with our customers every step of the way, from scheduling pickups, deliveries and notifying about delays. Our communication processes help our customers and their customers ensure a successful delivery that is made on time and undamaged. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!