What to Expect in Quarter 4

2019 has been another great year for freight, and there is much to prepare for as we enter its final months. The fourth quarter is always interesting, but it can be especially hectic in the logistics world. Although most companies start planning their holiday shipments and inventory in the middle of the summer, there are always a few surprises during the holiday months, and the stress that comes with those surprises can be mitigated by working with an effective and committed logistics provider. It’s important for manufacturers and transportation providers to set their expectations for the next few months but to also be flexible, as there will certainly be some unexpected snags along the way.

Manufacturing is still going strong and the fourth quarter promises to keep freight moving. As companies review their quarterly/annual budgets, they’ll likely to move forward with large capital purchases, which means freight will keep moving. For manufacturers that are looking to make their operations more efficient, consider opting into our partial and consolidated shipments. When it comes to planning out a leaner supply chain, be sure to work with a carrier that is experienced in customizing your carrier solutions. The fourth quarter is a hive of activity for everyone in the logistics world, but with careful planning everyone’s shipments can be delivered on time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the challenges inherent with getting product to the customer on time but we ensure that every delivery will be made on time with respect to our schedule, regardless of the season. We also offer our headload solution and optimized shipping, which means we can handle all of our customer’s freight needs. We understand the challenges of shipping in the fourth quarter, but we’re planners and work to ensure every shipment gets to where it needs to go on time, every time. To see for yourself and finish the year strong, start today with Zip Xpress!

Specialized Freight – Highlighting Automation

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an industry transform itself and become explosive with innovation. From humble origins of stands and conveyors, the automation industry is now on the cutting edge with sensors, lighting units and robotic arms that look like they belong in a science fiction book. Those machines are fueling a new industrial revolution, but in order for progress to be achieved, those machines need to get to their final destination.

Manufacturers everywhere can imagine the horror of seeing a truck arrive with a dozen robotic arms and three of them have their paint chipped. Two more had their sensors ripped off due to a box falling on top of them. Three others even had a finger knocked off of the wrist joint. Now the customer needs to file a claim with the shipper, who needs to transport the defective units back to the manufacturing plant. The original shipper won’t be satisfied because they need to refurbish, replace and diagnose any unseen issues from being damaged in transit. The result is loss of revenue for all three, from making repairs, transporting an additional trip and loss of time in production. All of this in a rushed effort to ship with a carrier that isn’t experienced in handling such delicate machinery.

Manufacturers in the automation industry never have to worry about such horror stories when they partner with Zip Xpress. We’re experienced at handling every piece of automation equipment – from conveyors to industrial robots. We understand how precise the equipment must be, so our dockworkers take extra care when loading and strapping the machines into place. We provide automation companies with the custom carrier solutions required to ensure that these machines arrive in the same condition we found them in. To see for yourself how carefully we can handle your machinery, start today with Zip Xpress!

Specialized Freight – Highlighting Furniture

For some manufacturers, packing and loading freight is a simple, uniform process that doesn’t require a whole lot of planning. If you are shipping a single type of food or beverage product, you can package the boxes neatly on a standard size pallet, and easily load the pallets side by side on the truck. However, not all manufacturers produce such uniform products, and a significant amount of planning is required for each particular shipment. Office furniture is one industry where careful dedication and planning for each shipment is needed.

Our furniture industry partners can’t rely on shipping boxes of pieces and parts to their destination. They don’t want to see office chairs or desks chipped during transport, which is why they don’t work with most carriers. An entirely different process is needed to handle the non-uniform shapes of office furniture, including load bars, straps and e-tracks which help secure the freight during transit. Office furniture requires meticulous care, which is why many carriers don’t wish to handle this highly specialized freight. Since office furniture happens to be one of West Michigan’s largest sectors of the economy, we focused on providing these companies with the care and attention they deserved.

Zip Xpress specializes in handling office furniture better than other carriers. We utilize load bars, straps, and blanket wrap to ensure safe delivery to the customer. The result is excellent customer service for everyone involved. Our meticulous handling and experienced dock workers ensure that every shipment is treated with care, and our shipments are able to arrive undamaged and on time. No company wants to see chipped office desks or ripped chairs. Let Zip Xpress find the custom carrier solution that works for you. When you see for yourself how we handle your freight, you’ll understand why so many shippers trust Zip Xpress. To see what custom carrier solutions we can create for your office furniture, start today with Zip Xpress!

Manufacturing in West Michigan 2019

Manufacturing in West Michigan for 2019

When you think about the economy of Michigan, Detroit is probably the first thing that comes to mind. While Detroit has been experiencing a renaissance of its own, there is far more to Michigan’s success than just Motown. West Michigan has quietly become a vital artery for the state’s economy, and this comes as no surprise to the people who live here or those who have visited over the years. In fact, the Grand Rapids metro area has an impressive unemployment rate of just 2.6% – almost a point and a half below the national average. This means that people are finding gainful employment and contributing greatly to a booming economy across the region.

One of the area’s largest industries is the office furniture manufacturing industry, with fresh startups and established giants alike continuing to push for innovation in both the design and production aspects of the industry. This forward-thinking mentality is prominent among workers in West Michigan, leading to an influx of new, creative ideas and helping to boost images and profits for many organizations. This positive trend, however, brings with it a new challenge for many companies – it is becoming harder to find skilled workers who need jobs in the region, so these businesses must put forth more competitive offers and work to create more effective supply chains.

While all of this is a net positive for the region, uncertainty still looms large. The midterms saw a major shift in political power in the state, steel and aluminum tariffs put in place by the Trump administration are controversial to say the least. Still, Zip Xpress believes the overall outlook for West Michigan is positive, and will continue to provide certainty for our manufacturing partners. Our optimism and can-do attitude have helped build West Michigan and we’re excited to see what lies in store for 2019. To see how we can provide certainty to your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Filling the Gap – How to Cope with Talent Disparity in Manufacturing

Manufacturing in the US is continuing to boom, bringing with it a reinvigorated job market and plenty of opportunities for gainful employment. Fears that improved technologies and increased automation would eliminate jobs have been alleviated by the fact that these new technologies, more often than not, require people to keep them functioning. Automation has improved efficiency, but the need for tech-savvy employees has also improved the job market. It’s a win-win situation, right? Well, it might not be quite as simple as we may think.

While job openings are up, the supply of qualified workers to fill these positions isn’t keeping up with demand. This means that many manufacturers are facing major challenges in finding the right people in a highly competitive job sector. This talent gap can put a significant strain on the operations of a manufacturing company who is trying to embrace new technologies while remaining efficient and profitable. Investment in quality training and recruiting programs is a must, but there are other ways to soften the blow caused by this new talent gap. One of those methods is to work with strong, capable supply chain partners who can contribute to a more streamlined manufacturing process.

Transportation and logistics companies have long been well-prepared for major shifts in the market. If a manufacturer is still in the process of filling important roles, they can lean on their supply chain partners a bit and let them take the reins on certain initiatives. This can alleviate some of the growing pains caused by the manufacturing boom, and should be beneficial down the line as the positions become filled. A strong partnership with a supply chain service provider can go a long way in moving the transition along.

At Zip Xpress, we are committed to providing top-notch service so that all of our customers can benefit from the current manufacturing boom. The less our customers have to worry about delayed shipments or damaged freight, the more they’ll be able to focus on improving their own internal processes. To see how we can help you as our partner, start today with Zip Xpress!

Maintaining Growth Through Supply Chain Management

It’s always exciting for a manufacturer to begin receiving new orders, whether from a recently on-boarded customer or as a result of new contracts with existing clients. Continued growth is a common goal for most companies, and with this year’s impressive manufacturing boom, many have been able to outperform previous expectations. While this is a positive trend, there are challenges that come with rapid growth, as each new order comes with updated requirements and a larger workload. To alleviate these growing pains, it is important for organizations to focus on efficiency throughout their supply chain.

Transportation is just one part of the supply chain, but it is an integral aspect in fulfilling orders and keeping customers happy. It may be tempting to simply find the cheapest carriers available and book them whenever possible to save money on every order. However, this often leads to service failures and can end up costing money in the long run due to late fees and fractured relationships with clients and vendors alike. A superior strategy to this transactional model is to develop strong, long-lasting partnerships with quality transportation providers. Partners who understand how important each shipment is to your reputation and are dedicated to helping you keep your commitments. This approach helps companies secure more capacity and benefit from more reliable service. Fostering these sort of partnerships will help prevent spikes in pricing and service failures as capacity tightens and markets shift.

Zip Xpress strives to create strong partnerships with everyone we work with. Our goal is customer satisfaction, providing reliability as well as the ability to handle your shipments. We understand that you’re growing with new orders and it is our mission to help you shore up that growth with strengthening your supply chain. Our experts work to ensure that your freight arrives on time and damage free, making your company more reliable and improving customer service. To see how we can shore up your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Manufacturing Metrics Supply Chain

Key Metrics for Manufacturing in Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is a challenging area of business for manufacturing companies. A well-run manufacturer must find a healthy balance of communication, logic, and execution in order to ensure that their supply chain is running smoothly. There are many metrics that these organizations can use to evaluate their performance. Here are some of what we believe are the most important metrics for a supply chain’s success.

Perfect Order Fulfillment

This is a discrete measurement that essentially shows the percentage of orders that are fulfilled without any errors. A perfect order is one that sees the right product being delivered to the right place at the right time in the right condition. By constantly working to improve perfect order percentages, manufacturers show that they are working in the best interests of their customers.

Customer Order Cycle Time

This metric measures the average time that it takes to fulfill a customer delivery after a purchase order has been received by the manufacturer. This is an important metric to analyze the efficiency of your supply chain, as it shows how well different departments work together to complete a job after a customer makes a request.

Freight Cost per Unit Shipped

This calculation involves dividing the total freight costs incurred by the number of total units shipped. Generally, these are calculated over a certain period of time, e.g. weeks, months, quarters, or years. It’s important to compare this to the total cost of producing individual units, since each time product breaks during shipment means your company will have to manufacture a replacement.

On Time Shipping Rate

This metric is the percentage of items or order value that arrives on or before the requested ship date. The On Time Shipping Rate is the key to customer satisfaction. A high rate indicates an efficient supply chain. The more accurately your supply chain can get the product into customer’s hands, the happier they will be, and that will build long-lasting trust between you and your customer.

We hope that we provided some insight into how you can measure the performance of your supply chain management. Our goal is to be as efficient as possible while keeping our customer as our number one priority. To learn first hand how we do this with each shipment, start today with Zip Xpress.

manufacturing shipping

Handling Mergers and Acquisitions in the Supply Chain

One of the biggest trends we’re seeing in the manufacturing industries is an uptick in mergers and acquisitions. When one company acquires or merges with another, it has a significant effect on the employees, departments, and strategies of both organizations involved. It is important for these companies to have a solid plan to seamlessly integrate their supply chain operations. Each entity brings with them different techniques, responsibilities, and even corporate cultures. The executives and employees alike must do everything they can to work together during this newly formed partnership in order to maintain order and continue to provide high levels of customer satisfaction.

Supply chain managers need to be involved in every major decision during the merger or acquisition process. They need to be aware of any change in organizational structure or strategy so that they can work to streamline their operations and explain the changes to their employees. It is imperative for supply chain workers to get to know the processes and systems with which they will be working. Even if both companies previously operated with the same supply chain software, there are bound to be differences in culture and requirements between the two. Employees from both companies should be trained on what to expect and the changes that need to be made moving forward. Zip Xpress prides itself on being integrated with this process, as we work so closely with our customer’s supply chain that we can develop a standardized process between the two entities and bring them together as one.

Customers should also be kept in the loop throughout the entire process. It is the responsibility of the supply chain manager to let their customers know that there are changes being made and that the organization is doing everything in their power to keep things running smoothly. However, it is likely that mistakes will be made, and it is better for a customer to be prepared for these rather than being blindsided or left in the dark. Mergers and acquisitions can cause confusion, delays, and even chaos for both the shipping team and customers, so communication is key, and teamwork needs to remain a central focus throughout the transition. We know the importance of collaboration and communication here at Zip Xpress, and we can provide the stability you need to guide your business growth. To see how we can help you navigate your growing supply chain, get started with Zip Xpress today!

Ugly Freight

Unique Freight in Grand Rapids

Whether your freight is too big, too small, too heavy or too light, too dangerous or just plain awkward, it’s unique. It’s what drives your business It might not fit in a pallet space or in a box but it’s just as important as the standard box and pallet freight.   

Often times carriers avoid your unique freight because it does require special attention. Too small and it may require “inefficient” handling. Too large and it may need special equipment to handle the weight. Too big and it won’t fit nicely with other freight and transport assets. Does the phrase, “If it fits it ships” ring a bell?

Sometimes it doesn’t fit but it still needs to ship. Whether you’re shipping fragile computer or IT equipment, uncrated machinery or hazardous chemicals, it has to go where it’s needed. Most shippers choose not to deal in your unique shipping requirements because it’s not “easy.” Most things worth doing aren’t easy.

Fortunately for you Zip Xpress appreciates your unique freight Grand Rapids. Zip Xpress Inc. has a unique and user friendly business model that makes the tired old excuse of “inefficient” outdated. Zip Xpress has more options compared to the hub and spoke, break-bulk model which allows us to handle your unique freight more efficiently, reducing handling by 75%.   

But how do you know Zip Xpress can handle your unique freight? It’s a valid concern and one they welcome. Your freight is valuable above and beyond its dollar value. It’s your company’s reputation. It’s the difference between meeting expectations and exceeding expectations. Zip Xpress has the credibility and capability to help.

How do they know? Don’t take their word for it. Zip Xpress’ track record speaks for itself. They don’t have satisfied customers. They have raving fans. Customers used to look for the cheapest price per route but now they look for strategic alliances.

Let our alliance help you create raving fans. Zip Xpress helps businesses all over the Greater Grand Rapids area get their unique freight where it needs to go when it needs to be there.

Robotics Manufacturing

The Manufacturing Road Ahead

Predictions indicate that robotics and automation will make a huge impression on the global workforce in 2018.  Likewise, these modern trends will certainly have an impact on the manufacturing industry in Michigan. From smart machines, to smart technology, breakthroughs in science, automation, robotics and other manufacturing technologies will allow for a new era in the workforce. This new workforce, now more than ever, will include expensive, delicate, and fragile pieces of computerized machinery.

Other trends that continue to impact the nation is the movement among manufacturers and industries to Go Green. Every sustainable measure taken helps the world around us in some way. Zip Xpress prides itself on being part of the Responsible Green Manufacturing Movement by focusing and directing attention toward not only what they can do within their company to be more sustainable, but what they can do to assist your company in being more sustainable as well. Additionally, Zip Xpress is built around eliminating wasteful partial trailers; they strive to keep partial trailers off the nation’s highways and in doing so, save energy and protect our environment. There’s a famous quote that reads “Try to Leave the World a Better Place Than When You Arrived.”  This, in a nutshell, is what Zip Xpress does every single day!

Whether your manufacturing company specializes in robotics, batteries, furniture, conveyors or conveyor systems, Zip Xpress wants to network with you to get your products where they need to go! They’re watching out for you, and know that all who participate in the manufacturing industry are part of one big team who rely on each other.

The professional team at Zip Xpress has provided a superior overall experience for Michigan shippers since August of 2001. They have the knowledge and expertise to ensure that all of that sensitive machinery will arrive undamaged, and on time as scheduled. Their premier Blanket Wrap Service is a great investment when considering the transport of fragile products and equipment that must be handled and moved in a delicate manner. Some of the highlights of the Blanket Wrap Service offered by Zip Xpress include the following:

  • 15 Years of successful Blanket Wrap LTL service
  • All Blanket Wrap is direct door-to-door delivery
  • Clean 100% air-ride logistic trailers
  • Appointment delivery available
  • All pieces labeled and identified
  • Professionally trained freight handlers
  • Team service available

Additionally, Zip Xpress Inc. is one of the few time-specific LTL carriers providing commercial LTL Blanket Wrap service to markets in the West Coast, Southwest, Southeast, East Coast, and New England. Give them a call at 800-889-8583 or go to their website ZipXpress.net and click the Start Today Button!