Boost Your Bottom Line: Analyzing KPIs for Successful Plant Shipments to Garden Centers

For plant nursery owners, this is the time of year to analyze how your shipments to garden centers have turned out so far. Determining your KPIs will help you understand how successful your shipping strategy was for this year as well as provide indicators on how you need to adjust for next year. This is especially relevant if you’re shipping ‘dry’ because the weather throughout the Midwest can turn on a dime with temperatures fluctuating wildly and wreak havoc on the plants you worked so hard to get to your customers. The risks of extreme cold or warm temperatures are amplified within the trailer, which make it even more important to ‘get it right.’

One metric that nurseries must analyze is the survival rate of their plants arriving at the garden center. It’s a vital metric since it directly impacts your bottom line. If your plants are arriving in poor condition or not surviving due to your transportation provider, this will result in lost sales and damage to your reputation. If you’re able to boost the survival rate of your plants, there is a much greater likelihood that you’ll receive repeat business from satisfied customers. While every business will have their own definition of a ‘successful’ survival rate, we believe that if it’s below 97% then it may be time to reconsider your transportation strategy.

A way nurseries try to protect their plants is through the use of masterboxes which help insulate some of the more temperature sensitive plants. While these are helpful, the additional cost can cause sticker shock for many nurseries. On top of this, they are not a very sustainable solution, as those boxes will need to be disposed of after they’ve been delivered. Even if they’re made of corrugated cardboard, there is no guarantee that the customer will recycle these boxes. The efforts at providing a more sustainable solution are effectively null. To create a more sustainable shipment, we recommend the use of a temperature controlled trailer, which can be kept at a consistent 35-65 degrees (Fahrenheit) which will keep plants healthy and hydrated through the duration of the trip. 

Another critical KPI you plant nursery would be wise to consider is on-time delivery. Are you working with a dependable, reliable carrier to get your plants to their destination on time and undamaged? Every day counts for plants because they’re alive, and since they’re being shipped when the weather changes are most dramatic, every day they’re late puts them more at risk. Working with a reliable carrier that can provide you access to a temperature controlled trailer will help eliminate these risks and ensure that your plants will arrive safely and your customers will be satisfied. You will benefit from providing better plants to garden centers who will turn to you year after year.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting your plants to the garden center healthy and hydrated. We utilize our temperature controlled trailers for all of our nursery customers and we’ll maintain the optimal temperature to your specifications from the time of pickup to the delivering terminal. We can even provide full temperature control the entire time of transport for your more sensitive plants. We also have a long history of getting our shipments to their destination on time and undamaged, no matter what. If you’ve reviewed your KPIs and want a better solution for your nursery business, then start today with Zip Xpress!

Safeguarding Your Office Investment: The Art of Transporting Office Furniture

Transporting office furniture can be a challenging task for any trucking company. The materials that make office furniture, which include leather, synthetic leather, metal, wood and wood composites are not only susceptible to damage, but show all markings. Leathers show scuffs and cuts. Metal can show dents, while wood will show scratches as well as damage from high humidity. It’s not as though high quality office furniture can simply be put inside of a box for shipping – in fact, this is when most damage occurs because warehouse professionals cannot see the product inside and don’t handle it as carefully as it would be best.

Why does damage occur in this way? One area that has been a challenge for carriers is the fact that many warehouses have temporary associates operating their warehouses as opposed to experienced professionals. With temporary warehouse associates, they often don’t make the time to personally inspect shipments before they leave the warehouse to ensure that no damage has occurred. This lack of quality assurance is one of the greatest issues facing office furniture during its time being shipped to the customer and finding a carrier that inspects their shipments on a regular basis is needed now more than ever.

When a shipment arrives damaged, it can be frustrating for both the shipper, the carrier and the customer. There is a significant amount of time spent communicating between the individual parties, as well as either finding alternatives to replace the damaged furniture or the cost of replacement. There’s also the time spent waiting for the replacement(s) to arrive, which adds to the frustration, especially when a company wants to get their office up and running. Getting the shipment to the customer on time and undamaged needs to become top priority, especially in this industry.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting office furniture to the customer on time and undamaged. Office furniture is one of the products we deal with that needs the most protection, which is why we often use our blanket wrap solution to ensure that no damage occurs during transit. This sustainable packaging can be used over and over again, creating a true green packaging experience. Our experienced freight handlers will treat your furniture with the care it deserves because they see the products they’re handling and have the experience to know how to optimize unique freight. Our processes and solutions have made us the premiere carrier in West Michigan for handling office furniture. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Investing and Protecting in Your Industrial Robots

A recent report from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), North American companies ordered 44,196 robots in 2022 which represented an increase of 11% over 2021 which set a new record in order volume. While orders in many industries slowed over the course of the past three years, more than 50% of these sales from 2021 came from the automotive industry. The investment in these automation machines comes at a time when many OEMs are pledging an increase in production of electric vehicles.

Yet while a majority of sales are being made to automotive manufacturers, there were still steady increases in sales from a number of industries, including: electronics & semiconductors, agriculture, construction and even retail. Multiple issues exist for manufacturers in regards to production, which include the procurement of materials as well as labor challenges. Automation technologies hold the promise to help alleviate these issues, keeping plants efficient by maintaining a standard level of production. However, there is still one challenge faced by all companies looking to add industrial robotics to their factory floor that is rarely addressed.

The key challenge that is rarely addressed when companies are making their decision on whether or not to purchase an industrial robot is: how will they get delivered? Getting industrial robots to your dock requires the expertise of a specialized carrier who has the capabilities of shipping such fragile freight. There is nothing worse to the manufacturer of one of these machines being shipped to the customer, only to find it arrived damaged due to the negligence of the carrier. This in turn causes a domino effect.

For starters, there is returning the machine and submitting a claim to the carrier for damages. Then the manufacturer has to take the machine back and make repairs or produce a new unit before it can be sold. This will prove challenging in the best of times, however electronics are suffering from high demand and low supply, which magnifies these challenges. Finally, the result of this process (which could easily take weeks, if not months) will result in the greatest damage of all: loss of trust between industrial robot manufacturers and their customers. Don’t allow your business to fall victim to a neglectful carrier, work with an experienced carrier that is capable of handling your unique freight and will get it to its destination on time and undamaged.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting your industrial robots to their destination on time and undamaged. We’re here to help you in coordinating your delivery, whether that be for pickup or dropoff and we’ll work with you and your customers on a schedule that works best for your businesses. Our experienced freight handlers will handle your shipments with care and experience, ensuring that every shipment will arrive undamaged while our friendly drivers will get it there on time with a smile on their face. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

A Strong Supply Chain Will Make Your Plant Nursery Bloom

Michigan’s plant nursery industry is one of the largest in the nation, with a bright future ahead of it. Our favorable climate, ample rainfall and fertile soil make Michigan an ideal location  for growing a variety of plants, trees, and shrubs. The industry has also been boosted by the increasing popularity of gardening and landscaping, which provides a fresh look to the outdoors, relieves stress and increases happiness by helping to improve air quality.

Yet one of the greatest challenges for plant nurseries is getting their plants to their customers without harming the plant itself. Plants require a certain temperature in order to thrive and nurseries even have a percentage of plants they expect to not arrive at the destination. There’s also ‘timing’ the shipment, which means that nurseries have to know the weather conditions and determine the ‘right’ time to send out their product. All of these factors make shipping more a game of chance, especially when shipping dry. There are solutions that help such as masterboxes, which provide insulation, but they’re still a far from ideal solution when it comes to plant care.

One of the ideal solutions for plant nurseries is to ship in a temperature controlled trailer which ranges from 35 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, creating an optimal temperature for most plant species. This will also eliminate the need for masterboxes as well as the games of chance with your shipment. Your plants will arrive healthy and hydrated, helping you profit more from your plants and reduce or even eliminate the number of those that don’t make it. Don’t leave your plant shipments up to chance, especially this time of year when the temperatures can swing on a dime. Utilize a temperature controlled trailer to protect your plants and watch your business bloom like the flowers in your customer’s gardens.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of keeping your plants safe. Plant nurseries should not have to play games of chance when it comes to getting their plants to their customers. They should be able to ship with confidence that their plants will arrive healthy and hydrated at the customer’s dock. We have provided our temperature controlled trailer solution to a number of reputable plant nurseries for several years and this has helped all of them grow their business and provide them with the peace of mind that their plant shipments will arrive on time and undamaged. To see how we can help your plant nursery bloom, start today with Zip Xpress!

The State of Automation for 2023

The State of Automation for 2023 continues to be a promising area in the coming future for manufacturers. The promise of increasing productivity while assisting manufacturers in overcoming their greatest challenges still holds true and many organizations are looking to expand the implementation of these machines onto the shop floor. While automation did experience a (slight) setback for 2022, we’ll see that this was an anomaly, not a reversal. 2023 holds tremendous potential for the implementation of automation technologies.

Automation Installations are Still on the Rise

An IFR World Robotics Report stated that industrial robot installations reached an all time high in 2021. Installations from 2015 through 2021 have more than doubled. While there was a slowdown that occurred throughout 2022, the reason for this was due to global uncertainties and part shortages, not a lack of demand. With supply chains becoming more consistent, 2023 looks to be a promising year for automation installations due to the challenges many manufacturers face when it comes to production. Organizations are making investments into automation their top priority in an effort to fulfill demand as well as increase productivity while also controlling costs. Automation is becoming a need more than a want, and the only thing holding manufacturers back are budgets.

Robotics as a Service

While automation technology holds incredible potential to help manufacturers in addressing their production challenges, one of the biggest hurdles for implementation is the cost of these machines. Purchasing an entire production line of robots requires a substantial financial investment, one that many companies may not be able to afford at the moment. This has given rise to Robots as a Service where manufacturers can ‘lease’ these robots for production and use them for smaller production runs. This presents a more affordable solution to a wider range of companies, but this also presents additional shipping challenges in getting these robots from their manufacturing base to the customers. This will truly highlight the importance of partnering with a reliable carrier that is experienced in transporting these valuable machines with care.

Preservation of Units

Speaking of transporting robotic units with care, while there is ‘less’ of a shortage of the individual parts that construct these automation machines, this means that many manufacturers are looking to reduce the risk of damage occurring while transporting these machines. With the challenges of securing parts fresh in their memory, many of these companies don’t want to spend any additional time on repairs than is absolutely necessary. This is why many automation companies are looking to carriers who can provide them with the exceptional service necessary to ensure that these valuable machines arrive on the production floor on time and undamaged. Many automation companies are looking to protect their products from damage, especially when the needs of their customers are at stake.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of protecting these valuable automation machines from the hazards of transport. We work diligently with you and your customers to find the right solutions necessary when it comes to getting these machines to the customer’s dock on time and undamaged. We have devised a number of custom carrier solutions that will protect your products at all times while they’re in our care. While you build the factory of the future, we’ll be there to help you protect it. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The State of Plant Nurseries for 2023

One of the industries that we have had the privilege of expanding into providing solutions for would be the Garden & Plant Nursery Industry. Plant nurseries have a real need for additional care in getting their shipments to their destination undamaged since these plants are alive and are sensitive to temperature. This week, we’re highlighting some of the trends of plant nurseries for 2023 and how these trends will affect your business.

Gardening is Good for the Mind

There is no shortage of studies which state that gardening is good for mental health. Other studies have shown that being around and caring for plants helps reduce stress, which has been vital for many people over the past few years. This trend has shown no signs of slowing down, as people and offices want more plants in these spaces. The demand is so great that many plants which aren’t even traditional houseplants are being brought inside. Expect a diverse range of orders this year and develop a transport plan that will protect these plants until they get to their destination.

New Victorian Style

While the result is likely from popular television series set in Victorian Britain, there has been a remarkable resurgence in demand for roses, hydrangeas and lilacs. Many gardeners are in search of the ‘cottage look’ for their gardens and they’re returning to plants they likely saw in their mothers or grandmothers gardens. Expect an increase in demand for all of these inherently delicate flowers, with a plan to ensure their safe transport so that they’re ready for planting this spring.

Temperature Controlled Transport

The latest trend for plant nurseries from our perspective is that many nurseries are looking to reduce the loss they experience from shipping their plants ‘dry,’ that is on a truck without any form of protection. Nurseries aren’t just looking to minimize their losses, many are looking to eliminate them altogether. Nurseries have been turning to temperature controlled trailers which provide the optimal temperature for all of the plants inside the trailer, rather than gambling against the elements or hoping for protection within a masterbox. A temperature controlled trailer helps eliminate unnecessary damage to the plants and is a far more sustainable solution in the long run for nurseries.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of helping your customers develop a beautiful garden. That’s why we provide nurseries with a variety of solutions that will help their plants get to their destination on time and undamaged. We can provide a temperature controlled service from the time of pickup until the plant’s arrival at its destination or we can even provide temperature control for the entire duration your plants are within our care. These solutions will help ensure your plants will arrive hydrated and healthy, right on time for spring planting. To see all of the custom carrier solutions that we can provide your nursery, start today with Zip Xpress!

Office Furniture & Working From Home

Last week, we created our state of the industry to provide our partners in the office furniture sector a glimpse into the trends that we believe will be affecting their business in 2023. There was one area that while we knew it was part of a larger trend, it was an area that we wanted to address as its own article due to the unique nature of shipping.

The trend is: working from home and its impact on office furniture shipments

As many associates and organizations develop work from home policies that work for their businesses, a trend we’ve noticed is there has been a rise in smaller furniture orders requiring shipment to residential addresses. This is no doubt due to a desire to provide a better work from home experience by having office furniture shipped directly to a valued associate’s home office. While this trend has admirable intentions, it has proven to be a tricky challenge to navigate for many carriers. The reason why it’s so tricky? Many may not realize that we as carriers can only deliver using semi trucks, and it can be quite a surprise for everyone when one of our semi trucks arrives at a residential address for a delivery.

These shipments to residential addresses put a lot of strain on carriers compared to deliveries to a commercial building with a dock. Shipments to residential addresses will likely incur additional fees based on the carrier, and oftentimes carriers can’t get to a residential address due to local laws inhibiting a semi truck ability to deliver the shipment. Yet as the situation continues to evolve, there is little doubt that solutions will present themselves, whether that be coordinating a pickup location at a terminal for the customer or some other means. It is important to remember the value of coordinating and communicating with your carrier when it comes to work from home office furniture shipments.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of protecting office furniture. We will work with your organization to provide the guidance you need in order to navigate this trend and provide you with the custom carrier solutions that will get your shipments to their destination on time and undamaged. We are one of the best carriers in West Michigan when it comes to shipping office furniture and have maintained a 99% satisfaction rating with all of our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The State of Office Furniture for 2023

One of the industries that has overcome many challenges over the last few years has no doubt been the office furniture industry. While many organizations are seeking the right fit for how they work, office furniture manufacturers are working hard to accommodate every office environment. The goal of every office furniture manufacturer is to provide the products that companies need to help associates do their best while they’re in the office. In turn, our goal is to provide the solutions these office furniture manufacturers need to get their shipments to their destinations on time and undamaged. This week we outline the trending products that will make a big impact in 2023 as well as the strategies we use to protect these shipments while they’re in our care.

Standing Desks

With associates focusing more on movement and being conscious about the amount of time sitting at a desk, standing desks have seen an increase in popularity due to providing associates with the option for different positions throughout the course of their day. Many associates want to be able to shift how they work throughout the day and standing desks help provide flexible options in the workplace environment. Since standing desks are made from a variety of materials, including wood, steel and or laminate, they are all in need of extra care during shipping. Some of the solutions we utilize is our blanket wrap solution as well as additional straps to help prevent movement during transport. However, standing desks are not the only office feature seeing an increase in orders, since companies are placing a higher emphasis on collaboration.

Collaboration Tools

Many offices are seeking to increase collaboration between associates, which means there will be a likely increase in tables, whether they be for the conference room or the break room. Since many associates come to the office for collaborative work, the need for tables, chairs, whiteboard and other collaborative tools will see an increase in demand. Due to these tables being constructed from a wide variety of materials as well as their irregular shape, they would also benefit from our blanket wrap solution as well as a few other methods used by our freight handlers to secure them during transport. While collaboration is vital for success, there is still the question about what these new offices will look like. To design these new office layouts, companies will need partitions.


It can be argued that partitions are more important than ever when it comes to office development, especially since associates intend on using the office space for different purposes. Some wish to collaborate, some want a focused cubicle to work in. Others prefer a one on one meeting space. Whatever the reasons may be, partitions will be in high demand to design the best office layout for your customers. To protect these we can also provide our blanket wrap solution as well as additional layouts inside the trailer that will ensure your shipment will get to its destination on time and undamaged.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of helping you develop the most effective office space for your customers. Whichever part of the office environment you create, we’re here to help you get it to your customer on time and undamaged, period. We know what it means to provide associates with a productive and professional work environment where they can accomplish all of their goals while in the office. Whatever the challenge you face in getting your office furniture to your customer’s doors, we have a custom carrier solution that will help you get it to them on time and undamaged no matter what. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Automation Sector: Is Your Supply Chain Ready?

Many challenges have been prevalent across the American economy, and one of the most pressing has been labor shortages, primarily in manufacturing. As a means of combating these challenges, many manufacturers have turned to automation machinery, generally as a means of bolstering their workforce. The Association for Advanced Automation recently announced that member providers sold an astounding nearly 12,000 units in Q1 of this year alone, with the total valuation of the machines at $646 million. In short, it is a great opportunity for many of these automation manufacturers, but there is a question that remains for the automation sector: is your supply chain ready to handle the increase in orders?

Your technology has become a boon to many companies, and transporting these valuable machines is more important than ever before. Getting your products to your customers is vital because they likely need these machines online in order to keep production going and it is unwise to leave a shipment such as this to chance. Too many carriers are in a position where if your shipment is lost or damaged they will simply ‘move on’ to the next customer, while you and your customer will be left with the task of repairing and/or replacing your machine, causing more delays, more headaches and loss of trust with the carrier.

It would be far better to work with a carrier that is experienced in unique and valuable freight, one that is able to help you build your supply chain as you experience this remarkable growth. Here at Zip Xpress, we maintain a higher standard when it comes to shipping, providing over 20 years of experience in handling unique freight. One of the primary industries we serve is automation and robotics technologies and you can be assured that all of your vital equipment will reach your customer on time and undamaged.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of automation in today’s world. The value this sector brings to our economy is only going to grow and those machines need to be delivered to their customers safely. As the sector continues to grow these companies will inevitably need to grow their supply chains and will need a partner that will help them through all of their shipping challenges. No matter what happens, we will be able to meet those challenges with our custom carrier solutions and help our customers reach their full potential. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Surge in Automation & Conveyors

It is no secret that many manufacturers are turning to automation in an attempt to meet the challenges surrounding the increase in demand that we have seen year. Companies are pouring resources into robotics and conveyor systems in order to increase their output, but are the companies in these industries prepared for their own surge in demand? Are their supply chains designed to handle a large influx of orders? Robotics and conveyor machinery are not the easiest products to ship, and many companies may be unsure of how to handle delivery of such unique freight.

We always advise companies to do their research when it comes to selecting a supply chain partner and not rely on brokerages who only offer cut-rate service. We’ve seen this scenario many times: unique freight such as a robotics or conveyor system gets damaged in transport because it wasn’t secured properly. The customer is frustrated since they’re not able to get their new equipment running, which also costs them in delayed production. You need to file a claim for the damaged shipment and then while you wait for the claim to be processed, you also need to manufacture a replacement for the customer. That’s a lot of resources tied up, especially when you’re working hard to fulfill additional orders coming through.

The best solution for automation and conveyor manufacturers is relying on a carrier that handles unique freight and will ensure that your shipments will arrive undamaged and on time. Machinery such as this is simply too valuable to risk with a cut-rate service provider who sees your freight as just another shipment they need to get out the door. Why put your shipments at risk? Let’s focus instead on creating a reliable supply chain that can handle the increase in demand and help grow your business.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need to ensure that your unique freight arrives undamaged and on time. We specialize working with manufacturers of automation and conveyor systems and we have a long history of satisfied customers who can attest to our service. When you’re working to fulfill your orders, consider working with a company that you can trust, one who will delight your customers and ensure your freight arrives undamaged and on time. That’s because premium is the standard with Zip Xpress. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!