supply chain talent

The Importance of People in the Supply Chain

As technology continues to progress at record paces, people are beginning to worry about their own place in the workforce. Robots have taken over certain manufacturing jobs and computers are beginning to take over in the service industries. Those who work in logistics have expressed concern about technologies such as self-driving trucks and rideshare programs. These are valid concerns, but the truth is that people are always going to have a place in the supply chain and are vital in developing and maintaining relationships.

Logistics is an industry that has always adapted to change, and newer technologies will never change that. In fact, there will be even more opportunities for humans in logistics as we begin to harness the power of these technologies. Someone will have to maintain the newer, more advanced trucks, and people are always going to have to interact with the customer. No matter how far artificial intelligence comes, it will never replace the value that an experienced professional person brings to the table. Vendors, suppliers, and customers all value the relationships that they have with each other, and robots are not going to change that. At Zip Xpress, we understand that these technologies are designed to assist on the delivery end, and that nothing can replace the keen eye of a well put together dispatch board. Everyone in the company knows about every shipment, and every single person can provide a customer with a quote.

Instead of worrying that computers are going to take over our positions, we should ask ourselves what we can do to maximize our presence in the supply chain. Technology should be seen as a tool to help us become more efficient, not as a threat to our livelihood. If we can use technology to improve our personal relationships with our customers, then we are taking a step in the right direction. Logistics professionals should not make the mistake of letting computers take over for them, instead they should be using these technologies as supplemental devices that are simply there to let humans focus on our most important tasks and ideas, like figuring out how to make an impossible shipment happen for a customer. To connect with one of our human experts, get started with Zip Xpress today!

domestic freight

The ELD Mandate and its Effects on Carrier Behavior

The first quarter numbers are out, and the transportation industry has seen major changes since passage of the ELD Mandate. While load-to-truck ratios and shipping rates have reached record highs, productivity has been drastically reduced. The new laws and requirements have had a dramatic effect on carrier behavior. This has consequently made it more difficult for shippers to get their products delivered according to their desired schedule. It is important to understand why certain decisions are being made on the carrier end as a result of these changes.

The electronic log books generally provide little room for error, so drivers are being far more discerning in the loads that they are willing to haul. Because they must meet tighter deadlines or risk being shut down and losing their next load, they are avoiding shipments that are susceptible to detention issues and longer loading times. This is a major problem in the grocery and produce sectors, so shippers in those parts are seeing rates go up and capacity decrease. Some drivers will flat-out refuse grocery shipments from certain shippers based on their reputations for detaining drivers. Increased rates on that shipment may not be enough to offset the potential loss of their next shipment as a result of detention.

There has also been a decrease in capacity for “borderline” lanes, or routes where the mileage is right on the cusp of the one-day or two-day barrier. ELD restrictions mean that drivers can’t make the mileage overnight, and their load may spill over into a second day on a shipment that used to take only one day. Major lanes like Chicago to Nashville, Philadelphia to Atlanta, and New York to Cleveland have all been affected by this. Carriers are asking for rates that are sometime more than double what they used to receive in order to make up for lost revenue while waiting around to finish these shorter lanes.

Another major change is in the market for dedicated runs. With pricing on the rise and capacity decreasing, carriers can pick and choose from the spot market and make more money than they used to with static runs. Market volatility has contributed to this, and it correlates heavily with the passing of the ELD mandate. Shippers should do themselves a favor and brush up on the spot market if they haven’t already, as these trends are likely to continue into the future. It may be a difficult time to adjust to these changes in the market, but as carriers have felt the effects of the mandate, they are more aware of what they need to do in order to remain profitable. If you need guidance on how the ELD mandate can affect your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress

Zip Xpress ELD

The ELD Mandate – Findings for First Quarter of 2018

The US Government enacted its long-awaited Electronic Logging Device mandate on December 18, 2017. Many changes were expected to come of this, including a significant number of drivers and trucks leaving the roads. However, there was actually a 1% increase in active carriers between the time the mandate was enacted and February 18th, 2018. Despite many truckers saying that they would leave the industry due to the new mandate, a decrease in drivers has not come to fruition in the first quarter of the new year. Still, there is much speculation as to what will happen on April 1st, when all trucks not utilizing ELDs will be put out of service.

One major finding from January of 2018 is that capacity has been drastically reduced. In fact, load-to-truck ratios were just under 10 to 1, which is a record high. This is a dramatic year over year change from 2017, when the ratio was approximately 3 to 1 (2016 was 2 to 1, for reference). It may be too early to tell if this is directly related to the ELD mandate, but the correlation is certainly there. With drivers being under stricter rules and on tighter deadlines, they are likely not able to service as many shipments in a short amount of time as they have in previous years.

In addition to record-low capacity, the industry also saw record highs in rates. Again, it can’t be said with certainty that this is linked to the ELD mandate, but the numbers are there to support it. This is especially true when considering that van rates were still 32% higher in February 2018 than in 2017. There was not a major increase in loads year over year, so the significant rate increases are intriguing. If they are linked to this mandate, it is likely due to decreased productivity, especially on borderline trips. 500 to 600-mile trips that used to take one day have now become two-day trips due to legal requirements. This could mean that carriers are charging higher rates to make up for lost time. Confused about how to navigate the ELD terrain? Start Today with Zip Xpress – we’ll help find the best shipping solution for your company’s needs.

domestic freight service

Autonomous Trucks and the Future of Logistics

In Early February, San Francisco based tech startup Embark successfully completed a cross-country trip using an automated truck. The test run, which hauled an empty trailer from Los Angeles, CA to Jacksonville, FL, is said to be the first coast-to-coast trip involving an autonomous big rig. It still took the standard 5 day transit time, as there was a driver in the unit ready to take over if the vehicle experienced problems at any time. The goal for Embark, however, is to build upon this technology so that human interaction will not be needed for any of the highway driving – only for the final miles of the delivery as well as local and city driving. Too see their truck at work, watch the video below.

Embark is still probably several years away from their goal of completely driverless trucks. Still, there is much to be learned from their current success. The aforementioned truck used was a modified Peterbilt that was outfitted with sensors and guided by self-driving software. This means that for owner-operators and trucking companies with vehicles already on the road, purchasing entire new fleets may not be necessary to get into the autonomous game. With at least several years to go before reliable driverless trucks will be introduced, this would be one way to stay ahead of the competition in a rapidly changing industry.

The development of autonomous trucks does not mean the end of driving jobs as we know them. In fact, it could mean the opposite. As mentioned earlier, self-driving units currently require someone behind the wheel to monitor the truck and watch for disengagements. This could mean we’ll see a boom in tech-forward thinkers who want to be part of this revolution and experience the open road. Even down the line, with autonomous trucks potentially making cross-country trips in 2 days rather than 5, we will need more final mile and local drivers than ever before. With e-commerce driving the demand for just-in-time delivery, we will see an influx of freight which will in turn drive the demand for these jobs.

Here at Zip Xpress we’re always focused on staying ahead in innovation and state of the art technology. With expedited LTL services and inventive Headload solutions to optimize space, Zip Xpress has rapidly become a preferred carrier for high-profile companies across the nation. The team at Zip Xpress are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve and and continually finding fresh new ideas to achieve higher customer satisfaction ratings. To increase your shipping satisfaction, start today with Zip Xpress!

Electric Semi

Meijer Buys Into Tesla Semi After Price Announcement

Tesla recently announced that its electric freight truck, the Tesla Semi, will have an expected base price of $150,000 (300-mile range) or $180,000 (500-mile range). These tentative costs, which are lower than previously anticipated, make the Tesla Semi an attractive option over conventional trucks. For example, an average Class 8 truck costs about $0.54 per mile, compared with Tesla’s $0.26 per mile. Add in the significant cost savings associated with maintaining an electric engine compared with a gas-burning one, and the Tesla starts to look like a no-brainer. As previously reported in this blog, Tesla’s advantages go beyond cost to include speed and safety innovations.

Michigan-based retailer Meijer is looking to Tesla to potentially improve its fleet’s efficiency and reduce costs. The company ordered four trucks, giving it the chance to be among the first to test the electric vehicles.

“This new Tesla truck technology, (sic) has the potential to not only reduce our carbon footprint but also realize cost savings that will allow us to keep prices low for our customers,” the company’s spokesman Frank Guglielmi reported to milve.com.

Meijer, which has 235 stores across the Midwest, currently uses Freightliner Cascadia trucks featuring fuel-efficient, reduced-emissions engines. The company made a $5,000 per vehicle down payment and will decide after testing whether to complete the purchase. Tesla expects to begin Semi production starting in 2019.

Zip Xpress will be following news from both Tesla and Meijer as the electric freight fleet makes its way from test track to highway. Keep up with what’s driving change in trucking at Zip Xpress.

 

 

 

Tesla Semi

The Tesla Semi – A Fully-Electric Semi Truck

The electric-power titan Tesla unveiled a brand new, all-electric semi truck, the Tesla Semi. From 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, the Tesla Semi is a truck that will stand out on the roads and change future freighting traffic.

The electric-power titan Tesla unveiled a brand new, all-electric semi truck, the Tesla Semi. From 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, the Tesla Semi is a truck that will stand out on the roads and change future freighting traffic.

The Semi beats out traditional diesel-powered trucks in many respects. Towing its full capacity of 80,000 pounds, the Semi goes from 0 to 60 in only 20 seconds. On a 5% grade, the Tesla Semi can go up to 65 miles per hour, while diesel-powered trucks top out at 45 miles per hour.

Tesla claims that this speed is complemented by better handling and responsiveness than its diesel competitors, meaning trips will be accomplished more quickly coupled with increased protection. Added safety and assistance features include surround view cameras, two touchscreens to assist with blind spot removal and potential hazard detection and provide trip-log applications, and even Enhanced Autopilot technology. The Semi’s Autopilot features automatic braking, lane keeping, and lane departure alerts.

 

 

Charged by solar power, Tesla’s Megachargers provide the Semi with up to 400 miles of range in a single 30 minute charge. On a full charge, the Semi boasts a range of up to 900 miles, and Tesla hopes to place Megachargers worldwide, so Semi drivers can recharge whenever and wherever they need. The use of solar and electric energy reduces the carbon footprint of the Tesla Semi, providing a sustainable and ecologically-friendly option for those who use semi trucks.

With the Semi, Tesla seeks to create a smoother, faster, safer driving experience. Borrowing from their supercars, Tesla built the Semi to be extremely aerodynamic and able to travel quickly without wasting time or energy. Individual Model 3 wheel motors for each wheel helps prevent jackknifing by detecting changes in the truck’s stability and torquing the necessary wheels and braking as needed.

Due to their lack of a traditional internal combustion engine, Tesla says that the Semi will require a lot less maintenance than their diesel-powered predecessors. Tesla backs their Semis with a one million mile warranty against any breakdowns, hoping to use the Semi to revolutionize the future of shipping and freighting.

At Zip Xpress, we’re excited about Tesla’s innovation and introduction of electric vehicles to the semi-truck market. Sustainability is a topic most semi truck manufacturers have missed, but with the Tesla Semi, sustainable driving is now on the horizon.

To stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in trucking, follow Zip Xpress today!

5 Things to Know About the ELD

5 Things You Need to Know About the ELD

The long-distance trucking industry is about to get a technology update on December 18th, as the log books that have traditionally been used to track drivers hours will be going electronic. After a long wait, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the final electronic logging device rule — or ELD mandate. What is it exactly? And, what does it mean for commercial motor carriers and truck drivers? The log books will only be used for emergency backup purposes. This is causing many logistical headaches for a lot of trucking companies as they ensure that their fleets of vehicles are properly upgraded and equipped with the new mandated time log machines. It also creates extra anxiety for many drivers as they learn to use this new technology and ensure that their hours are properly logged.

However, this technology is guaranteed to be coming in the near future so everyone will need to learn how to adapt to this new technology if they continue to track driver’s time accurately.

The following are 5 things that it is essential to know about the upcoming ELD requirements that will go into effect on December 18th:

  • The December 17th Deadline is Likely Permanent: It is highly unlikely that the date that the ELD will be required to be in use by will be pushed back any further than December 18th. This is true despite many companies voicing their concern over being ready to fully implement this system with their fleets. Seeing that the rule has survived many legal challenges it is unlikely that anything else is going to stop the ELD from being released. Some people are trying to get Congress to try to overturn the ELD, however, that is unlikely to happen as no action has been taken thus far.
  • Drivers Will Have More Control Over Editing: Drivers will be able to edit their logs according to regulations set forward in the ELD. Drivers will have all edits they make to their long “pending” in status until that edit is approved, however, if the edit is “rejected” the ELD will have a reconciliatory procedure in place for drivers to go through so that they are appropriately compensated for their hours worked.
  • Many ELD Systems Will Offer Much More Than Just Electronic Logs: Low-cost systems that just track driver’s hours will be available but many will be able to do much more. Some will be able to provide reports on the amount of fuel used and others will offer to dispatch, messaging, and workflow applications. Whatever the fleet needs these electronic trackers to track they can track. You can choose for it to be much or little as you want it to be. Consequently, you can also determine how little or much your company wants to spend equipping their vehicles with this technology.
  • Choosing the Right Provider For Your Fleet: It will also be key that you choose the right provider to provide the ELD technology services to your fleet. Ensure that your devices are all compliant with the ELD regulations and requirements. Be sure that the service provider you choose has a solid financial background and will be there to provide service for years into the future.
  • Develop Procedures & Policies For Your Fleet: Provide policies and procedures to your managers on how these systems should be used. Train your drivers to use the systems only in accordance with the company policies developed to avoid misuse of these systems and to ensure that the new systems are used only for what they are meant to be used for.

The ELD system is coming December 18th, so use these great tips to ensure that your fleet and your drivers are prepared!