Happy Thanksgiving from Zip Xpress!

This year has been a year filled with blessings all made possible by all of the people connected with Zip Xpress. It is the people involved with this company – from our associates to our customers who have helped us become a premier provider of custom carrier solutions. We are so grateful to all of you and look forward to continue serving you for many years to come. Happy Thanksgiving from Zip Xpress!

Trailer Maintenance and the Benefits to Your Supply Chain

While not covered in a lot of media, there is a drastic shortage at the moment for trailers in the logistics sector. There are a multitude of reasons for this shortage, some of which include:

  • Trailers being used as temporary warehousing
  • The cost of materials and 
  • Lack of production

As a result of these factors prices have skyrocketed for both new and used trailers. To combat the rising prices, many carriers will need to use what they have which will require many shippers to perform additional due diligence when it comes to selecting a carrier to handle their shipments.

What sort of due diligence? A shipper needs to be confident that carriers are investing in their equipment, especially their trailers right now. With trailers being sold at a premium, many carriers may be simply running these trailers longer than they should in the hopes of getting extra mileage. This could result in an increase in breakdowns when getting your shipments to the customer. Carriers that utilize proper maintenance schedules can extend the lifespan of a trailer by a significant amount. As long as these trailers are being properly inspected, maintained and repaired, there is less likelihood of preventable breakdowns from occurring.

How is a shipper to know if a carrier is performing routine maintenance of their trailers? Well the first step is to ask if they have a maintenance policy on their equipment and what that entails. If they mention their trailers, ensure they’re performing repairs of tires, airlines and brakes which all go a long way in preventing a trailer from falling into disrepair. Additional maintenance of trailers is absolutely crucial at a time such as this, especially for many carriers because the cost of these trailers is prohibitive. Performing your due diligence to ensure your carrier’s trailers are maintained will also ensure that your shipments will receive the care they deserve. After all, if a carrier isn’t paying attention to their trailers, how will you know if they’re paying attention to your shipments?

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of proper trailer maintenance. Our drivers notify our office about any concerns they may have with their truck or trailer. We also have dedicated maintenance schedules for our entire fleet where we inspect the machines and schedule for repairs with a dedication maintenance professional. We care deeply about the state of our equipment and believe that proper maintenance allows more satisfaction from our drivers who in turn are happier in getting shipments to their destination on time and undamaged. Plus our dedication to our equipment shows the level of service you can expect for your shipment while it’s in our care. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Perception of The American Trucker is Changing

Last Thursday, the group Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) released the results of a poll they conducted on how Americans perceive truck drivers. The reason for the poll was to measure the impact of awareness as well as education campaigns targeted at American motorists. The national poll which was conducted Sept. 7-14 by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of TMAF, surveyed 1,000 registered voters.

The results of this poll? According to the TMAF’s co-chairman Kevin Burch: “The image of the trucking industry is stronger than ever!” Some of the key findings included:

  • 87% of voters have a favorable impression of the trucking industry.
  • 97% of Americans believe the trucking industry plays a “very important” role in the country’s economy.
  • Three-quarters of Americans rate the industry’s safety record as “excellent” or “good.”
  • 96% of Americans stated that truck drivers are essential to keeping the country’s economy moving.
  • 85% consider truck drivers to be professionals.
  • 78% believe that truck drivers have higher standards for safety than other drivers.
  • When voters were asked which group of workers should be considered “essential or critical” to the country in times of crisis, trucking ranked top three along with grocery store workers and healthcare workers.
  • More than 40% of Americans say they know someone who works in the trucking industry, and their impression is more favorable of the industry at 87%.

We’re deeply proud to see such results when it comes to the perceptions of truckers in the industry. It’s clear that the past few years have highlighted the importance of drivers to our nation’s economy and made it apparent just how important they are to the American supply chain. One of our goals has always been to show just how much we as a country need our drivers and give them the respect they deserve. It is our hope that Americans will continue to view drivers with respect and realize just how important it is to keep goods getting to the customer.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of showing how much drivers matter to the supply chain. Drivers are the face of a logistics provider and can make or break an experience. We’re proud to say that all of our drivers are friendly and will do whatever it takes to help you with your shipment – both with pickup and delivery. Many other businesses that have had the pleasure of working with our drivers claim that they’re some of the friendliest in the business and always appreciate working with them. It’s one of the many reasons we’re able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with all of our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Leading the Way in Specialized Freight

There are times when a company realizes that a section of the market is drastically underserved. One of the areas that we here at Zip noticed was that unique freight, that is, freight which wasn’t ‘neatly’ shaped or freight that needed to be handled with care was being drastically underserved in the marketplace. Many carriers were unwilling or unable to provide adequate service for these shippers, however we knew that there had to be a better way of getting these shipments to their destination not only on time, but undamaged as well. Thus we set out to create a new standard of carriers providing great service to their customers and make logistics a better experience for all shippers.

Another way we wanted to help these shippers was by expanding their options when it came to selecting the right shipping solution. Out of all of the shipping options for shippers with unique freight, less than truckload (LTL) can be prohibitively expensive. More often than not it is more affordable to pay for an entire trailer truckload of space than it is to secure a section of the trailer. Plus the risks from increased handling made LTL less than desirable for many of these companies that manufacture unique freight. However, not all of these shipments require a full truckload and it’s a far less than sustainable option for these shippers. We knew that there had to be better solutions available and the service provided by other carriers simply wasn’t cutting it.

Some of the solutions we created for shippers with unique freight include the headload optimization solution which allowed shippers to only pay for the space they were using inside the trailer. This ensured a more sustainable shipment because the shipper wasn’t ‘paying for air’ and allowed us to optimize more shipments in the process. We also created our blanket wrap solution, which helped protect a lot of our customer’s shipments while also being re-usable, again reducing the amount of waste from cardboard. These combined have helped ensure that our customer’s shipments will arrive undamaged, but we’re also able to ensure that every shipment in our care will arrive on time every time. We have many more solutions available, but we strive to provide the best service to all of our customers and continue leading the way with specialized freight.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of caring for unique freight. Our focus has always been on providing exceptional service to our customers by providing solutions that work for their business and protect every shipment while it’s in our care. We work with every customer in solving their shipping problems, no matter what they are and we guarantee we’ll find a custom carrier solution that will help with your next shipment. We strive to get every shipment to its destination undamaged and on time, no matter what. It’s because of these reasons that we’ve been able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rate with our customers for over 20 years and counting. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Building a Bridge of Trust

There hasn’t been a shortage of challenges when it comes to shipping over the past few years. Issues with capacity, challenges in securing materials and now managing the costs of transportation. Shippers have had to overcome a lot as of late and when they were seeing their transportation costs get away from them while still seeing poor service, we’ve seen a lot of animosity develop in the supply chain relationship.

Part of the issue is due to higher costs for both shippers and carriers. A surge in demand from the past few years left carriers struggling to get orders delivered in a timely manner, combined with shortages in their own sector – mainly trailers. As a result of rampant demand prices increased and shippers had to work harder to get their shipments sent out for delivery. Carriers had a responsibility to provide better service during these rampant times, but only time will tell if these carriers delivered on that promise to their customers.

We believe that there needs to be a bridge of trust between both shippers and carriers. One should not be out to harm the other and both must see each other as more than a transaction. There needs to be a partnership between the two parties, otherwise they will find themselves locked in a vicious cycle that will inevitably lead to hostility and the one who will suffer when it’s all over? The customer. 

How do we build a bridge of trust? Shippers need to perform their own due diligence in finding a carrier they can work with that meets their needs. They shouldn’t seek cut-rate service from brokers since this will only result in more mistrust for carriers. Brokers are incentivized to keep shippers in their pocket and will not speak well of most carriers. On the other side carriers need to focus on providing better service, especially now that capacity is opening up. Carriers have no excuse. It is our responsibility to provide a great service that shippers can rely on, because we’re nothing without our customers. It is important to always remember: both shipper and carrier will always remember how the other one treated them.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of building a bridge of trust with customers. We go out of our way to provide exceptional service to all of the shippers we have the privilege of working with. When you call Zip Xpress, there will always be a person who will answer the phone and will do everything they can to provide you with the solutions you need for your business. We will call and schedule pickup and delivery, working on the timeframe that works best for your needs. We are also the best in ensuring that your shipments will arrive undamaged and on time and we’ve been the best at it for over 20 years. We look forward to showing how we can help your business. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Managing Supply Chain Silos

We are at a time where many are seeking fully optimized supply chains. The experiences of the past few years have opened our eyes to the silos that may exist in delaying shipments – the sections of the supply chain which are disconnected from the communication network of the greater whole. The stifled communication as a result of these silos makes getting your products to the customer difficult and creates an environment where it’s difficult to adapt. Finally, these issues in communication create dissatisfaction amongst members of the supply chain which mainly results in dissatisfaction for the customer’s experience. Let’s learn the ways we can uncover silos and how they can be addressed to revitalize your organization’s supply chain.

The first method for finding silos is to develop a holistic vision for the organization’s supply chain. From product inception all the way to final delivery to the customer, the vision needs to entail the customer’s experience to ensure alignment between sales and operations. Developing this alignment and getting everyone involved in the process helps foster ownership, creating the buy-in necessary to make the vision a permanent reality for the organization. Explain your goals when working with vendors and other stakeholders – oftentimes they’re willing to help because they care about quality too and your success is their success. Finally, pay close attention to every area – from packaging to compliance with shipping regulations, every area needs to be included in the execution for this plan to work.

Once the vision is created, you must develop a comprehensive and cohesive communication plan for members of the supply chain with a focus on the entire supply chain. Understanding where silos can and have occurred is a necessary step in order to begin breaking down barriers to success. Improving processes and procedures will work wonders when it comes to creating consistency for all of your shipments. Having step by step instructions available for members of the supply chain ensures that you will get the consistency you need and the growth you deserve.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of removing unnecessary barriers across the supply chain. We do this by communicating with our customers as well as their customers every step of the way while their shipments are in our care. We schedule pickup as well as delivery, making the process ideal for our customers. We work according to the schedule of our customers and their customers, providing them with timely deliveries that will get to their destination on time and undamaged, no matter what. It’s because of this dedication to service that we’re able to maintain a 99% customer satisfaction rating with all of our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Creating More Sustainable Solutions

In a recent survey conducted by the business applications firm CGS, 42% of respondents indicate that they would prefer a sustainable shipping solution over expedited shipping. That means there was a willingness to wait longer for a shipment so long as the shipment was delivered sustainably. Now while this particular survey was more focused on retail, the sustainability movement is gaining momentum in every area of the economy. People understand that we need to preserve the world we live in and that we can make a difference so long as we work together to do so. There are many ways we can create a more sustainable supply chain, especially in logistics.

 

One of the best ways to create a more sustainable supply chain is to reduce the amount of ‘air’ and empty space within trailers. While electric vehicles and biodiesel fuels are still being developed, this is a solution that can be implemented right away. Carriers can work together to optimize shipments and reducing the empty space is vital in preventing only partially filled trucks (oftentimes marked as ‘full trailer’ shipments) from being on the road. Driving these partial trailers consumes fuel, increases damage to highways as well as the trucks themselves. Taking the time to optimize shipments and recycle air helps reduce emissions and create a viable sustainable solution that works for every member of the supply chain.

 

Another area that we can focus on more sustainable solutions is packaging. There are a lot of advances being made in the field of corrugated packaging and while these are noble, oftentimes we must ask: how many of these shipments truly need packaging? While it’s hard to determine the percentage of shipments that truly need packaging, we know that a lot of shippers use more than is necessary. Working with your carrier to determine the minimum amount of packaging will help provide a clear picture of what is ‘just right’ for your shipments. In many cases, shippers will find that they can safely eliminate packaging from their shipments altogether, thus providing another means of creating a more sustainable supply chain.

 

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of creating a sustainable supply chain. We work to optimize every shipment in our care to reduce and most times eliminate the amount of empty space in our trailers. We also work with shippers to reduce and even in many cases eliminate the packaging their shipments contain, creating a more sustainable solution that many may not have considered. Finally, we’re able to prove that all of our measures are making a difference with a monthly carbon reduction report that we provide our customers with. They’re able to see the impact they’re making when selecting us as their carrier of choice. To see how we can help you create a more sustainable supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Finding the Right Carrier in West Michigan

Logistics providers have had to wear a lot of hats in an effort to stay competitive in the marketplace. Such extension of services can inevitably lead to confusion when a shipper is searching for the right carrier to become their shipper of choice. The question then becomes: how is a shipper to differentiate from all of the carrier options that are available to them? While price is usually a large factor, it often proves to be one of the least valuable metrics in selecting the right carrier here in West Michigan.

Determine Your Company’s Criteria

The first step for a shipper in selecting the right carrier is to determine the most important criteria for your business. It is vital to define a successful shipment and what that looks like along with the transportation modes you believe are most valuable to your business. Do you have high frequency shipments or does your shipment absolutely need to arrive at its destination undamaged? These questions about your needs will serve as guideposts in navigating the process for selecting the right carrier for your business.

Vet Potential Carriers

It’s important to schedule tours and or discussions with potential carriers since you need an understanding of their network, capabilities as well as strengths and weaknesses. Every carrier has different capabilities and they should be upfront with you about them. Asking about their strengths and weaknesses will tell you a lot about a carrier while also asking them to provide either case studies or testimonials is a reasonable way to be assured they’re able to deliver when you need them to. Once you have a carrier lined up for delivering shipments, it’s time to track their performance.

Track Carrier Performance

A way to ensure you’re getting what you need from your carrier is to track carrier performance through the use of scorecards or quarterly reviews. Measuring carriers against your own service standards is a great way to ensure they’re measuring up to par because carriers want to perform better too. We also believe that shippers should measure tender acceptance and report on it to carriers because shippers are committed to volume and carriers are committed to capacity. Measuring and tracking performance will help you develop a stronger supply chain that will inevitably grow your business.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of finding the right carrier for your business. That’s why we focus on providing the best in service for our customers. We don’t allow for cut-rate service and the results are able to show for themselves. We’re able to get every shipment in our care to its destination on time and undamaged, while also arranging for pickup and delivery with you as well as your customer. It’s because of these high standards that we’re able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with all of our customers. No matter what shipping challenge you have, we have a custom carrier solution for your business. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Maximizing Transport Dollars Through Optimization

A recent industry survey asked shippers and carriers about their biggest challenges in managing their supply chain. While we discussed some of these findings last week, the greatest challenge for many shippers (84%) was in controlling their transportation costs. While there are many factors that go into these costs they are necessary in order to get goods to the customer. However there is a strategy that shippers can adopt which helps them to maximize every dollar they’re spending in shipping, and can create a win-win situation for everyone in the supply chain. But first, we need to understand why transportation costs are so high.

One of the leading reasons for high transportation costs lies in the price of diesel fuel. It’s one of the greatest contributors to unease in the American economy since trucking is the primary means of transporting goods to the customer. Fuel prices have a direct impact on the customer, which unfortunately carriers have little control over. However the biggest contributing factor to transportation costs is that too many trucks are driving across the country with little more than air in their trailers.

The reason for this? Well many shipments are still being marked as ‘Full Truckload’ even though the size of the shipment is nowhere near the size of a trailer. ‘Less than Truckload’ or LTL is not a great alternative due to the cost to the shipper – sometimes that partial truckload shipment can cost as much as a full trailer. Plus many shippers see LTL as risky for their freight.  There is a third option, one which we’ve piloted time and again to great success. Our Headload Optimization solution only charges you for the space you’re using and our experienced freight handlers will ensure your shipments will arrive on time and undamaged. Optimizing shipments like this helps reduce the number of trucks on the road, creating a more sustainable supply chain and maximizing every dollar in your transportation budget.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of maximizing every transportation dollar you spend. That’s why we work to optimize every shipment in our care and provide you with an unmatched level of service. We’ve been helping companies optimize their shipments for more than 20 years and there isn’t a challenge we aren’t ready to meet. Our dedication to service and providing win-win solutions is unparalleled in the industry which is why we’re able to maintain a 99% retention rate with all of our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Planning for a Future that’s Hard to Predict

As we prepare to enter into the final quarter of 2022, many of the challenges that we’ve faced the past few years appear to have eased, if only a little bit. Many business leaders wonder what shipping challenges may come next, but most are ready for what lies ahead. The biggest challenge for many is attempting to plan for a future that is hard to predict. Yet at the heart of this challenge are a few challenges that have always been prevalent when it comes to getting a product to the customer on time and undamaged. We’ll outline the two biggest issues facing shippers and how they can overcome them to have a successful final quarter and hit the new year running.

Finding a Reliable Shipping Partner

Finding a reliable shipping partner has proven time and again to be one of the greatest challenges shippers face in getting their products from production to the customer. Many businesses believe that finding a dedicated shipping partner is preferred even over competitive shipping rates. This goes to show that consistency is what matters most in the logistics industry. Finding the right carrier that will get your shipment to the customer on time and undamaged and provides you with the ease of mind is more important than ever. But how does a manufacturer go about finding the right shipping partner? The best place to start is in doing your research and focusing on the best carriers for your industry. Ask questions, make inquiries and see which carrier is the best fit for your business. This is a long term solution, one that cannot be taken lightly.

Securing Capacity

This doesn’t come as a surprise, but many businesses are still struggling to find capacity for their shipments. The unfortunate truth is that many of those still struggling are only utilizing a broker and are in search of cut-rate service. Again, the best option for these companies is to partner with an experienced carrier that can help solve your capacity challenges. This will take some legwork on everyone’s part and businesses can’t take advantage of each other, at least in the long term. Securing capacity also comes down to optimization. Inquiring about how a carrier optimizes their shipments may help ensure that yours gets added in for delivery, but you’ll need to understand that such expertise needs to be valued. That said, you’ll find that the peace of mind of working with a carrier that can get your shipments to their destination on time and undamaged more than makes up for the cost. You’ll also be able to focus on other important areas, namely working on your business.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand just how difficult it can be to plan for a future that’s hard to predict. While we don’t have any way to predict the future, we focus instead on the fundamentals of providing incredible service and problem solving that gets every shipment to its destination on time and undamaged. We believe that these fundamentals will see us through whatever challenges we come across because focusing on the fundamentals has worked for us for more than 20 years. This focus is also why we’re able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with all of our customers time and time again. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!