Facing Conflict in Logistics

Anyone who has worked in logistics for a significant amount of time can tell you that it isn’t always the most easy-going industry. With so many time-critical operations and different lines of communication, things can get jumbled up quickly and seemingly minuscule errors can turn into high-level catastrophes with a lot on the line. Because of what’s at stake much of the time, tempers can flare and people can become edgy when their freight hasn’t arrived on time. It’s understandable to be upset if you’ve been given the wrong information or if an important shipment gets delayed because of a clerical error, but it’s vital to keep cool and do our best to work calmly and cooperatively through the situation.

Many situations are out of anybody’s control, but customers, carriers, shippers, and brokers may place blame when something goes wrong. This is an easy trap to fall into, and it is important to remember that accusations will not solve the problem at hand. Instead of trying to find a “culprit,” we should search for solutions and open up communication with our partners. This is vital for coworkers as well, since it is common for arguments to arise within the same organization. There’s no benefit to letting tempers flare among coworkers, as a toxic work environment will lead to poor relationships with vendors and customers. We must remember above all else that open and honest communication is vital when working with all of our stakeholders.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that a lot can go wrong during a shipment. Fortunately, our experienced staff is skilled at spotting problems ahead of time and we’ll speak with our partners to ensure their satisfaction. Our team is working around the clock to solve problems and we share the load by working together in order to provide the post possible service. We seek to be open and honest with all of our stakeholders so that we can foster a culture of trust and ensure that everyone’s been heard. If there’s a problem, we’ll work to find a solution – Zip Xpress has a long history of doing just that. To see how well we can work with your organization, start today with Zip Xpress!

Logistics: A Resilient Industry

Lately there has been much debate and speculation about a potential upcoming recession in the US economy. It isn’t a pleasant subject, but it is a reality that we need to face together to work towards the best outcome. Fortunately for some, they work in industries that are considered recession-proof, and logistics is one such industry. This isn’t to say that there won’t be negative consequences – a recession may lead to slower manufacturing and thus less freight overall – but it is noteworthy that there will be plenty of opportunities to remain on the road. Logistics is one of the most resilient sectors of the economy and when combined with dedicated service proves how fruitful these relationships can be.

During recessionary periods, any breakage in a shipment is only exacerbated when resources are tight. Considering the costs of either fixing or remaking the product, it becomes clear that choosing a freight carrier who pays attention to your shipment and will deliver it to the end customer undamaged will help your business more in the long run. Your customer will appreciate the effort, and the relationship can deepen with more mutual trust and understanding, which can help carry businesses through. Companies also will need to make strategic decisions regarding their supply chains, and those who understand the value of a tight and efficient supply chain will side with carriers that have a track record of delivering shipments undamaged and exactly when they say they will.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that resilience is the key and we’re ready to do our part by providing dedicated and consistent service to all of our customers. Our streamlined supply chain and expert team of service professionals will help ensure that your shipment is delivered undamaged and on time. We understand that there is always opportunity, and our goal is to provide that to our customers. Our custom carrier solutions will help your supply chain become more optimized and efficient, so that you can continue delivering to your customers, regardless of what the headlines say. To see how we can help, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Hidden Supply Chain

Everyone knows about truck drivers, warehouses, and manufacturers. These are all things that might come up when you ask a non-logistics worker about the supply chain. They are all certainly integral parts, but they represent only a fraction of the jobs that exist within the supply chain. There are hundreds of tasks being carried out that aren’t directly related to fulfillment or transport of freight, but they have a significant effect on the success of a company’s supply chain. Many people have never heard about reverse logistics or thought about compliance departments, but without these in place, most organizations would fail.

There are many workers within any given manufacturing or logistics company that are important to the supply chain, even if they don’t have a title that jumps out as such. Logistics accounting, for example, is a lot different than a standard accounting department, and requires industry specific training to ensure accuracy and efficiency. At some larger manufacturers, there are entire departments dedicated to order entry, and they play a pivotal role in ensuring that products are shipping on time and delivering to the correct locations. Even recruiting can be considered part of the supply chain, as companies will often utilize specialized recruiters who have a focus in finding and retaining supply chain talent.

While the broad focus of any logistics team is to get a product from point A to point B, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than one may suspect. All of the employees play a major role in making this happen, and it is important to give them credit for being part of the team. When we see a truck driver pull into a dock for delivery, we know that he is part of the supply chain, but we should realize that there are hundreds if not thousands of people who contributed to ensuring that this shipment arrived on time. Being cognizant of this fact can help us to work together to improve our processes in the long run.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the value all of these people contribute to the success of the supply chain. We understand that without them, we cannot possibly be successful, as they come up with many successful ideas to the challenges we face. It is when we focus on the people that make up logistics, we all will create a better supply chain. To see how our dynamic people can help with your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Lingering Shortage of Drivers

The transportation world continued to battle a shortage of able and available drivers throughout 2018 and well into 2019. This issue is plaguing supply chains nationwide, making for a plethora of capacity issues as well as rate increases and planning problems. While there are several things that companies can do to try to recruit new drivers, it is becoming a reality that many will have to find ways to work around the shortage, as you can’t predict the future and it remains entirely possible that even more drivers will leave the workforce as they retire. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help ease the burden and focus on efficiency in order to help with the capacity crunch.

Putting more time and effort into the planning process can help organizations run their supply chains more efficiently. This includes taking a proactive approach towards inventory planning and maximizing routes to cut down on the number of trips that need to be made to fulfill customer requests. At Zip Xpress we’ve talked a few times about our headload services that can provide reliability and flexibility while optimizing multiple shipments on a single truck. This service gives customers the option of shipping smaller shipments but keeping the on-time service of a full truckload. And thanks to our dedicated service schedule, we will make our deliveries on time every time. Period.

Ultimately, manufacturers will need to plan around the oncoming driver shortage. Consider options such as Zip’s headload service, as well as a commitment to planning supply chain operations from the top to avoid unnecessary late deliveries due to the lack of truck drivers. By staying on top of this planning process, we can avoid late shipments. The shortage is a real and tangible issue across the industry, but there are many highly focused professionals who can put strategies together in order to keep transportation running smoothly. To see what our professionals can do for you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Safety in the Supply Chain

From the time a product is thought up to the moment it arrives in a consumer’s home, there are many things that take place. The supply chain can be long and complicated, with multiple warehouses and factories involved, even for some of the most seemingly simple items on the market. In planning for product development and distribution, there are many safety hurdles that must be overcome, and all parties involved should be sure to promote a safe, proactive culture within their organization to ensure the well-being of their employees and their customers. Taking a little bit of extra time to follow safety measures in the beginning is beneficial for anyone who has a hand in moving a product through the supply chain.

A safe environment starts at the top, with those in management and executive positions being key players in creating the right culture. Anyone who works in a warehouse, drives a truck, or even calls shots from a remote desktop should have the proper training and resources before they are given the power to make decisions regarding distribution and transportation. It is essential for any logistics organization to place an emphasis on strong, updated safety training programs and to continually educate their employees about the steps that must be taken to ensure safe and proper transport of their products.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that we need a safe environment to ensure everyone can come home safely. We stress this importance across the organization and can rely on our dynamic team’s experience to ensure that everyone comes home safe. Everyone at Zip Xpress is an experienced logistics professional that understands we’re all one team and an injury to one is an injury to all. We have our own safety processes and procedures that have been developed with years of experience and the understanding that every member of the supply chain is a human being that wants to go home safely at night. It’s simply another factor in developing a more optimized supply chain. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Staying Committed to Sustainability

Formulating and enacting green initiatives can be a challenge for any company, and it’s made even more difficult by the need to get all employees on board. While certain sustainable policies may not affect every employee in the same way, it is still important for organizations to ensure that their workers are understanding and committed to the idea of a greener company. This doesn’t mean forcing beliefs on the workers or changing their entire scope of responsibility. There are many ways that companies can educate their employees on sustainability and instill an interest, or even a passion, for working towards a greener world.

Sustainability benefits not only the environment, but also the companies that practice it. By focusing on sustainable practices, businesses can lower their energy and waste costs in the long run. Educating employees about this may help them realize that a more efficient company is a more profitable one. Once employees understand what’s at stake, they become more focused on the mission of creating a more sustainable company. This can work wonders on a team mentality, and may encourage employees to consider greener action in the future, as well as make them feel valued and significant (which they are in any productive company). Every employee feels appreciated when they see their suggestions come to light.

One of the ways Zip Xpress can assist with your company’s sustainability initiative is with our Carbon Footprint Reports. These reports tell you exactly how much less carbon dioxide is being put into the atmosphere and the effect your company is having on the environment. We can advise on any inefficiencies in your supply chain and provide solutions that can help make your company more sustainable. The feedback provided will be clear evidence on what the company is doing to become more sustainable. From there you can devise your own initiatives and together we can create a more sustainable world. To learn more about how we can help with your initiatives, start today with Zip Xpress!

Staying Comfortable on the Road

Temperatures are up across the country this summer, and that can make for some brutal driving stretches, even if you have great air conditioning in your cab. Other factors such as humidity, long sunlight hours, and unpredictable storm patterns can cause quite a bit of discomfort on long hauls across the country. Even after summer’s over, there are plenty of problems that can be caused by sitting in a cab for hours on end if you don’t set yourself up properly and consider your own well-being. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for truck drivers to keep themselves comfortable and create an ergonomically sound environment for life on the road.

One of the most basic but most important things to do is to make sure that the driver’s cabin is set up correctly for your body. The seat should be set at the appropriate height to prevent your neck from craning or dipping. You should always be looking forward in a natural position, or you may experience nagging neck problems in the future. The steering wheel should be adjusted so that you can easily maintain a comfortable position that doesn’t have you reaching or slouching over it. The best way to ensure proper position of both your seat and steering wheel is to sit as naturally as possible and have them come to you until it is both comfortable and easy to drive. If you’ve adjusted correctly, you should be able to reach the gas, brake, and clutch with minimal movement.

Investing in inexpensive upgrades can also make a world of difference. Things like memory foam cushions or beaded seat covers are ergonomically designed to take some burden off of your most highly taxed muscles and joints. In addition, it can be useful to find light, loose-fitting clothing so that you can move freely and benefit from better circulation. Moving around as much as possible when you get the opportunity is also important, as sitting in the same position for too long can lead to a variety of health problems. If you take these precautions and do your part in setting up a comfortable cab, you will be far happier and healthier every time you set out for a drive.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of keeping drivers safe and comfortable. We do our best to stay conscious of these vital members of the supply chain so that they can do their jobs. To see the other ways we support our professional staff and our customers, start today with Zip Xpress!

Best Practices in Driver Management

Driving a truck is not an easy job. There are strict deadlines to meet, stricter laws to follow, and a lot of unexpected events that take place throughout the course of any shipment. Unfortunately, many of the difficulties of driving a truck go unnoticed by the people who rely on them the most. Dispatchers, brokers, shippers, and end customers often fail to understand the challenges involved with moving a load from point A to point B, and they’ll often blame drivers for situations that are entirely out of their control. When it comes to managing drivers – whether you work for the carrier, broker, or customer – there are several things we can do to better understand their needs and plan for our own successes.

Everybody who is involved with the supply chain needs to first put themselves in the driver’s position. If you have a shipment moving from Holland to San Francisco, imagine yourself pulling up to the shipping dock and waiting to load. Take a look at how many miles need to be traveled, and consider external factors such as weather and traffic. When you have an idea of how much work needs to be put into every shipment, you’ll be able to communicate more naturally with the driver and set realistic expectations for the route. If a driver feels uncomfortable with the amount of time he or she has been given to make transit, it is vital to listen to their concerns, even if it means changing your plans for the load. These are people, not machines, and we need to put their safety first, as well as the safety of everyone else on the road.

At Zip Xpress, our concern is always first and foremost on the driver. It is important to realize that as members of the supply chain, we are on the same team with the driver that interacts with our shipments. Whether someone is sitting at a desk entering orders, managing inventory on the warehouse floor, or analyzing packaging trends, we all need to support each other, and must work respectfully with all of our drivers to encourage efficiency and safety. When you treat the people who haul your freight with respect, you will benefit from stronger relationships and higher rates of success. To see how we can help optimize your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Transparent Transportation

In an age where it seems like people are always connected to each other, and when you can get real-time updates from friends across the world, there is an unfortunate lack of connection throughout the transportation industry. Brokers or carriers will suddenly disappear when a shipment hasn’t shown up for its appointment, or GPS tracking sites will conveniently go down as an urgent delivery is approaching. The technology for simple, seamless communication and tracking is readily available, but many organizations are slow to adapt or simply don’t want to embrace it at all. This is a recipe for disaster, and the transportation providers that commit to honesty and transparency will be the ones who succeed in the long run.

Transparency, however, is a two-way street that requires constant communication and a certain level of teamwork in order to benefit both parties. Shippers must let their providers know if a production line is down or if there is going to be a delay in loading. On the flipside, carriers need to be proactive about communicating any delays on their end, whether it be a broken down truck, a weather issue, or a simple data entry error. When either side tries to jump through hoops to fabricate a story rather than being open and honest, it hurts not only the particular shipment, but also the relationship as a whole. One simple mistake is nothing to end a relationship over, but if any party – shipper, manufacturer, or carrier – develops a habit of constantly backtracking, it is likely that the other parties will walk away in search of new business.

At Zip Xpress, our goal is to be as transparent as possible throughout the life of every shipment. We seek to foster a culture of trust between all stakeholders, because we believe that working together is better for shared success. We understand that early communication allows our customers to plan for any contingency and ensure that our shipments arrive on time. When we work as a team with our vendors, providers, and clients, we create an understanding relationship that allows all parties to improve their supply chain operations. To see this transparency for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Why Warehouse Efficiency Matters

Many people underestimate the importance of a clean, efficient warehouse in boosting the overall effectiveness of an organization’s supply chain. This is a grave mistake, because an efficient warehouse leads to improvements in inventory planning, loading times, fulfillment abilities, and far more. In addition to streamlined operations, a clean warehouse also leads to a safer, more professional environment that will make for happier employees and satisfied clients, especially if it is open for customer visits. Companies who don’t put an emphasis on cleanliness and efficiency are likely losing out on profits and new customers, so it is important to keep some things in mind when it comes to maintaining a warehouse.

Many changes seem incredibly simple, but they can play a major role in helping employees and equipment become more productive. Something as basic as labeling aisles can work wonders for walking employees and forklift drivers, as well as dock workers who need to minimize the time it takes to load a truck. Planning ahead to keep popular inventory nearer to the docks can also ensure that it is loaded and turned over quickly. This keeps detention at a minimum which in turn makes for happier truck drivers, meaning that carriers will be more willing to return to the warehouse in the future. It also helps to reduce the likelihood that these same drivers will need to shut down before they can make on-time delivery. Quicker in and out times means fewer worries about making transit time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that when a warehouse is firing on all cylinders, everybody benefits, from lift operators to members of the executive board. Even the smallest delays can cause extraordinary ripple effects, and working to minimize these provides a myriad of benefits to any organization. It is simply another piece of optimizing our supply chain. To see this optimization for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!