The Ups and Downs of Team Driving

Driving a truck can be a lonely, stressful job. Long hours on the road and away from family can take its toll on people, and regulations can make it difficult to make deliveries on time. Fortunately, driving as a team is something that can take a bit of the sting out of all of these things. By switching drivers when one’s hours are up, a team can deliver more loads in less time, making more money by doing so and keeping each other company while on the road. There are many husband and wife teams that travel across the country all year long and thoroughly enjoy doing so.

While it can be nice to have a companion, team driving can also lead to some tension considering the close quarters people have to share. Hopefully your partner is taking his or showers whenever they get the chance, otherwise you may be in for some long, uncomfortable stretches! And if you don’t share the same taste in music, then you both better have some good conversational skills, lest you want to drive all week in silence. Fortunately, there are some pretty nice sleeper cabs out there that can help you keep at least a little bit of distance, and noise cancelling headphones might give you some peace during your break.

While there are challenges that come with driving as a team (as with any job that requires close cooperation with another person), it has become something that many drivers prefer. The ability to log more miles in fewer days and to share the driving experience with a friend or significant other is something that many people find invaluable. The good news is that you aren’t obligated to drive as a team at all times, so you can take on your own jobs if you ever need a break.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the value team driving can bring out on the open road. Our goal is to show appreciation to all drivers out on our nation’s highways and team drivers are another method we use to ensure our freight arrives undamaged and on time. To see how our drivers can ensure your product will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Making the Switch to Logistics

The economy has seen some pretty consistent gains over the past decade, and employment has been one metric that has steadily improved. As a result, people are looking for employment that presents a challenge, offers a real chance for advancement and will be around for the long haul. That’s why we suggest making the switch to logistics. Logistics, is a relatively recession-proof industry that might provide lucrative careers for those looking to make a switch.

Many people don’t understand the scope of the logistics industry and might write it off because they don’t think they have the skills necessary to succeed in it. However, there are numerous skills that can translate well into the industry. Every logistics firm has a need for salespeople, accountants, finance gurus, and IT workers. Previous experience in the field is a plus, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to start over if you are considering switching to logistics. Universities across the nation offer supply chain courses in several capacities. An MBA in Supply Chain Management might be time-consuming, but there are plenty of shorter yet comprehensive certification programs that can be very useful and informative.

The beauty of logistics is that there are very few barriers to entry. Product will always need to be shipped, so there will always be a need for new talent. It’s a field where hands-on experience ends up being just as valuable as education, and there are hundreds of directions one can go once they start working in logistics.

At Zip Xpress, we understand how great the logistics sector can be. We’re honored to assist companies in shipping their freight and ensuring it will be delivered on time every time. We’re always looking for dedicated people to join our team, so if you’re interested in learning more about making the switch to logistics, visit our career page. And shippers, to see how we put this dedicated service to work for you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Reducing Waste in Manufacturing

These days, it isn’t just fringe, forward-thinking manufacturers that are concerned about reducing their carbon footprint. Going green and focusing on eco-friendly initiatives is now virtually a requirement to keep your business running smoothly. It isn’t just about being concerned about the environment – many manufacturers have realized that they can save money and bolster their bottom line by reducing the amount of waste they produce and minimizing the amount of energy used to create their products. There’s no doubt that this has a positive impact on the environment and on international business, and there are several things that forward-looking manufacturers can do to continue to reduce their waste.

One of the biggest culprits in the world of waste is packaging. Plastic packaging is especially difficult to recycle and often gets thrown into landfills where it accumulates at high rates. Manufacturers should focus on limiting the amount of packaging they use – especially plastic packaging – with the goal of eliminating packaging altogether if their product lines allow it. In fact, Zip Xpress encourages all their customers to set a goal of shipping without any packaging whatsoever. This contributes not only by reducing the amount of waste they are putting into the environment, but also by maximizing their truck space resulting in fewer total miles driven for delivery. If packaging can’t be eliminated entirely, companies should focus on using sustainable, recyclable, and reusable packaging.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that packaging may be the major factor right now, but there are other processes that can be improved throughout the manufacturing and supply chain process. Adopting lean logistics systems with high turnover and low inventory levels can also help prevent spoilage or obsolescence, which both contribute to more waste as plants throw out product that can’t be used. By focusing on improving inefficient processes, warehouses can lower both tangible waste and reduce the amount of energy required to make their product. To see how we can help make your processes more sustainable, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing for the Holiday Season

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and while they can be a joyful, relaxing time in our personal lives, they can be a cause for added stress professionally. This is especially true for those who are involved in supply chains, as time-critical shipments increase and capacity can become scarce. Add in last minute requests, and you have a lot of things that can potentially go wrong. This is why it’s so important for businesses to place a priority on proactive communication, and to set realistic expectations ahead of time.

Anybody in logistics knows that it is better to ask permission than to seek forgiveness. This means that you should account for anything that could happen, and communicate it with your customer, developing a backup plan just in case it does. When you have an agreed upon plan in place, you’ll have a much easier time correcting an error than if you have to shuffle to fix it at the last minute. Everybody involved in any shipment – manufacturers, wholesalers, carriers, and end receivers – needs to be aware of the additional workload that the holiday season can bring. When people are empathetic to the burdens of others, they will take necessary actions such as placing orders early to allow extra time, clearing up warehouse space when possible, or expediting shipments with team drivers.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that nobody wants to get a call about a delayed shipment as they are heading to a holiday party, and the best way to avoid this is to look at other businesses in your supply chain as part of your team. Taking the first steps in planning for adversity can go a long way in easing the transition into the holidays, and your customers and vendors will be thankful for it. After all, they likely have plans for relaxation and family fun as well! To see how we can help ease the holiday rush, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing Trucks for Winter

It may only be October, but several parts of the US are already experiencing early snowfall and preparing for potential blizzards. For truck drivers, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared, lest they caught in unexpected weather and need to shut down. From mechanical precautions to personal safety measures, there are a variety of steps that should be taken for the winter before a truck is sent on the road. Some of these simply make driving more comfortable, but others can save lives.

Test Batteries

Batteries take a lot of abuse over the summer, but can be drained quickly in extreme weather, so fall is the perfect time to test them to ensure that they are in good shape.

Check Starting Systems

The mechanisms that help a truck start are sensitive to weather changes and general wear-and-tear, so these should be checked thoroughly. Many drivers understand how they work and are able to perform a quality assessment, but it doesn’t hurt to have a mechanic check them out for some added assurance.

Ensure Proper Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Tires are a key component of safe driving at any time of year, but they become even more important in the winter. It is vital to make sure that they are inflated to the proper level and that the tread is not worn down. While new tires can be expensive, it is worth it to prevent slipping and sliding on ice, as well as to improve fuel mileage.

Add Fuel Additives to Prevent Gelling in the Fuel Line

Diesel fuel is known to gel in colder temperatures. At 32 degrees fahrenheit, the wax in liquid form will crystallize and leave the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees, it will finally start to gel and clog the tank and fuel filters. Fuel additives will also boost fuel economy, make trucks run smoother and longer. It’s a small investment that prevents many timely delays.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Every driver should have an emergency kit inside the cabin. At the very least, this should contain a first aid kit, extra clothes, non-perishable food items, flares, batteries, a radio, and water. These can be of utmost importance if the truck breaks down miles away from the next exit.

At Zip Xpress we understand the importance of reliability. This possibly more crucial during the winter months that at any time of the year due to the potential for weather delays, sudden snowstorms and other hazards that can occur. However, you’ll see that we take the time to optimize our trucks and ensure we’re checking them and preparing for the winter months ahead. Our aim is to keep our drivers safe and comfortable so they have the extra time they need to ensure reliable delivery. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How Important is the Supply Chain?

When you place a large order for your company, you may not think about what’s going on behind the scenes. You finalize the order details with your vendor and walk away, happy that you’ll be able to receive your freight within a few days. However, once you place that order, hundreds of gears start moving across the supply chain. Whether it involves robots designed specifically to locate a single item or dock workers loading up multiple pallets of goods, there is a complex system firing on all cylinders that is essential in fulfilling your order. This is true for something as small as a single box of sensitive product to an entire truckload of raw materials.

While they may not always be conscious of it, customers are drawn to manufacturers who have well-oiled supply chains that keep product moving along quickly and safely. In fact, if someone isn’t talking about their supply chain, that’s probably a good thing, signaling that they aren’t experiencing constant headaches regarding production, storage, or transit times. The best supply chain is one that works quietly in the background, churning out shipment after shipment as satisfied customers receive their product. If it is running as smoothly as possible, the end consumer shouldn’t even have to think about what’s happening throughout the life of a shipment.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that it’s essential to create a reliable, efficient and trustworthy partnership with all of our stakeholders. We understand that building a customer-centric supply chain helps grow your business and build trust with your customers. When a shipment arrives when you say it will, that’s great customer service. We believe in helping our customers ensure that every shipment arrives undamaged and on time. Our focus on optimization will help you understand just how important the supply chain is. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Product Moving

Whether your company owns your warehouse or you rent space from a third party, it is expensive and wasteful to have product sitting on the shelves for any excessive period of time. Inventory planning is an essential role in every organization’s supply chain, and should be taken seriously and evaluated regularly. The key to maximizing efficiency and maintaining a lean supply chain is to have just enough inventory ready to be shipped without running into shortages. This, of course, is easier said than done, but there are several ways manufacturers can make it happen.

Keeping track of previous trends and future projections is one of the biggest factors in planning your inventory. If you’ve maintained a steady level of growth over the past year, you’ll likely need to plan for higher stock levels in order to meet demand. With this comes your minimum inventory calculation. You want to be sure that you have enough stock to meet a customer’s demands in case of a spike in orders, but you don’t want to go overboard and have inventory sitting in a warehouse and costing money. So, this requires a safety stock level that will allow you to fulfill orders if you encounter an unexpected increase. Unfortunately, that will cost money in storage, but the key is to calculate how much money you would lose if you couldn’t fulfill customer orders and hedge against that. Even with storage fees, you’ll be more profitable if you are able to meet expectations.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of being able to move inventory consistently. Our dedicated and experienced team can help you manage your inventory and adapt with your shipping timelines. We’ll create a customized carrier solution that suits the needs of your business, so you don’t have to rely on the ad hoc market. To see how we can keep your product moving, start today with Zip Xpress!

What to Expect in Quarter 4

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

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

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

Cultivating a Cohesive Culture in Logistics

It’s rare for a day to go by in logistics where employees don’t have to overcome some sort of challenge, whether it involves a late delivery, damaged freight, or pressure from new competition. The constant barrage of problems to solve and subsequent interactions in which to participate can make for some highly stressful days for everybody. This is why organizations in the logistics field must make it a priority to create a positive, people-centric work culture that motivates employees and reinforces their strengths. Many companies focus only on profits, but without happy, productive employees, they are doomed to fail.

Company culture starts at the top, so executives and management types need to be heavily involved with their teams to ensure that employees are satisfied with their jobs. They should make it a point to recognize individual accomplishments regularly. This could be drawing attention to a time when a night operations rep went above and beyond to solve an after-hours issue, or it could be congratulating a sales rep for bringing on a new account. The possibilities are endless, and so are the benefits for the company. It is also important to encourage teamwork and create an atmosphere that discourages employees from trying to place blame when something goes wrong. Finally, it’s important that the customer knows you’ll take care of them – everyone answers the phones at Zip with offers to help and is trained fill out a basic quote for the customer so they can start shipping their product.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that high service doesn’t stop at the customer. We aspire to recognize all of the great members of our team. It’s why we have a long history with all of our great employees and aspire to treat them fairly. Our goal is a cohesive culture where employees can collaborate and solve problems on behalf of our customers. As long as our people feel recognized, they’ll treat our customers the same way. At Zip Xpress, we prioritize maintaining an uplifting, exciting atmosphere not only because we believe in our people, but also because we believe in offering the best logistics solutions possible. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

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!