Training New Truck Drivers

Driving a truck may be one of the most humble careers as well as a highly lucrative one that offers many advantages over more traditional jobs. It requires certain personality traits, as there are long stretches of time where one will be away from home, navigating the expansive highway system and visiting multiple cities in a matter of days. While some people have no desire to take on such a job, there are many others who enjoy the freedom this career offers them. In order for new drivers to enjoy the fruits of this career, each one will need to be properly trained to face the challenges of this new career.

Driving trainers must be patient with their new recruits, as they require a lot of seat time and driving hours before they can tackle the job on their own. This means spending a lot of time together on long-haul jobs and staying attentive even during the most mundane stretches. For new drivers, an unpleasant trainer can turn them off to the job for life, so it is important to employ personable, knowledgeable drivers who are willing to take others under their wing. New drivers will need to also understand that they’re representing both the shipper as well as the carrier and that the final delivery is vital to a customer’s overall experience. As with every job, attitude is everything.

Training isn’t just about learning the technical skills involved with driving. New drivers need to become conditioned for life on the road. Most people can’t just be thrown into a cab and expected to tough it out on their first run with no experience. Taking a gradual approach and allowing the new driver to slowly adjust to long hours can go a long way in preparing them for life on the road. It is important for them to see the challenges that they will face and to understand how to address them. They need to see the importance of representing multiple shippers and carriers. As such, there’s a need to recognize that this job is of crucial importance from a customer service standpoint. They also need to see the benefits of life on the road, of the adventure and freedom they’ll experience as they see the beauty of our nation.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that only the toughest can become drivers. We know that we need to focus on the human aspect of recruiting new drivers. There is a learning curve so mistakes will be made, but it’s important to maintain a tolerant and respectful work environment for new drivers. Driver retention is only becoming more important so helping new drivers establish confidence in the beginning of their careers will ensure that they’ll log more miles for everyone in the future. To see how our team of dedicated professionals can help your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Recycling the Supply Chain

Manufacturing and commerce are vital parts of worldwide progress, but now companies are paying more attention to the environments they do business in. Excessive waste and pollution which caused many environmental catastrophes forced companies to reevaluate how they were treating the environment. Now people are holding companies to higher standards and manufacturers led the way in many sustainability efforts, from reducing energy usage to recycling and reusing material during production. While this wasn’t necessarily convenient at first, it has become extremely important and has led to an entirely new approach in the supply chain.

Any company that makes products uses energy in a variety of forms. These companies also create waste. Today, there is a much larger focus on recycling and renewing materials rather than simply disposing of the excess. Manufacturers need to perform sound analysis to ensure that they are maximizing their output and reusing materials that aren’t part of their final products. They are also taking further steps to use sustainable packaging or – in some cases – eliminate packaging altogether. Going green has become a philosophy that affects the supply chain from the time a new product is mentioned to the time it ends up in the end consumer’s hands.

There is no “right way” to become sustainable, as new technologies and ideas are constantly being floated throughout a wide range of industries. But emphasizing clean, efficient energy usage and committing to recycling are two major steps for manufacturers when it comes to being environmentally friendly. These types of initiatives affect the entire supply chain, and it is encouraging that so many companies – both large and small – are dedicated to reducing their waste and altering their processes in such drastic ways. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, we are seeing corporations become more responsible and aware of their effects not only on the economy, but on the natural world in which they operate.

At Zip Xpress, we recognize the great contributions manufacturers are making towards sustainability. In fact, manufacturers are quite possibly the most sustainable sector in the American economy, and this will only improve as time goes forward. Yet at the same time we have a long ways to go. We start by helping companies with our Carbon Footprint Report and then devise a custom carrier solution that works for their business. To see how we can help you build a more sustainable (and profitable) supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Are Electric Trucks the Future?

There is much speculation about autonomous trucks and their role in the future of supply chains, but perhaps those conversations are skipping ahead a bit too far. There is likely a long way to go before self-driving trucks become a widespread reality. However, there is a technological advance that may be just a few years away: rechargeable electric trucks. Electric vehicles seem to make perfect sense not only from an environmental standpoint but also from an economic view. But are they the future of the trucking industry?

Since sustainability continues to be a priority for many logistics companies, electric trucks could provide great value. By eliminating the need for diesel fuel and switching to battery electric, emissions would be reduced, if not eliminated, providing a great service to the environment. They also wouldn’t have to deal with the volatility of oil prices or the wear-and-tear that diesel combustion engines must endure. The main drawback right now is whether or not innovators will be able to expand the range of the current electric truck models. As it stands, most models can only get about 200-300 miles out of a single charge. Even with the low fuel economy of a diesel truck, electric trucks have a ways to go before they can match the range of a diesel engine.

While we are still waiting for advances to be made, it seems reasonable that trucking companies might slowly switch their fleets over to electric trucks as they expand their ranges. They may begin with local and regional trucks that won’t need to travel as far to make their deliveries and hold out on the rest until the technology works in their favor. There is no definitive timeline to expecting a purely electric fleet, but it is encouraging that there is a real possibility of a cleaner, more efficient option that could provide years of benefits for logistics companies.

At Zip Xpress, it’s no secret we believe in creating a more sustainable supply chain. We can show you your impact with a Carbon Footprint Report and help you find more sustainable solutions for your supply chain. To see how, start today with Zip Xpress!

Supply Chain Collaboration

In an age where virtually any information can be accessed with the click of a button, it’s no surprise that business is becoming more transparent and more competitive. While technological advances have affected all aspects of business, there is no replacement for a human being coordinating and working on ensuring your freight will arrive on time and undamaged. Technologies such as real-time tracking, customer-accessible TMS systems, and automated inventory tracking, are wonderful, but what are you to do if such a system goes down when you’re checking the status of your order. Will you be forced to wait until it’s back online? Collaborating with all the parties of your supply chain and keeping communication channels open will ensure you know where your freight is at all times.

It used to be common for an end user to have no idea where a product was until it arrived at their doorstep. Today, this disconnect shouldn’t exist. Ideally you’re working with a carrier that will plan your shipment alongside you and keep you posted every step of the way. Some of these tools are handy, but technology will never provide your business with the custom carrier solution the way an involved human being can. The interlinking of companies across the supply chain is beneficial, since the constant communication can help ensure that small mistakes will be caught before they turn into catastrophes. No tool can help plan for success like that.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that while these tools can be helpful, nothing replaces personal collaboration with your logistics provider. We help our customers discover the right “mix” when it comes to collaborating through their supply chains. Planning alongside and anticipating the customer’s needs yields its own benefits in ways that technology can’t provide. We want to ensure you have the right collaboration for your supply chain and to discover that for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How Processes Can Create an Optimized Supply Chain

A company’s supply chain is an integral part of its overall success. Supply chains, however, are far more complex than they used to be, and it is important to have failsafe systems and processes in order to optimize the efficiency of the supply chain. A well-managed supply chain should focus on strategic supply and demand planning, procurement, and logistics in order to create a strong and effective infrastructure within the company.

There are many systems and processes that can be enacted within a supply chain, and which ones are used will depend on the size, sector, and goals of the company. Smaller companies may opt for less complex systems, but they still need to have something in place. By focusing on strategic planning, manufacturers can help alleviate the demands of just-in-time deliveries and reduce the stress caused by excess or depleted inventory.

Planning isn’t the only process that makes for a successful supply chain. It is just a piece of the puzzle. Organizations need to also focus on internal and external logistics and network optimization. By partnering with a trusted carrier that deeply understands how your supply chain can be optimized, your production and transportation worries will become a thing of the past. Your customers will be more satisfied because of the reliable delivery schedules as well as receiving undamaged product.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of systems and processes and their role in developing an optimized supply chain. All of these different systems (logistics, procurement, fulfillment, etc) require processes that lead towards optimization. Systems and processes help reduce errors and allow a company to double-check themselves every step of the way. Whether your facility has multi-tiered systems, or you’re a regional facility in need of a more straightforward plan, we can help devise a custom carrier solution that works for your business. To see how we can devise your own custom carrier solutions, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Absent-Packaging Revolution

Going green may just seem like a new trend that companies are embracing to appear hip and in-touch with younger potential employees and customers, but there’s far more to it than that. There are real environmental concerns all around the world, and sustainable practices are required to ensure the health of our surroundings. Yet even for the executives who are more concerned with profit over sustainability, going green can provide a myriad of benefits. This is especially true in logistics, where reusable packaging has been making waves for several years thanks to its ingenuity, utility, and cost-efficiency.

Yet for all of these wondrous innovations being made in packaging, we don’t believe they go far enough. We on the other hand actively discourage our customers from packing their product(s) beyond the bare necessities. Customers have at times taken it upon themselves to do so, but we’ll happily work with and advise our customers on what those bare necessities would be for their packaging. This saves companies the cost of purchasing the packaging as well as disposal and it allows our freight handlers to optimize every shipment appropriately.

At Zip Xpress, we encourage all of our customers to commit to sustainability by foregoing packaging altogether whenever possible. We’ve developed refined processes and can advise all of our customers on the best approach for their shipping needs. Our approach is to take the long view – to the environment, to our nation’s highways and to your bottom line in an effort to create the most sustainable outcome for all of our stakeholders. To see how we can devise your custom carrier solution, start today with Zip Xpress!

Finding Great Talent in Logistics

The logistics sector is an attractive one for many reasons – it’s big, it’s profitable, it’s nearly recession-proof, and the skills learned within it translate to almost every facet of business. There are a large number of people in the workforce – both young and old – that are interested in finding a job in logistics. With so many applicants, recruiters can find it difficult to find the ones that will best live up to expectations. But there are certain practices that will help your company excel in the search for logistics talent.

Respect Experience, but Don’t Necessitate It

There is a large group of fresh new faces entering the workforce. Discounting them because of their lack of experience would be a grave mistake. Logistics requires the ability to learn on the job, and many of these new recruits are eager to get their hands dirty. There are plenty of reasons to hire industry vets – they are needed for their skills and expertise – but don’t make it a requirement for every position.

Stay Active on Social Media

Social media has become one of the most powerful tools for recruiting, and if your company isn’t utilizing it, you are missing out on millions of potential candidates. The more visible you are, the more likely people will be interested in your positions.

Make Company Culture a Priority

The logistics world can be a grind, with many candidates burning out because their organizations never truly appreciated them or gave them the flexibility to have a fulfilling career. Prospects know that they have plenty of options. If the culture of a potential employee leaves a lot to be desired, they may opt to go somewhere else, even for less pay. Show that hard work will be rewarded – not just monetarily – and you’ll pique the interest of many potential employees.

At Zip Xpress, we understand what a great industry logistics is. We strive to build a great company culture for our employees and it shows. Many members of our team have stayed with us for years, and we deeply appreciate the dedication the team shows to our customers. To see this dedication for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Give That Truck Some Space!

Driving in traffic can be stressful, but consider the pressure put on truck drivers! These licensed professionals drive all day, often spending weeks on the road and dealing with traffic jams on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many drivers aren’t very respectful of the trucks on the road, and we believe it boils down to a simple lack of awareness. Not everyone realizes how much work goes into driving a truck, nor do they realize that we cannot treat trucks like other cars. There are some rules that one must follow in the event you find yourself next to a large tractor-trailer.

The most important tip to remember is to give the truck plenty of space, no matter how much traffic you are in. Trucks have enormous blind spots. Even though drivers are trained at using mirrors to check their surroundings, it is still always better to play it safe. Don’t follow a truck too closely, and try to avoid being in a position to the side of a truck for too long. Most importantly, never cut in front of a truck without leaving at least 3 car lengths between you and the truck. Wait until you see both headlights in your rearview mirror when merging back onto the right hand lane. These large machines need a lot more time to brake safely, and cutting too close in front of them could spell disaster for you, especially if you are in a position to have to slam on your brakes.

In addition to driving safely, you should always drive respectfully. You may be slightly inconvenienced by sitting behind a truck in traffic, but remember that there is a real person driving that truck and that these drivers help to keep our economy moving along. When you realize that you are sharing the road with a hard worker who is trying to do a job, you will be more inclined to drive smarter and safer.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the hard work these dedicated professionals put in in order to ensure freight gets delivered undamaged and on time. Our goal is to raise awareness for the hard work drivers put in and to encourage readers to share this awareness with others so that together we can help keep everyone on the road safe. To see how we can put such dedication behind your projects, start today with Zip Xpress!

Maintaining Visibility in the Supply Chain

If you’ve ever dealt with late or missing shipments, you probably have plenty of horror stories to tell. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting on a load to deliver only to have no idea where it is or when it’s going to show up. To make matters worse, some providers simply refuse to answer your calls or won’t provide real-time tracking. These are issues that can lead to strained relationships and major failures in the supply chain, but they can be easily fixed by committing to transparency and visibility.

Every shipper needs to vet their transportation providers, and they should make it a priority to form strong partnerships with trustworthy carriers who promise visibility. Whether that means 24 hour dispatch, active communication or access to live GPS tracking, there are many ways that shippers and carriers can work together to maintain a grasp on day-to-day operations. Shippers can also offer inventory tracking so that partner carriers can see when loads are ready for pickup and when there are delays – all without even picking up the phone. The key to transparency is a combination of technology and human interaction. Companies on all ends of the supply chain need to have people that are ready and willing to track down freight, get updates on claims, and provide accurate, reliable information as quickly as possible.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for continuous communication with our partners on all shipping matters. We always call ahead of time and work both our customers and your customers to schedule shipping arrangements and accommodate your specific needs. Whenever you call our office, a person will answer the phone, never a machine. We will answer any questions you may have about your delivery schedule in real time and stay committed to our dedicated service schedule. To see how we can bring more transparency to your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress

Staying Green in Winter

The winter months can be brutal not only on our bodies but also on our energy bills. When the frigid cold starts to hit, we pretty much need to use electricity to survive. Unfortunately, that means consuming energy and sometimes not being as environmentally friendly as we would like. In the world of logistics, this can be even more of an issue, as factories, warehouses, and trucks already have an uphill battle when it comes to sustainability. Still, there are some actions that those in transportation can take to stay green while staying warm.

On an individual level, layering up is one of the simplest things we can do. Truck drivers and freight handlers should be sure to have some heavy duty outer layers as well as snug inner layers to stay warm in tough conditions. This will prevent them from needing to blast the heat in their respective workspaces. Wool socks and heavy duty boots can go a long way in keeping body temperature up.

Planning is also very important during the winter. Shippers should allot for longer delivery times and communicate this with their vendors, customers, and carriers. A supply chain can recover from a delay if all parties are prepared from the beginning. This will eliminate the need to make more product, ship another batch, or put additional miles on the truck, all of which will help cut emissions.

At Zip Xpress, we provide another solution that will help during the long winter months. Consolidating freight to be moved on an optimized schedule and crafting the most efficient route can ensure that fewer trucks will need to be on the road. By utilizing our Headload Solution, we can help your business optimize the space you use when shipping your freight. Staying green during the winter months is a challenge, but it is doable as long as we’re looking for solutions when it comes to escaping the cold. To see how we can help with your sustainability efforts, start today with Zip Xpress!