Grateful for it All

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. Yet in these challenging times we have much to be grateful for. Our employees rose to the challenge of finding innovative methods to creating custom carrier solutions for customers and providing greater service than ever before. Our customers collaborated with us and we were able to find solutions that worked for everyone. We saw companies come together and work side by side to solve the problems in front of them. We believe that we can handle the challenges ahead of us, and we’re grateful for the opportunity. Most of all, we’re grateful for all of the people who saw it through and helped make 2020 another great year. Happy Thanksgiving from Zip Xpress – we hope you have a safe & wonderful holiday with your loved ones!

Optimism for 2021

2020 has been a difficult year, and there is still much uncertainty ahead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be optimistic, especially in the logistics business. While we can’t predict exactly what will happen to trucking and supply chain in 2021, we’re seeing trends heading in the right direction.

In September of 2020, new trailer orders exceeded 50,000 total units – the third highest monthly number on record. This suggests that many carriers are anticipating an increase in shipments, that is, if they haven’t already experienced it. The orders might be happening because carriers are struggling to keep up with demand, which is a good problem to have. It takes some effort to get things running smoothly, but the effort is worth it in the long run.

Although we seem to be in the midst of another COVID-19 surge, the marketplace has been adjusting to the “new norm,” and we shouldn’t run into as many bullwhip scenarios as we saw in the spring. This means that logistics firms can hope for more stability and reliability as they draw out forecasts for 2021. There will still be volatility, but the industry is better equipped to handle it.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for stability, especially for manufacturers. Companies are focused on what they can do to keep making deliveries on time and undamaged. The companies that are making it through this year have collaborated with their suppliers and supply chain providers. We’re very fortunate to have a solid base of stakeholders we can collaborate and communicate with, which gives us every reason to be optimistic about the future. If you want to see reliable shipments that arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping the Warehouse Clean

Last week we focused on the benefits of keeping a clean truck. This week we turn our attention to the warehouse space, how we keep ours clean and most importantly why it needs to be kept clean. Maintaining a clean warehouse speaks to the attention given to a customer’s shipment, reduces the chances of damaging that shipment and most importantly, prevents accidents from happening to freight handlers.

End of Shift Refuse Pickup

At the end of every shift, our staff performs a routine cleanup. We empty all of the trash cans, pick up refuse and run a dust mop across the floor at the end of every shift. We clean off the podiums and ensure there’s no outstanding clutter near any of the shipments. We also check the facilities for any poor lighting and create a list of maintenance issues which will be addressed.

End of Shift Warehouse Floor Scrubbing

Once our warehouse floor has been dry mopped we run our floor scrubber daily, to protect against dust and dirt. Once a quarter we perform a deep clean of the warehouse to ensure all contaminants are removed. Our staff also gives a touch up of paint everywhere it’s needed once a quarter, which keeps the warehouse looking fresh and up to date. We prefer to use white paint to create better visibility for our staff and prevent eye strain when reading documents.

Detailed Organization System

We believe in the phrase: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Our warehouse is arranged by the outgoing state to prevent confusion or the possibility of mix-ups. We also have an internal phrase called “Being Current” which means that the most current, up to date documents are stacked, ready and available for the next shift. We also tag every shipment with the correct destination as well as run through a list of our current shipments to ensure that every shipment that’s supposed to be there still is and that every shipment that was supposed to leave has done so.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that a clean warehouse is an efficient and safe warehouse. Our process was designed to keep our office neat and tidy to prevent lost paperwork and mixed up shipments. Taking a little bit of time every day to tidy up ensures we have more than enough time to focus on what matters most: providing custom carrier solutions for our customers. Any customer that sees their shipments in our warehouse knows it won’t be covered in dirt or grime and they see the pride we take in ensuring great service. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping the Trucks Clean

A truck is a proud display of a logistics company’s brand. Taking regular steps in keeping the trucks clean shows a deep respect to customers and a commitment to quality. This also allows regular maintenance schedules to catch small repairs before they become large ones. Here we outline some of these processes we use to ensure our trucks are always clean and maintained.

Routine Cab Cleanout

Our drivers perform a routine cleanout of the cab to prevent any type of refuse buildup. Drivers are keen to respect their vehicles because they understand that a clean truck is a maintained truck. Keeping the trucks clean also incentivizes our drivers since none of them want to be the one to leave behind refuse for the next driver. We also encourage drivers to wipe down the dashboard and console on a regular basis since they can be breeding grounds for germs. This helps keep drivers healthy, which is especially important now.

Routine Wash/Maintenance

We have professionals who comes on a regular basis to wash the trucks and trailers to prevent any buildup of dirt, grime and dust. They also go through a list of inspections to ensure everything is in working order. This allows us to replace air filters, change the oil, repair surface damage and any other minor maintenance issues to ensure they never become major ones. We pride ourselves on keeping a well maintained fleet, which keeps our staff satisfied because they’re able to focus on keeping our customers happy.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that cleanliness is a key component to great service. By staying true to our rigorous standards of cleanliness we’re able to keep problems small before they become big ones. This attention to detail goes into everything we do, especially in the service we provide all of our customers in ensuring every shipment arrives on time and undamaged in equipment that represents your business well. To see how your business can benefit from this level of service, start today with Zip Xpress!

Expanding Your Supply Chain

Supply chains are complex and often fickle parts of doing business, but they are integral to the success of any manufacturer. The quality and efficiency of an internal supply chain can make or break a company, so it is important to run a well-oiled machine. However, there are many challenges when it comes to expanding your supply chain. Moving too quickly could lead to unnecessary costs, but waiting too long could put a lot of stress on your operations.

Expanding your supply chain could come with a variety of actions. Perhaps you need to build new warehouses to accommodate increased inventories or new product lines. It could also mean adding more back office workers to set up and operate newer, sophisticated IT systems. In any case, you want to do so only when the time is right. Inventory forecasting and analytics can help you determine whether or not you need to expand well ahead of time. And while you can’t expect 100% accuracy, you can get a good idea of where your company is headed by taking a proactive approach.

In addition to knowing when to expand your supply chain, you also need to know how to expand it. A trusted carrier can assist with this since they can help you expand into markets you wouldn’t normally have access to. Expanding your supply chain may focus more on an improved internal and external trucking network as well as extended hours to accommodate more dock shifts. You may even have a need for additional warehouse space if you’re increasing production, but as you can see many of these circumstances are a case by case basis.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that great service is the key to expanding a supply chain. A trusted carrier can help you expand and compete in distant markets as well as provide for you the options that will work with your business in expanding your supply chain. At Zip Xpress, we refer to these options as custom carrier solutions and we’ve helped many companies go from regional to national supply chains, providing access to the West Coast and beyond. To see what custom carrier solutions we can create for your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

A World Without Truck Drivers

Truck drivers affect our everyday lives, whether or not we are consciously aware of it. From our food to online retail orders to industrial machines that manufacture the world around us, the vast majority of American products are delivered by truck. Even though some material may have come by boat or plane, there’s a good chance that a truck driver provided the final route for delivery. A world without truck drivers would indeed look very different – and probably not in a good way.

If drivers were to disappear, the first consequence would be a major decrease in available medical supplies. Since medical facilities receive multiple deliveries on a daily basis without this consistent schedule of replenishment, hospitals and trauma centers would run out of necessary goods to assist patients. Anyone receiving medical attention wouldn’t be able to get the care they’d desperately need.

Shortly after this, food supplies in almost every area would run low. Grocery distribution centers receive large deliveries every day, and they allocate these to local stores based on demand. But without truck drivers, these deliveries would not be fulfilled. You might look at a large grocery retailer and think there’s no way it could be picked over within 2 or 3 days, but a lot of people work behind the scenes to keep those shelves fully stocked – and truck drivers are an essential part of that.

Third we would start to see manufacturers begin shutting down because they can’t source the materials and machinery needed to make their products. Jobs would be lost because these companies have to shut down and countless other products would become unavailable to consumers and other businesses. As you can see, the American supply chain is a tight-knit, interconnected network and it is all built upon drivers ensuring those goods get delivered. It is important to remember the hard work and dedication these drivers have in getting their deliveries in on time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the dedication drivers have in ensuring every delivery is made on time and undamaged. They are the face of every carrier and we pride our drivers on their friendliness and professionalism. We like to believe that every company who works with our drivers understands the peril we’d all be in if we didn’t have such dedicated individuals making these deliveries. If you’d like to experience working with us and our professional drivers for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

2020’s Impact on Manufacturing

2020 has changed how a lot of companies do business for the foreseeable future. One of the sectors that has been the most impacted is manufacturing, a sector that is having to reevaluate their supply chains to navigate a new set of challenges. Here are some of the key areas manufacturers are working on when it comes to redeveloping their supply chains.

Investment in Automation

Manufacturers are becoming increasingly interested in automation technologies. Due to labor shortages and enforced shutdowns companies are taking a second look into conveyors, robotics and other technologies that will begin a transition to automation. This trend will likely continue since manufacturers are looking into reshoring initiatives. In tandem with this is renewed interest in apprenticeships, which will provide young talent with the skills to manage and diagnose these machines.

Localized Sourcing

Manufacturers have been forced to refocus on where they source raw materials, products and services. Many companies are taking into consideration not only sourcing them within North America but they’re choosing to look locally as well. As a result, manufacturers will be apt to source local supply chain expertise as well, since those companies will understand those routes the best. With new supply chain partners, manufacturers will need to work closer than ever to ensure

Increased Learning and Support through Collaboration

The influx of changes have caused many manufacturers to turn to their supply chain partners during this time. The increase in communication and collaboration across industries has caused an increase in learning and support for companies across the entire supply chain. While transitions of this magnitude are not quick, many companies see them as necessary and are adapting faster than ever before. They’re also turning to outside the box solutions, which can only be found when they collaborate with their supply chain partners.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the dynamic changes manufacturers are going through. Re-evaluating supply chains is a large endeavor, but it’s a process that will create stronger companies in the years to come. We’ve helped many companies develop custom carrier solutions that have revitalized their supply chains as well as provided unique solutions to all of our partners. To see how we can develop a custom carrier solution for your organization, start today with Zip Xpress!

How 2020 Has Changed Logistics

2020 has been a strange year for the entire world. Individuals, economies, and entire industries have had to adapt to a world full of uncertainty and constant changes. Logistics is no exception, and we have already begun to see major changes to the industry in response to a virus that will change the way we do business for years to come. Let’s look at some of the ways that logistics and supply chains have been affected in the last nine months, and how they will continue to adapt.

Increased Volatility

Volatility has been a major factor during the pandemic, as demand for certain products (such as essential items) spiked initially but eventually fell sharply. Some industries slowed down drastically in the wake of the virus, but spiked in the middle of the summer, only to fall back to normal levels in more recent months. This means that supply chain partners can’t rely on predictability as much as they may have in the past. Manufacturers and carriers have had to allow for more flexibility in their supply planning. On top of this, there has been a large reduction in drivers, which has caused capacity to become very tight and inflated truckload rates.

Heightened Sensitivity

Time-sensitive shipments have become even more so, especially if we look back to the beginning of the pandemic. The need for everything from food to medical supplies became increasingly urgent, and supply chain partners needed to work together to ensure that deadlines could be met. Shipments that may have had more leeway in the past now needed to be ensured to deliver on time.

More Collaboration

As a result of increased volatility and sensitivity, collaboration has become key among supply partners. While the most effective organizations already prioritized such collaboration, it has become evident that the entire industry needs to focus on these efforts. There is a need for transparency, communication, and cooperation at every level of the supply chain – sometimes even among competitors. While the current situation may be keeping us physically apart, we are learning how essential it is to work together to remain successful.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for stability. That’s why we communicate with our supply chain partners every step of the way. We collaborate internally and externally to ensure that every shipment will be delivered undamaged and on time, every time. 2020 has proven that our way of doing business is the right way and we’re ready to help our customers however we can. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Metrics that Matter in Logistics

When it comes to selecting a supply chain partner, you want a company that will develop an innate understanding of your business. Every manufacturer is different, however there are a few universal metrics companies can use to evaluate a supply chain partner. We’ve outlined what we believe are the most important metrics when selecting a carrier for your business.

On-Time Delivery

You want to ensure that every delivery is made when it’s said it would be. If delays occur, are they communicated with your customer? Or is your customer left in the dark? While delays can occur for any reason, there needs to be communication with the entire supply chain so adjustments can be made and that no one is left in the dark.

Carbon Footprint

Manufacturers have proven to be one of the most sustainable industries in the American Economy. They’re reducing material usage and waste, along with electricity usage, so it makes sense that manufacturers would seek out supply chain partners who are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint as well. Providing information regarding fuel efficiency, as well as equipment age and maintenance schedules can go a long way in showing a manufacturer that a carrier is focused on their carbon footprint and takes the matter seriously. Paying attention to route optimization is also crucial to ensure carriers aren’t driving empty miles, which reduces fuel consumption and wear and tear to infrastructure.

Trailer Utilization

Empty trailer space is wasted space. Trailers that are loaded to 100% capacity ensures shippers aren’t being charged extra and also contributes to sustainability efforts. Fully loaded trailers also ensure that carriers are not putting extra trucks on the road which are hauling empty space, which reduces fuel consumption and damage to infrastructure.

Claims

There are many considerations that need to be given for your unique freight. Ensuring a carrier is able to handle your products is crucial because the last thing any manufacturer wants is to file a claim due to cut rate service. There is a domino effect of costs associated with filing a claim, not to mention the loss of customer satisfaction in receiving a damaged product. Carriers can walk you through their claim process as well as tell you how many they process. You need to perform your due diligence, but the reduction in headaches will be well worth it.

Ease of Communication

You want to be able to get a hold of your supply chain partner when you need them. Do they use an answering machine or do they take your calls? Do they respond quickly or make you wait while you try to arrange your shipment? Keeping notice on how a company communicates with you is crucial because it’s hard to work with a company that doesn’t respond to you.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that you need your products to arrive undamaged and on time. Protecting yourself when selecting a supply chain partner is vital to your success. A great supply chain partner can help you grow your business by providing you with the logistics network to ensure you can handle all of the orders that come your way. You’re looking for a partner who can provide you with the guidance you need to become successful. If you’re looking for a quality carrier that can provide you with your own custom carrier solution, then start today with Zip Xpress!

Drivers – Making the Most of Your Break

Driving a truck is tough work – the hours are long, the routes can be treacherous, and you often have to spend weeks away from your friends and family. While some drivers don’t agree with the newer rules about breaks, there is no doubt that every driver needs to get off the road and take a break regularly. While much of the longer breaks are spent sleeping (a well-needed asset), there is a lot more that can be done during breaks that can help drivers remain healthy and happy.

With 30 minutes required for every 8 consecutive hours of driving, it is best not to take the break sitting in the truck. Driver’s should get up and, at the very least, walk around to get some exercise. If motivated enough, a half hour is plenty of time to get some intense cardio in or even lift weights. You don’t need to have an entire gym to get this done – a few pairs of dumbbells in the truck is enough to provide an effective workout.

Physical exercise is important, but mental exercise is just as vital. Drivers should bring plenty of reading material on the road – whether they prefer long novels, short stories, magazines, or nonfiction books. Keeping your mind sharp can go a long way in staying happy on the road and improving concentration. Even games such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and trivia can all be entertaining and beneficial.

Driver breaks are an essential part of the day, as they allow drivers to take some time away from the road and refocus. It is also important to socialize during these breaks so as to prevent too much isolation, which can really take its toll on mental health. Phone calls and Facetime are great socialization tools, and planning routes with other friends in the industry so that you can speak in person is also a great way to stay in touch.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of remaining happy and healthy, especially with our drivers. We do our part to ensure they get the rest they need because we understand the dedication and determination they make to ensure every shipment arrives on time and undamaged. Our drivers are the key to customer satisfaction since they’re the face of the company. As a result we believe it’s important to show them the respect they deserve and help however we can. To see how one of our drivers can help with your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!