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!

Trucking and Disaster Relief

Although Hurricane Laura did not reach the catastrophic levels that were predicted, it still devastated areas of Louisiana and is considered the strongest to have ever hit the state. 2,000 miles west, California is fighting their own natural disasters with wildfires and extreme heat ravaging the state. The US is a highly diverse geographic region, making it susceptible to multiple types of disasters at any given time of year. Fortunately, our interstate highway system and dedication to expedited logistics allows carriers to provide relief to those in need. At the center of many of these relief efforts lie some of the hardest workers in the country – truckers.

Although immediate catastrophe generally requires helicopter and water rescue, trucks are essential for bringing relief products to affected areas. FEMA shipments can be filled with food, medical supplies, and pop-up shelters for those who have lost their homes to disaster, and without the expansive trucking network in place in the USA, much of this would take longer to get where it needs to. It should be noted that drivers are often taking risks heading to these areas, so they can rightfully be seen as heroes in instances where they are willing to fight inclement weather in order to bring supplies to those in need.

Whether it’s a hurricane, wildfires, or a blizzard, the people of our nation are more than willing to help each other out, even those across the country. Truckers who move disaster relief materials are doing a major service to our nation and to our people, and it is important to recognize their efforts in aiding other disaster relief workers during difficult times. It isn’t easy to take on these jobs, both from a logistical and personal standpoint, but somebody somewhere is willing to do it.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the hard work drivers put in when reaching these disaster zones. Communication is key with the receivers in the affected areas. Circumstances can change very quickly and unexpectedly in a disaster zone so staying current as the situation develops is crucial. We honor and respect the arduous task before drivers as they ensure crucial items are delivered even in hazardous conditions and are willing to help whenever needed. To see this dedication to service for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Future of Trucking Technology

You may not look at trucking as an industry that breaks technological barriers or pushes the limits of innovation. After all, most trucks run by using the same core mechanisms and fuel types as they have for decades. However, the antiquated image of trucking is only surface deep, and there have been countless impressive ideas behind the scenes that have improved supply chain efficiencies and made it easier for all of us to receive food, clothing, and shelter.

You are probably aware of concepts such as electric and autonomous trucks – machinery that has already been put into action on a small scale. But these big-ticket items aren’t the only innovations that we have seen from the trucking world. There are some major improvements on the horizon, and they could change the future of logistics as we know it.

Software To Assist Drivers: New trucks are already equipped with all sorts of software to enhance driveability and improve safety, but there is much more to come. As road vehicles become more interconnected, we can expect to see new programs such as sign recognition software that will alert the driver of speed limits and changes in road conditions.

IoT Connectivity: The Internet of Things is the theory of interconnected automated processes and it has already infiltrated the trucking industry. Many trucks are currently connected and capable of receiving/transmitting data 24 hours a day. This will continue to increase, as it is predicted that 80 billion IoT devices will be connected by 2025, which will allow innovations with data and new understanding for logistics practices.

Increased Human Focus: While it seems like all of this technology will take the jobs out of the hands of people, humans are still the number one concern and the reason that they work. Technology will continue to be used to increase safety for both the drivers on the road and those around them, and more jobs will become available in the logistics industry as more people will be needed to harness and understand these technologies.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that optimization is a process. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, but it will never replace the need for great service. Many of the key problems that exist in logistics can’t be solved with a computer, and companies will always want special attention given to their shipment. It is important to remember this even with the groundbreaking innovations coming in the years ahead. When you need a customized carrier solution that works to ensure your shipment will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Finding Your Niche in Transportation

Transportation is a wide-ranging industry, with opportunities for all types of people. However, it can be a challenge to find the exact position that you’re looking for. The advantage of having such a diverse group of positions is that you can learn transferable skills which may help you find success even if you switch into a different role. As you gain more knowledge about logistics and transportation, there’s a good chance that something will open up for you, even if the fundamentals of the job are vastly different.

Some people may start with driving a truck but realize that life on the road isn’t right for them. Others may find that life in an office is tedious and want to see the open road. The good news is that the time spent in these positions allows them to learn many skills that could translate into becoming successful dispatchers, operations managers, mechanics, or even sales representatives. Every new set of skills provides an appreciation for the other jobs within the company and the acquired knowledge will prove incredibly valuable in the long run, making these individuals prime employees.

Another key for success is to keep an open mind and a willingness to communicate with others in the industry since they can help you find the resources to succeed, whether in your current position or if you seek to advance. Most companies allow some form of job shadowing so you can see for yourself if a role interests you. Others can recommend courses you can take. Whether this means shadowing a truck driver to start your new job on the road or taking some supply chain courses at a local university, there are a world of opportunities out there, and most of them are here to stay for the long run. Logistics offers an amazing opportunity with lots of potential for the long run.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of a highly trained staff. We pride ourselves on being able to provide you with a quote within minutes, since most members of our staff are trained on how to provide one. Every member of our staff provides input in solving the problems we encounter on a daily basis. As a result, we’re able to create the best custom carrier solutions for every business we work with. Want to find out for yourself? Start today with Zip Xpress!

The Latest Trend in Office Spaces

The past few months have certainly changed the world as we know it. Working schedules have shifted, new online tools are being utilized and the American economy continues to adapt to the changing circumstances. Logistics has proven its resilience, with trucks continuing on the road and freight handlers managing warehouses, but one lingering question remains: what about office staff?

With speculation rampant about the future of office work, what we’re seeing at Zip Xpress is an increased demand for partitions, workstation screens and dividers. This means that offices are moving away from the open office environment and placing these dividers so employees can adhere to social distancing practices. This also allows employees to sanitize their workstations as they see fit and provides the workspace necessary to be productive. Employees overwhelmingly believe that fellow employees will respect social distancing guidelines and each other’s work space. Productivity will likely increase in the future since employees will have their own space to work, but still be able to socialize.

In either case, communication will be more important than ever. Employees appreciated the compassion and understanding executives showed earlier this year, and wish for this to continue. Employees hope to hear encouragement from executives to take walks and small breaks and deeply appreciate the communication from executives on what their companies are doing to keep employees safe.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for companies to get back to business. Companies are adapting and changing their office spaces for the good of their employees because they understand that companies are made of people. They want their employees to stay safe, healthy and secure as they return to work. The trend we’re seeing as the office space evolves makes this very clear, and we’re proud to be a part of it. If you need help in ensuring your office furniture arrives undamaged and on time to your customer, start today with Zip Xpress!

More Hope for Aspiring Logistics Professionals

The world of logistics is always evolving. For those looking to make a splash in the industry, a quality education is invaluable. The good news is that there are hundreds of colleges that offer logistics and supply chain education, and the better news is that the DOT just granted $4.9 million dollars to four new university transportation research centers. This opens up even more opportunities for the next generation of logistics professionals and transportation innovators.

These grants, designed to support research and development of transportation technology, have been awarded to Ohio State University, Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh, and Georgia Institute of Technology. These schools will work in conjunction with University of California (Berkeley and Irvine), University of Texas, University of Tennessee, and University of Kentucky to study and develop programs involving automated transportation systems and vehicles, communications technologies, public transportation, and mobility services.

This is excellent news for anybody looking to start a career in logistics, as there will be opportunities to work on these programs at schools throughout the nation. Even if a student doesn’t attend one of the schools mentioned, the implications are clear – the DOT understands the importance of logistics and will continue to invest in such programs at schools across the country. That said, while a quality education is vital in this field, there is no substitute for great service. To the next generation going into this great field, we advise to remember the human side of logistics and to help the people involved every step of the way in any way you can.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of a great education. We hope that the DOT continues investing in logistics programs – especially into schools here in Michigan. We also hope that the next generation doesn’t forget about the importance of service. We have many young professionals who have not forgotten so when it comes to ensuring your shipment will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!