Supply chain as a growth function

Supply Chain as a Growth Function

A recent study in the consumer packaged goods industry found that nearly 70% of executives see the supply chain as a support function rather than a tool for growth. While that is only one industry, it isn’t hard to imagine that key players in a wide range of industries might feel the same way. The problem with this line of thinking is that it seemingly ignores all of the advances that have been made in the supply chain sector. These advances have been integral in growing multiple industries and contributing to the success of some of the biggest companies currently in existence.

Consider how much e-commerce has evolved over the years. The obvious name here is Amazon – what they’ve accomplished by focusing on revamping their supply chain has been nothing short of remarkable. The lesson here is that Amazon made the supply chain seamless for many consumer companies. The next logical step in supply chain evolution is getting product to arrive on time and damage free. Manufacturers need to take a long, hard look at their supply chain and evaluate how their carriers handle their products.

In today’s world, many customers want their product to arrive damage free. They don’t want to see office furniture coming out of the truck dented, scratched or crushed. They don’t want to see dents in their medical machinery or bends in the industrial robotic arms. Low prices and fast transits go out the window if your unique freight arrives damaged. Customer trust erodes every time freight arrives damaged and the costs to replace this sensitive equipment will soar. This will put a strain on sales and revenue, further hurting the company. On the other hand, if you are consistently outperforming expectations and keeping your customers happy, you have a great chance of gaining more business and driving profits up. To see how we can increase growth for your company through the supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Importance of Planning

In the history of business, there have been very few companies that have succeeded with proper planning. Those that have succeeded have generally experienced a great stroke of luck, and that is not something that an organization should rely on if they want to remain profitable. Planning is highly important and is a process that should be taken seriously. However, your plan doesn’t always have to be followed exactly, and you should allow room to adapt in case something unexpected takes place. In the supply chain industry, we know that you can never predict what challenges you may face in a given day. This is why you should have an adaptable and malleable plan of action for every situation.

Supply chain operations would not be successful if there was no planning involved. The supply chain itself is based on planning – companies must outline every step of production, manufacturing, and transportation throughout the life of the product, from securing raw materials to delivering the final goods. It is a good idea to have a standard course of action for every step in the supply chain, but room should be left for alterations in case an error is made, or any sort of difficulty is encountered. When we have actionable plans for a wide variety of scenarios, we give ourselves the flexibility to be creative while maintaining efficiency in our operations.

Every shipping company should make planning an integral part of their operations. Many even hire people specifically for this purpose – whether they are planning shipping routes or warehouse storage solutions, their expertise can be of immense value to any organization. One small kink in the supply chain can have a domino effect throughout a company’s operations, but if proper planning has been done, the negative outcomes can be minimized.

To see how we can help with your company’s plan, start today with Zip Xpress!

Managing the Unexpected

In the freight world, delays are inevitable. Everything could be running smoothly for the first leg of a shipment when all of the sudden inclement weather shuts a driver down. While we may do everything in our power to get our shipments delivered on time, there are many things that we can’t control that can contribute to late shipments. The key to minimizing these problems is not to try to control the uncontrollable, but rather to plan ahead and manage every situation effectively when something undesirable occurs.

The first step in managing the unexpected is to pay attention to the details involved with every shipment. Know where the shipment is delivering and when it is needed by. Warehouse requirements should always be known ahead of time to limit the chance that the freight will be rejected when it arrives. Dispatchers can even check the weather forecasts along the route to try to minimize the risk of running into weather delays. They can’t control the weather, but they can try to find the path of least resistance. With every shipment, we must expect that there will be potential delays somewhere during transit. Instead of becoming frustrated that the delays occurred, it is important to have a plan of action in place for when they happen.

Much like in every industry, problems are going to occur if you are shipping multiple truckloads or multiple LTL shipments every day. It is important to keep a positive mindset, hoping for the best for every shipment, but to be realistic and do everything that you can to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. A shipment isn’t complete just because you booked the load – it is vital to have a plan B, plan C, and even plan D in place for the possibility of a casualty occurring.  When you learn to plan ahead, you won’t be blindsided by a casualty. You’ll be able to take action and fix the problem, keeping your customer happy and your company profitable. To see how we can help you with managing the unexpected, start today with Zip Xpress!

sustainability in packaging

Sustainability in Packaging

Most people don’t often think about the effect that packaging has on their shipments or on the environment, but the truth is that packaging is very significant. It makes up 23% of our landfills and has a sizable effect on the environment. This is why many forward-thinking companies are re-evaluating their packaging programs and placing a focus on sustainability. The benefit here isn’t only in reducing carbon emissions and being environmentally friendly, but also saving money in the long run as the world shifts toward a more sustainable mindset.

Consider that a standard wooden pallet weighs about 50 pounds. A truckload carrying 26 double stacked pallets is hauling 2,600 pounds of pure packaging. Any extra weight on a truck contributes to higher emissions, and companies are becoming aware of the fact that they can save money down the line by spending a little more on efficient packaging. The corrugated pallet, for example, only weighs about 19 pounds, and while it isn’t always as strong as a wooden pallet, manufacturers are continually improving the quality of their corrugated pallets in an attempt to rival their wooden counterparts.

This is big news for environmentally-conscious companies as well as those looking to reduce costs. The slightly higher price of the corrugated pallet can be easily offset by savings on fuel, the ability to optimize space, and the lower disposal costs. That’s not to mention that corrugated pallets are less prone to rot and infestation. These innovations are a step in the right direction, but an even better means to this end is to eliminate the need for packaging entirely.

Zip Xpress is leading the way to make this a reality. Our entire model is designed around minimizing handling. Less handling means less need for packaging to prevent damage. Every shipment is properly secured by an expert freight handler and each trailer is fully optimized to ensure we are not trading a reduction in packaging waste for an increase in emissions waste.

Our process allows shippers to eliminate their packaging waste, minimize their carbon emissions footprint, and price their products more competitively. This triple win continues to help Michigan shippers attract the growing base of customers who are committed to going green. To see examples of successful zero-packaging shipments and learn about other efforts in our drive for sustainability, get started with Zip Xpress today!

west mi trucking

The Healthy Road: How Truckers can Stay Fit

Driving a truck can be a grueling, physically taxing job, but that doesn’t mean that it is always healthy. Truck drivers face many challenges when it comes to staying healthy on the road. Long stretches of sitting make it difficult to exercise, and the on-the-go nature of the job means that lean, nutritious meals are hard to come by. However, there are some tips and tricks that truckers can follow to promote a healthier overall lifestyle.

Exercise, Even in Small Bursts

Drivers may not have many opportunities to exercise, which is why they should make the most of those that they do get. Even going for a long walk around a truck stop when parked for the night can promote better circulation and a stronger cardiovascular system. Keeping workout clothes in the truck can be a smart decision, allowing drivers to go for a run whenever they get the chance.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is one of the keys to a healthy body, but it is often neglected by people on the road. Instead of soft drinks or coffee, truck drivers should bring plenty of water with them on every trip. Doctors suggest 1-2 liters a day, but more may be required if the weather is exceedingly hot. The added benefit is that water is calorie-free and can help stop cravings for unwholesome sugary beverages.

Plan Meals

Unhealthy foods are scattered about truck stops and highways across America, making it especially difficult to follow a healthy diet while on the road. The best way to avoid the fatty, salty food trap is to meal plan before every trip. Truckers should make sure to bring plenty of fruits and vegetables with them and make it a point to opt for lean meats such as chicken and turkey whenever possible. It will take some willpower at first, but it will be highly beneficial in the long run for overall health and well-being.

At Zip Xpress, we care very deeply about each and every driver. We know the hard work they put in and want to ensure that they’ll succeed. To see how we bring such care to all of our stakeholders, start today with Zip Xpress!

Headload Service

Tackling the Trucker Shortage Using Freight Optimization

It’s no secret in the shipping industry that there are currently not enough truck drivers to keep up with manufacturing demand. Shippers are struggling to get their products delivered on time because it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure a driver. As capacity gets tighter and tighter, rates increase across the board, putting even more stress on shippers and manufacturers. Although recruitment efforts for drivers can help alleviate these problems, we must face the reality that there will likely be a shortage of drivers as long as production keeps up with its current pace. In this challenging environment, shippers must focus on freight optimization to reduce costs and maximize efficiency.

In the past, it was sometimes cheaper to ship a large partial shipment at a full truckload rate. Carriers were struggling to find freight, so they would take cross-country shipments for sometimes comically low rates just so that they could get to their next pickup. Shippers could often ship just a few pallets for a cheaper rate on a dedicated truck. Today that is not the case, and drivers can demand much higher rates for the same lanes. Because of this, it has become more economical to consolidate multiple shipments in order to get a break on price.

Partial and LTL shipments will help save money for the shippers in the long run. Many shippers have been wary of sharing their truck with other freight, citing damage, shifts, or even theft as potential downfalls. However, thanks to how we secure each shipment the reward of shipping partial or LTL far outweighs the risk. We provide savings and ensure that every delivery will arrive undamaged. This also creates more sustainability through reduced fuel consumption and ‘wasted air.’ To see how our partial shipments can benefit you, start today with Zip Xpress!

West Michigan Trucking

Everyone Wants to Work in Logistics, But Not in Trucking

With a strong economy driving a manufacturing boom across the nation, logistics and supply chain jobs are flourishing. New workers are entering the field all over the country as the needs for jobs such as logistics analysts, supply chain managers, and even sales reps continue to increase. As such, people are eager to take on these new roles in the expanding industry. However, we aren’t seeing as many people interested in taking on the most important job in the supply chain – trucking. This is a trend that must change if logistics companies want to maintain this growing level of success.

Truck drivers are the reason that the supply chain works – they are the final piece of a long, complex puzzle that allows us to receive our goods all over the country. Without them, survival would be a lot more challenging, if not far more inconvenient, as we would not be able to easily access food, clothing, and other vital products. We need truck drivers now more than ever in order to make deliveries to our urban centers and our smaller, remote towns. They are truly road warriors who are willing to do a job that not many others are.

Logistics and shipping organizations need to place a strong focus on recruiting truck drivers and allowing them to grow in their careers. These are some of the hardest working individuals in the workforce, and they deserve any accolades that we can give them. Despite the difficulties of the job, it can be a highly rewarding experience that perfectly suits individualists who enjoy the freedom of the open road. As a country, we often overlook these workers who make it possible for us to purchase our goods in a quick and easy manner. We need more drivers in the workforce, and that starts with showing our appreciation for their unwavering dedication to the job.

To see how much we appreciate our drivers in being a part of the supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Recruiting Supply Chain Talent

Supply chain jobs are abundant in America, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to fill them with qualified talent. Recruiting in logistics can be a stressful, confusing task as there are many different qualities that are required to be successful in the field. One of those qualities is the willingness to learn – that is, being ready and eager to take on new tasks and roles in order to solve the unique problems that will inevitably occur on a regular basis.

Here at Zip Xpress we place a lot of value on an individual’s willingness to learn, which is why so many of our employees have been promoted from within. Someone who starts on the warehouse floor can learn a lot about how the freight looks, how to handle it, and the best ways to package it. This knowledge can translate to becoming a great planner or dispatcher, as they will be able to visualize the freight and speak from prior experience. The world of logistics is always changing, and those who are constantly adapting have a great opportunity to advance their careers.

At Zip Xpress, we place a major focus on company representation. We recruit people who we believe could be the face of the company at any time. This means that candidates should be personable, communicative, and have a willingness to provide the highest level of customer service at all times. This can be seen from the ground level in evaluating how people answer the phone or respond to emails. Answering the call is only the first step, but the ability to listen to the customer and come up with unique and creative solutions is what sets our elite talent apart from the rest. In logistics, one should always be motivated to go above and beyond what is necessary to get the job done. The employees at Zip Xpress believe in this philosophy, and it is our goal to always see a customer satisfied.

To see how our team can service your business, get started with Zip Xpress today!

Don't Ignore Administrative in Logistics

Reducing Administrative Waste in Your Office

Working in logistics can be fast-paced and exciting, but many people forget about the administrative tasks that take place throughout the life of every shipment. However, these back-office jobs are highly important and should be treated as such. It is vital to take a look at administrative tasks, and that includes keeping a clean office in order to streamline operations and keep everyone on the same page.

Cleanliness is often underappreciated, but we at Zip Xpress make it point to run a well-organized office. We saw that organization was not a priority for many other logistics companies, and they noticed that this led to mixed up orders, late shipments, and even lost freight. Our focus emphasized a strong work ethic in our employees, and that included focusing on organization and cleanliness. This starts with even the smallest things – finding consistent homes for supplies such as staplers, documents, and pens – and it begins to translate to organizational skills at higher levels.

As people learn to reduce administrative waste, they become more efficient and can focus on improving supply chain operations on a daily basis. Our internal phrase ‘Being Current’ is a major benefit to eliminating waste, as it allows other workers to come in and take over seamlessly without needing to backtrack or find old documents to catch up. When everyone is operating at maximum efficiency, the company will perform better as a whole.

With technology always improving and cloud services becoming the norm, organizations should use services like Google Docs to reduce paper waste. Some industries, such as logistics, require at least one physical copy of documents, but you shouldn’t have to go any further than that. Sticking to one original and keeping backups in the cloud help to reduce unnecessary printing of paper and contribute to a more productive atmosphere. To learn more about what we do to remain sustainable, get started with Zip Xpress today!

zip xpress ltl

How to Achieve Perfect Order Fulfillment

One of Zip’s primary goals is to achieve what is known as ‘Perfect Order Fulfillment.’ This is described by the Supply Chain Council as a discrete measurement defined as the percentage of orders delivered to the right place, with the right product, at the right time, in the right condition, in the right package, in the right quantity, with the right documentation, to the right customer, with the correct invoice.

The best method to achieve perfect order fulfillment is by extended visibility across the supply chain. Zip does this by making every step of the fulfillment process as visible as possible with our employees. We’ve designed the layout of the office, dispatch board and shipment binder to make every step of the process as easy to understand as possible. Our goal is to have everyone trained to be ready to step in and help out at a moment’s notice. We track each shipment carefully from start to finish and keep communication with the customer as open as possible.

We monitor the entire process of the shipment, searching for ways we can improve service to the customer. We keep desks neat and tidy to ensure orders don’t get mixed up. We collaborate together to find shipping solutions and ensure everyone gets what they need in order to achieve satisfaction.

Finally, we focus on making every step of the process as consistent as possible. Our team is in constant communication with one another, ensuring that if there’s a problem we’ll fix it right away. Our team of experts has been consistent for years, which allows us to provide the same results shipment after shipment.

Perfect order fulfillment is not simple, or even easy, but it can be achieved. It is a process, one that we strive for every day. It is a challenge we love taking on, and if you’d like to see how we can make your order perfect, get started with Zip Xpress today!