Transparent Transportation

In an age where it seems like people are always connected to each other, and when you can get real-time updates from friends across the world, there is an unfortunate lack of connection throughout the transportation industry. Brokers or carriers will suddenly disappear when a shipment hasn’t shown up for its appointment, or GPS tracking sites will conveniently go down as an urgent delivery is approaching. The technology for simple, seamless communication and tracking is readily available, but many organizations are slow to adapt or simply don’t want to embrace it at all. This is a recipe for disaster, and the transportation providers that commit to honesty and transparency will be the ones who succeed in the long run.

Transparency, however, is a two-way street that requires constant communication and a certain level of teamwork in order to benefit both parties. Shippers must let their providers know if a production line is down or if there is going to be a delay in loading. On the flipside, carriers need to be proactive about communicating any delays on their end, whether it be a broken down truck, a weather issue, or a simple data entry error. When either side tries to jump through hoops to fabricate a story rather than being open and honest, it hurts not only the particular shipment, but also the relationship as a whole. One simple mistake is nothing to end a relationship over, but if any party – shipper, manufacturer, or carrier – develops a habit of constantly backtracking, it is likely that the other parties will walk away in search of new business.

At Zip Xpress, our goal is to be as transparent as possible throughout the life of every shipment. We seek to foster a culture of trust between all stakeholders, because we believe that working together is better for shared success. We understand that early communication allows our customers to plan for any contingency and ensure that our shipments arrive on time. When we work as a team with our vendors, providers, and clients, we create an understanding relationship that allows all parties to improve their supply chain operations. To see this transparency for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Why Warehouse Efficiency Matters

Many people underestimate the importance of a clean, efficient warehouse in boosting the overall effectiveness of an organization’s supply chain. This is a grave mistake, because an efficient warehouse leads to improvements in inventory planning, loading times, fulfillment abilities, and far more. In addition to streamlined operations, a clean warehouse also leads to a safer, more professional environment that will make for happier employees and satisfied clients, especially if it is open for customer visits. Companies who don’t put an emphasis on cleanliness and efficiency are likely losing out on profits and new customers, so it is important to keep some things in mind when it comes to maintaining a warehouse.

Many changes seem incredibly simple, but they can play a major role in helping employees and equipment become more productive. Something as basic as labeling aisles can work wonders for walking employees and forklift drivers, as well as dock workers who need to minimize the time it takes to load a truck. Planning ahead to keep popular inventory nearer to the docks can also ensure that it is loaded and turned over quickly. This keeps detention at a minimum which in turn makes for happier truck drivers, meaning that carriers will be more willing to return to the warehouse in the future. It also helps to reduce the likelihood that these same drivers will need to shut down before they can make on-time delivery. Quicker in and out times means fewer worries about making transit time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that when a warehouse is firing on all cylinders, everybody benefits, from lift operators to members of the executive board. Even the smallest delays can cause extraordinary ripple effects, and working to minimize these provides a myriad of benefits to any organization. It is simply another piece of optimizing our supply chain. To see this optimization for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Lowering Emissions for a Greener World

These days it isn’t just a few highly progressive outliers in business that are concerned with lowering emissions. Environmental friendliness is a philosophy that is now being embraced by some of the biggest manufacturers and profit-driven companies. At this point, we’ve seen plenty of the negative effects of pollution, and even realized that green technology can lead to lower costs and more profit in the long run. Most importantly, however, is that we are treating the world around us with respect and care, doing everything we can to lower emissions and allow the environment to thrive. For those in transportation, this can be a bit of a challenge, but there are several steps that all logistics companies can take to become more friendly to the environment.

Some basic, cheaper ideas include installing mud flaps and trailer tails to reduce drag and make the truck more aerodynamic, helping it to become more fuel efficient. Carriers can also help reduce the number of miles driven by focusing on route optimization, making sure that dispatchers and drivers alike are working together to formulate the most efficient path of travel for delivery. Drivers should be sure to monitor their particulate filter and to clean it regularly before it becomes too bogged down by ash and soot. For trucks with engines that allow biodiesel to be used, it is an excellent option for running more cleanly.

The most important method of lowering emissions in logistics is to optimize every shipment and ensure there’s no wasted space on any truck. The less “empty space” we have in our trailers, the fewer trucks we can have on the road at any given time. This reduction in emissions will provide cleaner air and reduce the wear and tear on our roads. It is a cycle of sustainability, one that we can all do our part.

These are simple changes that most carriers can make to reduce their carbon footprint, but the future of trucking may make it even simpler. Hybrid trucks are becoming more of a reality, and while they will still use the diesel engine at high speeds, they will drastically cut down on emissions in city and final-mile driving, where much of the pollution takes place simply from idling or sitting in traffic. Eventually, fully electric trucks may come into existence, eliminating the need for fossil fuels altogether. In the meantime, we are constantly seeing new, innovative technologies that serve to reduce our emissions as long as we are reliant on these fuels, and all those who are involved in the transportation field should be embracing these tools. To see how we can reduce your carbon footprint with our sustainability report, start today with Zip Xpress!

Getting More Drivers on the Road: The Push for Recruitment

It is currently estimated that there are about 3.5 million truck drivers actively working in the USA. This looks like a large number on the surface, but the fact remains that there is still a massive shortage of truck drivers, and shippers have been struggling to cover all their freight for several years now. The manufacturing boom has slowed a bit, but the amount of product being produced is still outweighing the number of trucks that are available to carry it. As many lifetime drivers are retiring, younger people simply aren’t as attracted to a profession that was once seen as highly desirable. This is why carriers must focus on new trends and put extra effort into recruiting drivers if they want to continue to be successful.

Carriers can try to focus on the changing landscape of the industry to entice younger people as well as those who weren’t traditionally seen as the truck-driving type. This includes focusing on diversity and reaching out to women who currently only make up 8% of the pool of cross-country truckers. As attitudes change across the industry, there aren’t as many barriers to entry for women and minorities to get their CDL and to become successful drivers. Similarly, carriers should push hard for a strong millennial outreach program, highlighting why driving might have benefits for young people who don’t yet have families. Some of these advantages include flexibility, great pay if you work hard, and the perk of getting to see parts of the country that you may have never made it to before.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that the profession isn’t going away anytime soon. Potential drivers will need to work hard, but the benefits are rewarding to those who put in the effort. All of our partners in manufacturing still need their products shipped, nothing will replace this reality. Moving this product by truck is still the most effective way to get this done. Emphasizing that a job in trucking can be a flexible, lucrative, and long-lasting career is a vital part of improving a carrier’s recruitment program. To see how our professional drivers can handle your freight, start today with Zip Xpress!

Specialized Freight – Highlighting Automation

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an industry transform itself and become explosive with innovation. From humble origins of stands and conveyors, the automation industry is now on the cutting edge with sensors, lighting units and robotic arms that look like they belong in a science fiction book. Those machines are fueling a new industrial revolution, but in order for progress to be achieved, those machines need to get to their final destination.

Manufacturers everywhere can imagine the horror of seeing a truck arrive with a dozen robotic arms and three of them have their paint chipped. Two more had their sensors ripped off due to a box falling on top of them. Three others even had a finger knocked off of the wrist joint. Now the customer needs to file a claim with the shipper, who needs to transport the defective units back to the manufacturing plant. The original shipper won’t be satisfied because they need to refurbish, replace and diagnose any unseen issues from being damaged in transit. The result is loss of revenue for all three, from making repairs, transporting an additional trip and loss of time in production. All of this in a rushed effort to ship with a carrier that isn’t experienced in handling such delicate machinery.

Manufacturers in the automation industry never have to worry about such horror stories when they partner with Zip Xpress. We’re experienced at handling every piece of automation equipment – from conveyors to industrial robots. We understand how precise the equipment must be, so our dockworkers take extra care when loading and strapping the machines into place. We provide automation companies with the custom carrier solutions required to ensure that these machines arrive in the same condition we found them in. To see for yourself how carefully we can handle your machinery, start today with Zip Xpress!

Competency in Compliance

Whether you love them or hate them, there are rules and regulations that must be followed in every industry. Transportation is no different, and the regulations are there to not only encourage fair trade, but also to promote safety and education across the sector. Trucks, trains, and planes are all massive, potentially dangerous vehicles that can cause great harm if they aren’t operated safely by trained professionals who understand the consequences of breaking the aforementioned regulations. Every year, it seems that new rules are proposed and applied, so it is important for any transportation organization to strive to be highly competent when it comes to compliance.

Over the past 2 years, the ELD Mandate has been a topic of much debate. But whether or not you agree with the terms of the mandate, the fact remains that all companies must be in compliance and that drivers, dispatchers, and even executives are responsible for making sure that it is followed. In fact, every June the CSVA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Association) inspects as many trucks as possible searching for safety violations as well as ELD compliance. The best companies will exhibit a culture of compliance from the top down, and will provide the training required for all employees to understand the importance of following industry rules. They will also set their own rules that may go above and beyond the legal regulations, just to ensure that every member of the organization are going the extra mile to stay compliant. This doesn’t apply only to the ELD Mandate, but to all industry rules and regulations that must be followed.

At Zip Xpress, we are committed to providing safe, reliable transportation services while complying with the rules and regulations set forth by the DOT. We understand that these rules and regulations are put in place for the safety of our drivers as well as for the protection of other stakeholders. We help our customers navigate through the compliance maze and deliver their shipments on time and undamaged. Our experienced staff is well versed in all of the rules and regulations our sector deems necessary for compliance – don’t put your freight at risk, trust us to take care of your next shipment. To ensure every shipment of yours is compliant, start today with Zip Xpress!

Every Mile Counts: Why Route Optimization is Vital in Shipping

It may seem like common sense that any company involved in the shipping process should try to find the most efficient path for every shipment. However, there are still many out there who simply rely on GPS directions to get them from point A to point B. While this isn’t necessarily detrimental and can certainly work on a load by load basis, there are far more steps that can be taken to optimize routing and maximize efficiency. With new technologies, specialized employees, and a world of information at our fingertips, we can now plan for delays and analyze trends better than ever before. When all of these things are working together, carriers, shippers, and manufacturers will reap the benefits of lower costs, better on-time delivery numbers, and more overall success.

Optimization is especially important when handling consolidated shipments for multiple customers. A driver with one single truckload shipment may be able to allot more time for expected delays due to traffic, weather, or other outside factors. On the other hand, a driver carrying a variety of products going to different locations doesn’t have as much leeway when it comes to delays. One small traffic incident can cause him to miss his first appointment, which in turn will put more pressure on him to make each subsequent appointment after the fact. This is why so many logistics companies are employing analysts and investing in technology in order to find the best routes and make planning for delays more predictable. A single missed delivery due to weather isn’t the end of the world, but when we can analyze data and come up with new optimization plans, we are setting ourselves up for more success in the future.

At Zip Xpress, we factor in everything when it comes to ensuring your freight will arrive undamaged and on time. We operate as a team, seeking new and better solutions, even when previous efforts were satisfactory. We strive for excellence every time and we collaborate on what we can do better for the future. Our planners and customer service specialists ensure that everything was correct with the load before it leaves our warehouse. We optimize our routes and operate under the highest efficiency every day. We set goals to do everything better with a focus on continuous improvement. To see how we can optimize your route with your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Importance of Accuracy

Technology has continually made shipping goods more convenient, efficient, and reliable. From a single person sending a small-package gift to a friend cross-country to a major corporation scheduling hundreds of truckloads in a day, many shipping operations can be successfully carried out with just a few simple keystrokes. This has led to expansion and profit growth throughout the industry, but our tendency to rely on simplification can often lead to large problems down the road. Even with lightning-fast software and increasingly impressive AI making transportation more automated, we have to be sure to double check all of our work to guarantee accuracy during every step of any given shipment.

Because computers have become so central to the booking process for many transportation companies, the information in a shipment may pass through several systems and be relayed to multiple warehouses before a second human even takes a look at it. While these computers are highly capable of providing this information to each other, they cannot make up for any errors that were made during the initial data entry phase of the shipment. This means that the human operator at the beginning needs to make sure to double and triple check every line of data to prevent catastrophic problems down the line. Shipping and receiving addresses may seem rudimentary, but a single mistyped digit in the zip code could throw the entire shipment off. Failing to provide the correct PO number or dock door could lead to driver detention at the shipper, costing money for the customer and carrier. All of these could be prevented by simple accuracy checks and SOPs that ensure all workers are paying close attention to their data.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of accuracy in the logistics world. We know that time invested at the beginning of any process will most certainly save time in the long run, as backtracking to fix a problem requires far more work than preventing the error in the first place. It is inevitable to encounter mistakes in any industry, but our detail-oriented, hard-working philosophy allows us to minimize the number of simple mistakes, thus reducing the negative effect of larger problems down the road. To see our accuracy with your shipment, start today at Zip Xpress!

Looking Back at the ELD Mandate

When the ELD Mandate was originally proposed, many in the transportation industry were vehemently opposed to it. How could they continue to remain profitable while taking on fewer shipments? Why should they be regulated in a way that affects their ability to do business? When the mandate was approved, there was panic and anger across the field. But logistics is an industry made up of resilient individuals, and many people found a way to train, adapt, and eventually accept the reality of the ELD Mandate. Here are some changes made since December 2017.

While training has always been a vital part of logistics, many companies – especially smaller ones – invested more in training their employees on safety and compliance. It was necessary for drivers who had always used paper logbooks to understand the new system and be prepared for the changes. Those companies who trained found themselves at an advantage when the mandate was finally implemented. Other companies found themselves blindsided by the new rules, but they too eventually adapted and learned the rules, and violations dropped by almost half within the first year.

The mandate didn’t only affect carriers. Customers began to realize that they had to run their warehouses more efficiently. Keeping drivers detained for long periods of time became a bigger problem because it often meant they wouldn’t be able to make the transit without shutting down. This was especially true on the longer mile one-day shipments. While this also required training and preparation, it has proven to be a net positive for many manufacturers as they have been able to pump out more shipments in a shorter amount of time. It has also made for stronger relationships between carriers and customers. So, while the mandate still has its criticisms, many of them valid, one thing that most logistics professionals can agree on is that it showed the grit, determination, and never-say-die attitude that is prevalent across the industry. To stay ahead of the ELD mandate with all of your shipping needs, start today with Zip Xpress!