Bouncing Back in Shipping

While many challenges lie ahead in the coming months, companies have shown just how resilient they can be. These challenges have already created new solutions and innovations in a number of industries. The logistics industry is composed perhaps of the most resilient workers in the world. Their ingenuity and strong work ethic are paving the way for future success during a critical time when innovation is needed most.

Non-essential industries that were shut down at the height of the pandemic took a big hit earlier this year. Loss of revenue as well as loss of products that couldn’t be shipped are not easy obstacles to overcome. However, shipping volumes have increased, and more people are going back to work. Companies that communicated with vendors and customers about what they were up against will manage to see this through. Embracing innovation, communication and transparency have allowed companies to weather the storm and will provide solutions for the future. While every company is different, communication, transparency and the encouragement of innovation will surely help during times of uncertainty.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need to embrace these three values. We focus on communication by ensuring that anyone who calls our office will be answered by a human being, not a machine. We create innovative solutions because we solicit ideas from our staff. We’re also transparent with all of our stakeholders because we understand the current challenges we all face. There will always be a need for goods to be delivered, but every company faces a different challenge. If you would like to see how we can develop a custom carrier solution that suits your needs, start today with Zip Xpress!

A New Career in Trucking

Americans have been hit hard in recent months, with layoffs or furloughs being the latest threat to job security. We’re facing many difficulties and uncertainties in the job market, but as the economy opens back up, new positions will become available. One of these positions presents an unexpectedly lucrative opportunity since it will always be needed – the truck driver.

Traversing the open road and delivering goods may not be what most have in mind when considering a new career path, but it can be a very lucrative – and fulfilling – job to take on. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in truck driving, and people have many different options from which to choose. If you’ve always wanted to see different parts of the country and enjoy your independence, you might consider a long-haul career. For those who don’t mind being away for a few days but still want to get back home for the weekends – regional driving jobs are abundant. And even if you want to come home every night and sleep in your own bed, you can become a final-mile or local driver.

No matter what route you choose, there is still a strong need for more drivers in this country, and many companies are willing to pay for or co-sponsor your training to ensure you have all the tools required to succeed. This career path is one of the most stable, essential and customizable around. Many logistics providers do their best to accommodate their drivers and treat them with the respect they deserve. You will go home knowing you’ve done honest work for one of the most crucial sectors of the economy – after all, there will always be a need for groceries, clothing, furniture and other goods to be delivered across the country.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that most people don’t realize that trucking is a viable career choice. It is an opportunity to serve a grateful customer base and share in the joys of delivering their purchased product. Drivers are the “face” of most logistics companies and with a can-do attitude and hard work ethic, they will inevitably find success. To work with one of our smiling drivers in your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

Watching the Weather

Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, hazardous weather conditions can appear at any time. Severe weather can cause accidents for unprepared drivers, delay shipments or cause damage to freight. Prepared drivers can avoid most accidents, but even the most prepared can be delayed due to unforeseen issues and cause a delay in the shipment’s arrival. Companies expecting shipments should keep an eye on the weather and develop a communication plan with their carrier in the event bad weather forces a change in plan.

When creating a communication plan with your carrier, be sure to consider weather conditions across the country. Just because it’s sunny at your office doesn’t mean a pop up thunderstorm won’t cause delays on the interstate a thousand miles away. Understanding that weather may cause delays in shipment will go a long way in ensuring driver safety since the driver could be in danger due to an unforeseen storm. It’s also important to remember that dispatch teams are doing everything they can to warn drivers of potentially hazardous conditions, because sudden storms can cause accidents that were impossible to predict, let alone prepare for.

Your communication plan should include contingencies in the event a shipment is delayed. Drivers are no doubt doing their best to get your shipment to you in a timely manner, but developing an internal plan for the unexpected gives breathing room for every organization. Working with the carrier to schedule the delivery will work wonders to put your mind at ease in the event that a storm causes a delay. Communication is key, even when the unexpected occurs. The top priority is the safety of a driver and we’re certain that every organization recognizes this fact.

At Zip Xpress, we understand this need for constant communication even during times of unforeseeable weather conditions. We work with our partners to ensure that their deliveries will arrive on time and undamaged, but we will always put the safety of our drivers above all else. Ensuring they can go home safely is top priority, but we have extensive communication plans in place with our customers so that if a storm will affect the timing of their shipment, they’ll be the first to know. To see how you can create a communication plan like this for your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Sustainability in the Furniture Industry

Sustainability was once confined as a lofty goal for the most idealistic of companies, but now it has been shown time and again that it is a necessity in order for companies to succeed. The furniture industry has proven to be one of the most willing to embrace sustainability initiatives. In this article we are highlighting the advances being made in this dynamic industry.

The first advancement has to do with the sourcing of sustainable materials. Manufacturers are performing incredible due diligence when sourcing sustainably harvested lumber, since this is one of the most difficult materials to source. They also perform numerous tests on lumber materials to ensure they can make sturdy furniture. Fabric is another material that’s changing how it’s being sourced, with a return to materials such as cotton, wool and feathers since synthetic materials are not perceived to be as sustainable.

Manufacturing practices are also advancing with a focus on using recycled alloys if the furniture piece requires metal – even nuts and bolts can be formed using these materials. Water based adhesives are being used to bond fabric instead of chemical-based adhesives that can harm the environment. Furniture manufacturers are increasingly re-using excess materials during production and working harder than ever to reduce excess waste. The last method of creating a seamlessly sustainable product is the elimination of packaging materials used when shipping the furniture to customers. Working with a sustainable carrier will ensure that your products will arrive undamaged and on time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that consumers and businesses want to see their furniture be manufactured sustainably. We also understand that furniture manufacturers don’t want to see their products damaged during transit which is why we offer our blanket wrap solution which eliminates the need for packaging and protects the finished product for the customer. Furniture manufacturers are one of the leaders in sustainability and it’s our privilege to help them create a more sustainable economy. To see how we can help your business become more sustainable, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Truckers Cool in the Summertime

Summer is in full swing, and freight volumes have continued to rise, meaning that there are more drivers on the road than there have been in several months. Certain areas across the country have been hit with incredibly hot weather, with temperatures reaching the 90s and higher across the Great Plains and in the Southwest. This can mean uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions for our country’s truck drivers, who are in their cabins for hours at a time and even sleep in them overnight on long haul trips. This is why driver’s must be vigilant in taking the necessary precautions to prevent both themselves and their trucks from overheating.

Use – and Maintain – Air Conditioning

This sounds like a no-brainer, but air conditioning is very important during sweltering summer days. Most drivers have no problems using it, but it is vital to remember to check antifreeze levels and other components to ensure a safe, cool ride against the beating sun.

Blankets are Your Friend

You might wonder why anybody would want blankets in the middle of the summer, but they are very useful – just not in the way you might expect. For leather seats that tend to get extra hot after sitting in the sun, blankets can prevent overheating. Placing a blanket over your seat while you run into a truck stop or right before you sit down can add exponential levels of comfort while driving. They can also be helpful in covering electronic devices to keep them cool on bright days.

Sunburn is No Joke

Many truckers are familiar with the perils of the dreaded half-sunburn. Due to driving on the left side, the left side of your body, specifically your arm and face, can really take a beating if you don’t apply sunblock regularly. Applying 30 SPF sunscreen once every two hours should be enough to protect from harmful ultraviolet rays

Breaks are Essential

We know that drivers are legally required to take breaks, but in this type of weather it may be beneficial to allot extra times for short breaks when discomfort hits. Even 10-15 minutes at a rest stop to sit in air conditioning and rehydrate can go a long way for your physical and mental health. Taking along a thermos full of frozen water bottles can also help ensure you have a ready supply of cool water that will help keep you hydrated.

At Zip Xpress, we understand how hard truck drivers work, especially during the summer months. We hope these practical tips will help make all the difference in keeping drivers cool during the long summer days. To see how our hardworking drivers can service your freight, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping the Customer Happy

We always see companies claiming that they put the customer first, but catchy taglines and slogans don’t mean much if they aren’t followed through with action. There are many facets to customer satisfaction, and a quality organization will be aware of these in every department. A functioning supply chain is a major part of this, and it is important for logistics employees to make sure they are doing their part throughout the life of any product or shipment. In short, customers want to know that their logistics and transportation providers are invested in the success of the orders.

In logistics, the simplest way to keep a customer happy is to ensure that all shipments arrive undamaged and on time. Nothing can ruin a company’s reputation faster than damaged products arriving at a customer’s location. Companies don’t want to file claims and manufacturers don’t want the added cost in labor and materials to remake their product. When it comes to a shipment arriving on time, online portals and tracking are useful, but people can get impatient when watching a screen for all of their shipment updates. Customers are far more satisfied when someone calls and coordinates all of their shipments with them and keeps them up to date with any and all changes along the way. Having a human connection improves customer satisfaction because then companies are viewed as partners, rather than transactions.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need to keep the customer happy. We do this by ensuring that every shipment will arrive undamaged and on time. We also keep customers happy by ensuring that every phone call will be picked up by a human being, not an answering machine. Whether you’re looking for a quote or checking on the status of your order, our staff will be delighted to help you. We recognize the importance of great service with every customer and treat your supply chain problems as though they’re our own. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Staying Flexible in Uncertain Times

There is no doubt that the events of 2020 will change the way we do business forever. Supply chains will be greatly affected as companies look for ways to manage increasing volatility and unpredictability. While some industries are more static and can rely on consistent demand throughout the year, they are still likely to experience times of discomfort and uncertainty. It is essential that shippers, manufacturers, and carriers remain as flexible as possible in order to accommodate the new reality of supply chain operations.

Expanding dock hours is one way that shippers and receivers can provide flexibility for both drivers and staff. Shifts can be staggered, allowing warehouse workers to choose hours that are better for their schedule. With increased scrutiny on staying legal, drivers will benefit from later dock hours that will help them to hit their targets without pushing the limits of hours of service rules and regulations.

Carriers can remain flexible by communicating with the shipper and the customer. It’s best to report any potential delays early and often, but also communicate with the customer about the scheduled delivery time so their team will be ready. When a shipper or receiver has enough lead time, they can provide some flexibility by either changing the appointment or preparing staff for delivery. Refusing to adapt will only cause frustration, but communication will allow all parties to prepare themselves and ensure the customer remains satisfied.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of remaining flexible. We work with shippers to accommodate their individual needs and there is always a real person ready to answer the phone and help 24/7. We understand the challenges every business is facing and communicate with our customers every step of the way. We work with everyone along the supply chain to schedule pick-ups and deliveries, in order to stay flexible, regardless of circumstance. If you want to see how you can make your supply chain more flexible, start today with Zip Xpress!

Managing the Summer Surge

Summer is often chaotic in the logistics world, and the Summer of 2020 just might be the most chaotic one. After months of economic downturn due to COVID, states are opening back up and all businesses are starting to churn out goods again. There’s no doubt that there will be a big push for companies to produce as much as possible, and with that will come an increased need for truckload and LTL capacity. While anyone who has worked in logistics is likely familiar with seasonal demand spikes, there are always new, efficient ways to manage them.

As is so often the case, communication and collaboration among supply chain partners is key. Customers should let their suppliers and transportation partners know if they are expecting to see an increase in demand. Carriers then should be as transparent as possible when it comes to available capacity and transit expectations. When partners work together to make solid plans ahead of time, there will be fewer instances of missed or late pickups or deliveries. It’s better for providers to commit to plans ahead of time rather than reject shipment tenders last minute because they were not aware of what to expect. The same can be said from the manufacturer’s side, as alternate plans can be made if a carrier is transparent enough to show their maximum capacity.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that the summer surge will be best managed through the efforts of everyone along the supply chain. Last minute changes may happen, same with expediting shipments, but rest assured that when you call our offices, a human being will answer the phone and assist with all of your needs. If there’s a way we can help you, we’ll find it. We’re here to provide custom carrier solutions for every business that needs them, regardless of the season. If you need help with managing the summer surge in your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Revitalizing the Supply Chain

The country is starting to open back up, but the way that we do business has likely changed forever. Even though many supply chains and transportation companies still remained open throughout the crisis, many enterprises have been hit hard by layoffs, closing customers, and a variety of other factors. Although the economy shows signs of recovering, logistics professionals will need to take a measured approach and adapt to a world that will not function in all the same ways that it used to.

For instance, freight handlers will need to be spread further apart or be required to wear protective equipment during their shifts. New strategies will be required to streamline supply chain operations and prevent the bullwhip effect which occurred with paper towels, hand sanitizer and PPE gear. Supply chain volatility may return and we still haven’t seen the full ramifications across the economy. Yet for all of this uncertainty comes the need to create and implement a strategic plan that is right for your business. Partnerships along the supply chain will grow stronger as we realize the need for consistency and reliability. By creating a plan with their carriers, companies will develop innovative strategies that could change the world.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that companies need consistency. We believe that long-term strategies outweigh the immediate satisfaction when planning for the day, week, month, or year. Our focus is always on taking the long view and remaining calm. When we collaborate with our business partners, we understand that there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. We provide our customers with reliability by assisting them in designing their supply chain strategies through our custom carrier solutions. By working together we found a way through this pandemic, now it’s time we adapt to the post-pandemic world. To see how we can help you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Optimizing Your Supply Chain When Cleaning House

As a result of COVID-19, business owners have had a lot of spare time the past few months. While business has been shut down, many have had the opportunity to take on projects that have been put on the back burner. They’ve cleaned up their operations, whether physically or through determining which products and services are absolutely necessary in order to thrive. Many business owners are seeking to make their operations more resilient. When it comes to the supply chain, one of the best ways to create a resilient operation is by partnering with a trusted carrier rather than relying on a third party logistics broker.

Partnering with a reliable carrier that understands how to ship your products will prevent breakage, misplaced orders and a myriad of other problems since they will develop an innate understanding of your business. This level of service can’t be replicated by a brokerage (3PL) which will only find you a carrier based on price. Since there is no relationship beyond the transaction your freight has a much higher chance of breakage since all they see is a box or pallet. When the customer receives the damaged freight you’ll need to file a claim, you’ll need to pay for materials, labor costs, and fees to replace the shipment and then repair the breach in trust with your customer. What was once a “price savings” has now become a cut-rate service nightmare.

At Zip Xpress, we believe your time would be put to much better use in sourcing a carrier you can trust and partner with them for your shipping needs. We believe that now is the perfect time to stop using brokers who only offer cut-rate service and that shippers should research and partner with carriers who can best meet their needs. We understand that companies want the best service possible when shipping freight. They don’t want to pay the extra costs of material and labor from breakage. They want their shipment to arrive undamaged and on time every time. They want a company they know and can trust to fulfill all of their needs through custom carrier solutions. If you want to see what a custom carrier solution looks like for your business, start today with Zip Xpress!