Building Resilience into Your Supply Chain

While the country is beginning to understand COVID-19, there are still many unknowns of what will happen after the country begins to open up. Companies are anxious to get back to work and executives will start taking a hard look at their enterprises to determine where their resources need to be deployed. One of these areas will inevitably be the supply chain, and with the lingering uncertainty in the marketplace, it’s vital for every business to build resilience into their supply chains.

The first step is take an assessment of your current supply chain. Many companies will be taking a hard look at their processes to see where weaknesses may exist. Flaws in the system will inevitably rise to the surface, but once revealed they can be managed. The second step will be monitoring forecasts as well as planning future shipments. Your organization will be doing a lot of planning in the coming months, but one area that will never change is the importance of your customer service. During times of uncertainty, your reputation will become more important than ever. Customers need to know they can trust your company and that your products won’t arrive damaged at their warehouses. The third step is to work directly with a trusted carrier in structuring your supply chain. Shopping online with freight brokers doesn’t provide you with the expertise needed to build a resilient supply chain. It reduces your freight to nothing more than a transaction and puts your hard earned reputation at risk.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of building a resilient supply chain. We know how much your reputation matters and endeavor to ensure excellent customer service for your customers. We’re working hard with companies on both sides, making phone calls to ensure companies are open and that they have the staff capacity to accept their freight. We’re in constant communication with our customers to ensure they’re getting the custom carrier solutions they need to keep their supply chains resilient, no matter what happens next. To see what solutions we can provide for your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Managing Scarcity in Times of High Demand

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make life more difficult for everyone across the world, but it seems that people have started to adapt. When it comes to the supply chain, this ability to adapt has always been extremely important, especially as companies work together to deal with scarcity and demand spikes. The shutdown of certain industries have left some supply chains in unideal situations, but this has shown the essential need for open lines of communication and collaboration between manufacturers and supply chain partners.

Whether checking with a warehouse to confirm working hours or letting a customer know immediately about a truck breakdown, it is vital to communicate quickly and effectively in order to keep products moving. GPS tracking and online systems are nice, but nothing will ever replace the power of a live conversation. Customers like to know that their carriers are thinking about them and that there is somebody willing to work with them rather than just moving freight and collecting a bill.

The communication doesn’t end with tracking a shipment. Partners in any logistics relationship should be transparent about their current staff capabilities and manufacturing limits. In the end, we are all in this together and should treat each other as equals throughout the life cycle of any shipment. While we believe this should always be the case, the COVID crisis has shed a little more light on the need for functional partnerships in the transportation world. If one positive comes of this, perhaps it will be strengthened relationships between manufacturers, suppliers, and carriers.

At Zip Xpress, we believe in the power of partnerships and treat every shipment as though it were our own. During this time we’ve worked with every member of our supply chain, making calls to ensure deliveries can be made and that companies are open. We understand that our customers and their customers need to know they can be counted on, especially during these uncertain times. To see how we can help with your supply chain needs, start today with Zip Xpress!

COVID’s Dangerous Impact on Trucking Revenue

When it comes to essential industries, logistics is one of the most important. Without freight moving across the country on a daily basis, people would not be able to easily purchase vital goods such as food, clothing, and medications. Logistics companies are responsible for bringing in goods such as medical devices, personal protection equipment, and hospital beds, and it becomes even clearer that we need trucks on the road now more than ever. Unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of the overall shortage of freight.

Many freight brokers, realizing that non-essential industries are shut down and that there is less overall freight available, are charging shippers the same but giving carriers rock bottom rates who now have fewer shipments to choose from. It’s not uncommon to see shipments being offered for less than half of the fair market rate. However, the costs of maintaining a truck and running a trucking company have not gotten any lower. If such practices from brokers continue, many drivers will not be able to afford to make their payments, and carriers would be forced to shut their doors.

It should be clear why this is a dangerous precedent to set. There is already a shortage in truck drivers, and if we lose a significant number more, shippers could experience major capacity issues in the future. This would lead to an overall increase in rates over time, as well as a strained supply chain across the nation. It is important not to be short-sighted when evaluating your shipping rates, as a stark decrease now could be offset by higher rates and fewer options in the near future. Shippers can help stop such practices by seeking out and working directly with carriers to build mutually beneficial relationships in order to minimize volatility and maintain some level of stability during these trying times.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that you want certainty during uncertain times. We understand that shippers partnering with carriers is the best method of navigating this pandemic, because we’re all in this together. Partnering together will ensure better service for your freight and an optimized supply chain. If you’re in need of a carrier to partner with, we can provide you with custom carrier solutions that will work for your business and ensure your supply chain will continue to run smoothly. To see how, start today with Zip Xpress!

Truckers: The Other Heroes of COVID-19

There is a branch of heroes that aren’t being talked about every night on the evening news as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare and retail workers deserve to be in the limelight due to their constant exposure, but it’s still important to recognize the contributions of the brave truck drivers who are working around the clock during the outbreak. Were it not for truck drivers, our retail shelves would be empty and medical supplies wouldn’t reach the hospitals in dire need.

When the COVID-19 pandemic was underway, truck drivers came out in droves to help ensure supplies were replenished after people rushed their local grocery stores and stocked up. The Federal Government even lifted the ELD restrictions of driving 11 hours a day so long as they were transporting goods such as: medical supplies, food products and other materials deemed as critical. The significance of this was that many drivers started working 12 hours a day or more to ensure these deliveries were made, often weeks at a time. They’re taking time away from their families to be out on the road, and logistics is proving that it’s one of the most essential sectors of the American economy. Many of these humble heroes are honored to be moving these products across the United States – it’s one of the reasons why they became a driver in the first place.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of the truck driver’s role in the supply chain. We know what they’re giving up by being out on the road and we seek to give them the recognition they deserve. The importance of truck drivers cannot be overstated and we hope that this will inspire a new generation of drivers to get behind the wheel. We know what heroes these drivers are and their dedication is nothing short of heroic. We wish all of you drivers the very best and that you return to your families safe and sound.

A Look Ahead: Quarter 2, 2020

With only 3 months of 2020 finished, we can say this has been one of the most unpredictable years in recent memory. The world economy has slowed in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, and there are many uncertainties that lie ahead. With many industries dealing with employees working from home many wonder what the lasting effects will be as our economy continues to move forward into the next quarter.

Fortunately freight and transportation services are considered essential for the US economy. People still need to eat, take medicine, and use infrastructure, so there are always going to be trucks on the road delivering these goods. This ensures that shipments are less likely to be interrupted, although companies in luxury and entertainment may have to wait for their freight to be shipped. We believe that many industries will see spikes in demand in the upcoming quarter, so truckers, warehouses, and logistics firms will be needed more than ever.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that there is a lot of uncertainty and concern during this time, but we know that everyone working together – businesses, government agencies, and individuals will help provide relief for the most at-risk. Transportation is still going to be needed and there are many stories of local heroes doing their part to get critical supplies to those who need them. It is during uncertain times that companies will turn to those they can rely the most upon – rest assured Zip Xpress is ready to help you navigate through. We believe that all logistics companies will rise to the occasion and show how invaluable they are to the US Economy. We’re more than ready to do our part. To see how we can help you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Training New Truck Drivers

Driving a truck may be one of the most humble careers as well as a highly lucrative one that offers many advantages over more traditional jobs. It requires certain personality traits, as there are long stretches of time where one will be away from home, navigating the expansive highway system and visiting multiple cities in a matter of days. While some people have no desire to take on such a job, there are many others who enjoy the freedom this career offers them. In order for new drivers to enjoy the fruits of this career, each one will need to be properly trained to face the challenges of this new career.

Driving trainers must be patient with their new recruits, as they require a lot of seat time and driving hours before they can tackle the job on their own. This means spending a lot of time together on long-haul jobs and staying attentive even during the most mundane stretches. For new drivers, an unpleasant trainer can turn them off to the job for life, so it is important to employ personable, knowledgeable drivers who are willing to take others under their wing. New drivers will need to also understand that they’re representing both the shipper as well as the carrier and that the final delivery is vital to a customer’s overall experience. As with every job, attitude is everything.

Training isn’t just about learning the technical skills involved with driving. New drivers need to become conditioned for life on the road. Most people can’t just be thrown into a cab and expected to tough it out on their first run with no experience. Taking a gradual approach and allowing the new driver to slowly adjust to long hours can go a long way in preparing them for life on the road. It is important for them to see the challenges that they will face and to understand how to address them. They need to see the importance of representing multiple shippers and carriers. As such, there’s a need to recognize that this job is of crucial importance from a customer service standpoint. They also need to see the benefits of life on the road, of the adventure and freedom they’ll experience as they see the beauty of our nation.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that only the toughest can become drivers. We know that we need to focus on the human aspect of recruiting new drivers. There is a learning curve so mistakes will be made, but it’s important to maintain a tolerant and respectful work environment for new drivers. Driver retention is only becoming more important so helping new drivers establish confidence in the beginning of their careers will ensure that they’ll log more miles for everyone in the future. To see how our team of dedicated professionals can help your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Recycling the Supply Chain

Manufacturing and commerce are vital parts of worldwide progress, but now companies are paying more attention to the environments they do business in. Excessive waste and pollution which caused many environmental catastrophes forced companies to reevaluate how they were treating the environment. Now people are holding companies to higher standards and manufacturers led the way in many sustainability efforts, from reducing energy usage to recycling and reusing material during production. While this wasn’t necessarily convenient at first, it has become extremely important and has led to an entirely new approach in the supply chain.

Any company that makes products uses energy in a variety of forms. These companies also create waste. Today, there is a much larger focus on recycling and renewing materials rather than simply disposing of the excess. Manufacturers need to perform sound analysis to ensure that they are maximizing their output and reusing materials that aren’t part of their final products. They are also taking further steps to use sustainable packaging or – in some cases – eliminate packaging altogether. Going green has become a philosophy that affects the supply chain from the time a new product is mentioned to the time it ends up in the end consumer’s hands.

There is no “right way” to become sustainable, as new technologies and ideas are constantly being floated throughout a wide range of industries. But emphasizing clean, efficient energy usage and committing to recycling are two major steps for manufacturers when it comes to being environmentally friendly. These types of initiatives affect the entire supply chain, and it is encouraging that so many companies – both large and small – are dedicated to reducing their waste and altering their processes in such drastic ways. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, we are seeing corporations become more responsible and aware of their effects not only on the economy, but on the natural world in which they operate.

At Zip Xpress, we recognize the great contributions manufacturers are making towards sustainability. In fact, manufacturers are quite possibly the most sustainable sector in the American economy, and this will only improve as time goes forward. Yet at the same time we have a long ways to go. We start by helping companies with our Carbon Footprint Report and then devise a custom carrier solution that works for their business. To see how we can help you build a more sustainable (and profitable) supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Are Electric Trucks the Future?

There is much speculation about autonomous trucks and their role in the future of supply chains, but perhaps those conversations are skipping ahead a bit too far. There is likely a long way to go before self-driving trucks become a widespread reality. However, there is a technological advance that may be just a few years away: rechargeable electric trucks. Electric vehicles seem to make perfect sense not only from an environmental standpoint but also from an economic view. But are they the future of the trucking industry?

Since sustainability continues to be a priority for many logistics companies, electric trucks could provide great value. By eliminating the need for diesel fuel and switching to battery electric, emissions would be reduced, if not eliminated, providing a great service to the environment. They also wouldn’t have to deal with the volatility of oil prices or the wear-and-tear that diesel combustion engines must endure. The main drawback right now is whether or not innovators will be able to expand the range of the current electric truck models. As it stands, most models can only get about 200-300 miles out of a single charge. Even with the low fuel economy of a diesel truck, electric trucks have a ways to go before they can match the range of a diesel engine.

While we are still waiting for advances to be made, it seems reasonable that trucking companies might slowly switch their fleets over to electric trucks as they expand their ranges. They may begin with local and regional trucks that won’t need to travel as far to make their deliveries and hold out on the rest until the technology works in their favor. There is no definitive timeline to expecting a purely electric fleet, but it is encouraging that there is a real possibility of a cleaner, more efficient option that could provide years of benefits for logistics companies.

At Zip Xpress, it’s no secret we believe in creating a more sustainable supply chain. We can show you your impact with a Carbon Footprint Report and help you find more sustainable solutions for your supply chain. To see how, start today with Zip Xpress!

Supply Chain Collaboration

In an age where virtually any information can be accessed with the click of a button, it’s no surprise that business is becoming more transparent and more competitive. While technological advances have affected all aspects of business, there is no replacement for a human being coordinating and working on ensuring your freight will arrive on time and undamaged. Technologies such as real-time tracking, customer-accessible TMS systems, and automated inventory tracking, are wonderful, but what are you to do if such a system goes down when you’re checking the status of your order. Will you be forced to wait until it’s back online? Collaborating with all the parties of your supply chain and keeping communication channels open will ensure you know where your freight is at all times.

It used to be common for an end user to have no idea where a product was until it arrived at their doorstep. Today, this disconnect shouldn’t exist. Ideally you’re working with a carrier that will plan your shipment alongside you and keep you posted every step of the way. Some of these tools are handy, but technology will never provide your business with the custom carrier solution the way an involved human being can. The interlinking of companies across the supply chain is beneficial, since the constant communication can help ensure that small mistakes will be caught before they turn into catastrophes. No tool can help plan for success like that.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that while these tools can be helpful, nothing replaces personal collaboration with your logistics provider. We help our customers discover the right “mix” when it comes to collaborating through their supply chains. Planning alongside and anticipating the customer’s needs yields its own benefits in ways that technology can’t provide. We want to ensure you have the right collaboration for your supply chain and to discover that for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How Processes Can Create an Optimized Supply Chain

A company’s supply chain is an integral part of its overall success. Supply chains, however, are far more complex than they used to be, and it is important to have failsafe systems and processes in order to optimize the efficiency of the supply chain. A well-managed supply chain should focus on strategic supply and demand planning, procurement, and logistics in order to create a strong and effective infrastructure within the company.

There are many systems and processes that can be enacted within a supply chain, and which ones are used will depend on the size, sector, and goals of the company. Smaller companies may opt for less complex systems, but they still need to have something in place. By focusing on strategic planning, manufacturers can help alleviate the demands of just-in-time deliveries and reduce the stress caused by excess or depleted inventory.

Planning isn’t the only process that makes for a successful supply chain. It is just a piece of the puzzle. Organizations need to also focus on internal and external logistics and network optimization. By partnering with a trusted carrier that deeply understands how your supply chain can be optimized, your production and transportation worries will become a thing of the past. Your customers will be more satisfied because of the reliable delivery schedules as well as receiving undamaged product.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of systems and processes and their role in developing an optimized supply chain. All of these different systems (logistics, procurement, fulfillment, etc) require processes that lead towards optimization. Systems and processes help reduce errors and allow a company to double-check themselves every step of the way. Whether your facility has multi-tiered systems, or you’re a regional facility in need of a more straightforward plan, we can help devise a custom carrier solution that works for your business. To see how we can devise your own custom carrier solutions, start today with Zip Xpress!