Give Me a Break – Preventing Burnout in Logistics

As the world economy becomes more globalized and technology brings everything closer, the international market has essentially become a 24/7 operation. This is especially true on the logistics side of things, where a delay hundreds of miles away could spell disaster in a completely different time zone. Workers in the logistics sector are often on-call and expected to tackle challenges at all times of day because freight, quite simply, doesn’t stop. While hard work comes with the territory, logistics workers must be careful that they don’t end up burning out from spreading themselves too thin.

Everyone from truck drivers to accounting clerks in the logistics realms can work long hours and take on grueling tasks. But no matter what position you might hold, you should be mindful of your personal life and remember to take a step back every now and then. Don’t be afraid of taking a vacation – companies shouldn’t stigmatize you for using your hard-earned time off. In fact, a vacation can be the perfect way to escape the day-to-day stress of logistics and return to work with a fresher, more positive outlook.

If you feel yourself burning out and a vacation isn’t yet in the cards, there are smaller ways to relieve your frustrations. Even a lunch break can be a welcome change of pace. This means leaving the office and sitting down somewhere for at least a half hour. We often forget to enjoy our meals, instead rushing them back to our desk where we work and eat at the same time. After work, try to set aside at least a few hours to stay off your phone and away from your computer – this way you won’t have to think about potential problems before you fall asleep.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that burnout is a very real problem in corporate America, and the logistics industry can be highly unforgiving. Still, it is vital to take a breath and remember that you have a life to live. We try to create a culture that helps people when they need it, celebrates small victories and are always searching for ways to add enjoyment to our work. We understand that small, personal victories throughout the day can help you get through even the most hectic and stressful times because we need creative solutions to these complex problems. To see how our talented employees can provide solutions to your shipping problems, start today with Zip Xpress!

Happy Thanksgiving from Zip Xpress!

We’re so grateful for all of the people that make this company special and we hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful thanksgiving!

Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work and dedication.

Happy Thanksgiving from Zip Xpress!

A Look at 2020’s Proposed ELD Rule Changes

The past few years have seen some stark changes in the trucking industry, with many stemming from new rules and regulations. The ELD Mandate took effect at the end of 2017, and almost two years later, the industry is still heavily affected by it. Those that didn’t plan ahead and strategize were often left in the dust, but firms that made it a point to adapt are still thriving today. Those who succeeded should continue to keep an innovative mindset, as even further changes may be coming in 2020. The FMCSA has proposed some new rules that may give more flexibility to drivers if they are passed.

One of the biggest changes would be a short-haul exception that allows commercial drivers to operate within 150 miles and 14 hours without using an ELD tracking device instead of 100 miles and 12 hours.

Another proposal is to extend 2 hours of allowable on-duty time when a driver is going to encounter adverse driving conditions.

An idea for a major change to the 10-hour rule is to allow a 7/3 or 6/4 split when taking breaks rather than requiring a continuous 10 hour span off duty.

Drivers may also be able to pause their 14-hour clock once per active driving shift for up to 3 hours. This allows for time to plan routes and wait out the rush hour traffic.

All of these rules would likely be seen as welcome changes for drivers, who have been frustrated by the stringent regulations that have come with the ELD mandate. We may see an influx of drivers into the workforce as the job becomes more flexible and potentially more lucrative. Shippers might benefit from an increase in capacity which could help them run their supply chains more efficiently.

While nothing is set in stone, it will be interesting to see how these proposals are received and what developments take place if they are put into effect.

At Zip Xpress, our goal is to keep our partners informed with the latest shipping updates. We want to provide advice and guidance so that you can plan all of your shipments and they can arrive undamaged and on time. To ensure there will be no interruptions in your shipments and get the best advice on the subject, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Ups and Downs of Team Driving

Driving a truck can be a lonely, stressful job. Long hours on the road and away from family can take its toll on people, and regulations can make it difficult to make deliveries on time. Fortunately, driving as a team is something that can take a bit of the sting out of all of these things. By switching drivers when one’s hours are up, a team can deliver more loads in less time, making more money by doing so and keeping each other company while on the road. There are many husband and wife teams that travel across the country all year long and thoroughly enjoy doing so.

While it can be nice to have a companion, team driving can also lead to some tension considering the close quarters people have to share. Hopefully your partner is taking his or showers whenever they get the chance, otherwise you may be in for some long, uncomfortable stretches! And if you don’t share the same taste in music, then you both better have some good conversational skills, lest you want to drive all week in silence. Fortunately, there are some pretty nice sleeper cabs out there that can help you keep at least a little bit of distance, and noise cancelling headphones might give you some peace during your break.

While there are challenges that come with driving as a team (as with any job that requires close cooperation with another person), it has become something that many drivers prefer. The ability to log more miles in fewer days and to share the driving experience with a friend or significant other is something that many people find invaluable. The good news is that you aren’t obligated to drive as a team at all times, so you can take on your own jobs if you ever need a break.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the value team driving can bring out on the open road. Our goal is to show appreciation to all drivers out on our nation’s highways and team drivers are another method we use to ensure our freight arrives undamaged and on time. To see how our drivers can ensure your product will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Making the Switch to Logistics

The economy has seen some pretty consistent gains over the past decade, and employment has been one metric that has steadily improved. As a result, people are looking for employment that presents a challenge, offers a real chance for advancement and will be around for the long haul. That’s why we suggest making the switch to logistics. Logistics, is a relatively recession-proof industry that might provide lucrative careers for those looking to make a switch.

Many people don’t understand the scope of the logistics industry and might write it off because they don’t think they have the skills necessary to succeed in it. However, there are numerous skills that can translate well into the industry. Every logistics firm has a need for salespeople, accountants, finance gurus, and IT workers. Previous experience in the field is a plus, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to start over if you are considering switching to logistics. Universities across the nation offer supply chain courses in several capacities. An MBA in Supply Chain Management might be time-consuming, but there are plenty of shorter yet comprehensive certification programs that can be very useful and informative.

The beauty of logistics is that there are very few barriers to entry. Product will always need to be shipped, so there will always be a need for new talent. It’s a field where hands-on experience ends up being just as valuable as education, and there are hundreds of directions one can go once they start working in logistics.

At Zip Xpress, we understand how great the logistics sector can be. We’re honored to assist companies in shipping their freight and ensuring it will be delivered on time every time. We’re always looking for dedicated people to join our team, so if you’re interested in learning more about making the switch to logistics, visit our career page. And shippers, to see how we put this dedicated service to work for you, start today with Zip Xpress!

Reducing Waste in Manufacturing

These days, it isn’t just fringe, forward-thinking manufacturers that are concerned about reducing their carbon footprint. Going green and focusing on eco-friendly initiatives is now virtually a requirement to keep your business running smoothly. It isn’t just about being concerned about the environment – many manufacturers have realized that they can save money and bolster their bottom line by reducing the amount of waste they produce and minimizing the amount of energy used to create their products. There’s no doubt that this has a positive impact on the environment and on international business, and there are several things that forward-looking manufacturers can do to continue to reduce their waste.

One of the biggest culprits in the world of waste is packaging. Plastic packaging is especially difficult to recycle and often gets thrown into landfills where it accumulates at high rates. Manufacturers should focus on limiting the amount of packaging they use – especially plastic packaging – with the goal of eliminating packaging altogether if their product lines allow it. In fact, Zip Xpress encourages all their customers to set a goal of shipping without any packaging whatsoever. This contributes not only by reducing the amount of waste they are putting into the environment, but also by maximizing their truck space resulting in fewer total miles driven for delivery. If packaging can’t be eliminated entirely, companies should focus on using sustainable, recyclable, and reusable packaging.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that packaging may be the major factor right now, but there are other processes that can be improved throughout the manufacturing and supply chain process. Adopting lean logistics systems with high turnover and low inventory levels can also help prevent spoilage or obsolescence, which both contribute to more waste as plants throw out product that can’t be used. By focusing on improving inefficient processes, warehouses can lower both tangible waste and reduce the amount of energy required to make their product. To see how we can help make your processes more sustainable, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing for the Holiday Season

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and while they can be a joyful, relaxing time in our personal lives, they can be a cause for added stress professionally. This is especially true for those who are involved in supply chains, as time-critical shipments increase and capacity can become scarce. Add in last minute requests, and you have a lot of things that can potentially go wrong. This is why it’s so important for businesses to place a priority on proactive communication, and to set realistic expectations ahead of time.

Anybody in logistics knows that it is better to ask permission than to seek forgiveness. This means that you should account for anything that could happen, and communicate it with your customer, developing a backup plan just in case it does. When you have an agreed upon plan in place, you’ll have a much easier time correcting an error than if you have to shuffle to fix it at the last minute. Everybody involved in any shipment – manufacturers, wholesalers, carriers, and end receivers – needs to be aware of the additional workload that the holiday season can bring. When people are empathetic to the burdens of others, they will take necessary actions such as placing orders early to allow extra time, clearing up warehouse space when possible, or expediting shipments with team drivers.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that nobody wants to get a call about a delayed shipment as they are heading to a holiday party, and the best way to avoid this is to look at other businesses in your supply chain as part of your team. Taking the first steps in planning for adversity can go a long way in easing the transition into the holidays, and your customers and vendors will be thankful for it. After all, they likely have plans for relaxation and family fun as well! To see how we can help ease the holiday rush, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing Trucks for Winter

It may only be October, but several parts of the US are already experiencing early snowfall and preparing for potential blizzards. For truck drivers, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared, lest they caught in unexpected weather and need to shut down. From mechanical precautions to personal safety measures, there are a variety of steps that should be taken for the winter before a truck is sent on the road. Some of these simply make driving more comfortable, but others can save lives.

Test Batteries

Batteries take a lot of abuse over the summer, but can be drained quickly in extreme weather, so fall is the perfect time to test them to ensure that they are in good shape.

Check Starting Systems

The mechanisms that help a truck start are sensitive to weather changes and general wear-and-tear, so these should be checked thoroughly. Many drivers understand how they work and are able to perform a quality assessment, but it doesn’t hurt to have a mechanic check them out for some added assurance.

Ensure Proper Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Tires are a key component of safe driving at any time of year, but they become even more important in the winter. It is vital to make sure that they are inflated to the proper level and that the tread is not worn down. While new tires can be expensive, it is worth it to prevent slipping and sliding on ice, as well as to improve fuel mileage.

Add Fuel Additives to Prevent Gelling in the Fuel Line

Diesel fuel is known to gel in colder temperatures. At 32 degrees fahrenheit, the wax in liquid form will crystallize and leave the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees, it will finally start to gel and clog the tank and fuel filters. Fuel additives will also boost fuel economy, make trucks run smoother and longer. It’s a small investment that prevents many timely delays.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Every driver should have an emergency kit inside the cabin. At the very least, this should contain a first aid kit, extra clothes, non-perishable food items, flares, batteries, a radio, and water. These can be of utmost importance if the truck breaks down miles away from the next exit.

At Zip Xpress we understand the importance of reliability. This possibly more crucial during the winter months that at any time of the year due to the potential for weather delays, sudden snowstorms and other hazards that can occur. However, you’ll see that we take the time to optimize our trucks and ensure we’re checking them and preparing for the winter months ahead. Our aim is to keep our drivers safe and comfortable so they have the extra time they need to ensure reliable delivery. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How Important is the Supply Chain?

When you place a large order for your company, you may not think about what’s going on behind the scenes. You finalize the order details with your vendor and walk away, happy that you’ll be able to receive your freight within a few days. However, once you place that order, hundreds of gears start moving across the supply chain. Whether it involves robots designed specifically to locate a single item or dock workers loading up multiple pallets of goods, there is a complex system firing on all cylinders that is essential in fulfilling your order. This is true for something as small as a single box of sensitive product to an entire truckload of raw materials.

While they may not always be conscious of it, customers are drawn to manufacturers who have well-oiled supply chains that keep product moving along quickly and safely. In fact, if someone isn’t talking about their supply chain, that’s probably a good thing, signaling that they aren’t experiencing constant headaches regarding production, storage, or transit times. The best supply chain is one that works quietly in the background, churning out shipment after shipment as satisfied customers receive their product. If it is running as smoothly as possible, the end consumer shouldn’t even have to think about what’s happening throughout the life of a shipment.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that it’s essential to create a reliable, efficient and trustworthy partnership with all of our stakeholders. We understand that building a customer-centric supply chain helps grow your business and build trust with your customers. When a shipment arrives when you say it will, that’s great customer service. We believe in helping our customers ensure that every shipment arrives undamaged and on time. Our focus on optimization will help you understand just how important the supply chain is. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Product Moving

Whether your company owns your warehouse or you rent space from a third party, it is expensive and wasteful to have product sitting on the shelves for any excessive period of time. Inventory planning is an essential role in every organization’s supply chain, and should be taken seriously and evaluated regularly. The key to maximizing efficiency and maintaining a lean supply chain is to have just enough inventory ready to be shipped without running into shortages. This, of course, is easier said than done, but there are several ways manufacturers can make it happen.

Keeping track of previous trends and future projections is one of the biggest factors in planning your inventory. If you’ve maintained a steady level of growth over the past year, you’ll likely need to plan for higher stock levels in order to meet demand. With this comes your minimum inventory calculation. You want to be sure that you have enough stock to meet a customer’s demands in case of a spike in orders, but you don’t want to go overboard and have inventory sitting in a warehouse and costing money. So, this requires a safety stock level that will allow you to fulfill orders if you encounter an unexpected increase. Unfortunately, that will cost money in storage, but the key is to calculate how much money you would lose if you couldn’t fulfill customer orders and hedge against that. Even with storage fees, you’ll be more profitable if you are able to meet expectations.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of being able to move inventory consistently. Our dedicated and experienced team can help you manage your inventory and adapt with your shipping timelines. We’ll create a customized carrier solution that suits the needs of your business, so you don’t have to rely on the ad hoc market. To see how we can keep your product moving, start today with Zip Xpress!