What Causes Delivery Delays?
They said Tuesday.
You called them Tuesday. Then they said Wednesday. You called them Wednesday. You got it on Friday.
Delivery delays can be a serious headache. Not just causing frustration, but delays in fulfilling promises to your customers.
If it’s a personal order you waste time and productivity sitting around while things don’t come.
Understanding some of the most common reasons for delays can be the first step in combatting them and keeping your productivity where it needs to be.
Here’s our guide to the top 5 reasons for delays, and how to overcome them.
1. Peak Time Deliveries
In many businesses, the time before and around the holidays is nuts. Delivery companies are no exception.
With more and more consumers buying their gifts, and everything else, online, couriers have never been busier. Companies do try to factor this in and make arrangements to deal with it.
However, as was seen last year with Amazon’s shipping partner around Christmas, many delivery centers are simply overwhelmed with the volume of packages they have to process.
It’s a headache, it takes forethought, but as much as possible, plan well ahead to avoid peak times.
Although an occasional last-minute order may be inevitable, try to think a few months ahead and highlight peak times on your calendar when deliveries may slow. This will keep productivity high and disappointment low.
2. Incorrect Customs Paperwork
With international shipping, if the vendor misses a detail or two off the customs declaration you’ll face major delays.
The value and type of the goods are the most common issues, as the receiving country needs to ensure that all relevant taxes and duties have been paid.
Be careful with deals from abroad that seem too good to be true – the dream may turn into a nightmare if you are stuck with a hefty bill from customs.
Check with the vendor before placing the order what they will be declaring to customs and whether it’s in line with your expectations.
Supply them with any additional details needed ahead of time and ensure that they put an accurate value and description on the goods.
Also, check locally and with the vendor for who is liable to pay any taxes and duties that may be levied when your good finally get to you.
Everybody along the chain needs to buy into this chain of accurate information, so follow up to make sure that your information will be passed on to the next link in the supply chain.
3. Manage the Supply Chain
If you are a business dealing in bulk shipments, then there can be a disconnect between your requirements and the capacity of every link in the supply chain.
Imagine you order a large shipment of t-shirts from a supplier in New York to be air freighted to LA. Clearly, there needs to be capacity at both ends of the journey for the order to be stored while awaiting transit.
A communication breakdown could occur between customer and supplier if these factors are not taken into consideration when agreeing on delivery timescales.
Especially with relatively small and medium-sized orders, priority may not be given to them. This can lead to a temporary breakdown in the logistical chain and delay occurring.
Build relationships with your suppliers.
When placing orders, talk through the logistics of the delivery with them. They may feel that that is their concern, but if it’s going to affect delivery timeframes, it’s very much your concern as well.
Work together to identify potential hold-ups and discuss how to overcome them. It may be that once likely hold-ups are factored in, a supposedly slower method of transport becomes the faster option.
The key is communication and lots of it. Never be afraid to ask awkward questions early in the process – it can save a lot of grief down the line when delivery delays kick in.
4. Monitor the Climate
By climate, we’re talking political, not meteorological here.
Trade union standoffs, strikes and unrest can quickly cause delivery delays to mount up, leaving you not knowing when you’ll receive your merchandise, if ever.
Whilst no one can see the future, it can pay to keep your ear to the ground and listen out for potential rumblings.
Monitor industry specific websites and news feeds to keep up to date with the latest threats of action. If you’re worried that they will result in delivery delays for your company, be prepared to make alternative arrangements.
5. The Actual Weather
Goods being shipped from overseas can be particularly prone to delays due to seasonal weather conditions.
Certain shipping lanes and ports are affected by typhoons and tropical storms which can add considerable time to journeys, or delay them from setting off.
Within the country, it might be sunny in Arizona, but your supplier in Wisconsin might be knee deep in snow. Road hold-ups can mean that your shipment gets stuck before it even gets started.
If you’re considering placing a priority order, check the weather.
If there are weather warnings out that might impact on delivery times and logistics, take the safe route and either hold off or choose a supplier who is more likely to deliver the goods on time.
Also, make sure that you are using a quality nationwide courier service who can handle your requirements.
The Takeaway – How to Avoid Delivery Delays
It might not be foolproof, but trying a few of these suggestions could help you to cut down on the number of deliver delays you experience.
Especially when you have crucial orders that are time sensitive, it pays to do some extra homework on the weather sites, trade union boards and shipping lanes to make sure that your goods will arrive when you need them.
For peace of mind, make sure you work with a courier company you can trust and have great logistics.
Need it Now Delivers are specialists in all aspects of shipping from air freight to warehousing and last mile home delivery.
Click here to check out the great services we have for you and your business.