Delivery process issues can occur at any stage in the shipping process. Supply chain managers, small business owners and customers alike all dread when things don’t go right in the delivery process. And with large companies offering shorter and shorter delivery times, alleviating delivery process issues helps small businesses keep up with consumer demand. To help you manage delivery process issues and meet the expectations of your customers, we dive into some common issues and how to avoid and handle them when they do occur.
This one might sound obvious, but it’s very important. If you miss the pickup time for the carrier, you will have to reschedule it. Typically, most carriers pick up shipments in the afternoons and drop off shipments in the mornings.
To reduce the risk of a missed pickup, the best practice is to schedule your pickup at least 24 hours in advance. This gives carriers plenty of time to figure out their scheduling and dispatch needs. Additionally, if you try to schedule a same day pickup too late in the afternoon, you run the risk of having a missed pickup. You can find more information about avoiding missed pickups by downloading our free Guide to Missed Pickups.
Issues with Transportation
The most common reason for transportation issues are because of weather-related delays. However, as we have all learned recently, a pandemic can cause major issues as well as capacity problems. Not being able to find and secure transportation for your shipment will cause issues. What can you do?
Have an alternative or back-up plan in place. For example, if you typically ship your freight by truck using LTL or full truckload, you could ship your freight by air or rail instead. Or you could consolidate your frequently shipped items into fewer shipments. If your shipment isn’t time-sensitive, you could wait an extra day or two to send your shipment.
Keep in mind that some transportation issues will affect all shipping methods. In that case, it’s important to communicate with your customers about possible delays, updates to their shipment timeframes and how you are working to manage any delays.
Final Destination Delays
Just like with missed pickups, delays in reaching the final destination can also happen. Final destination delays can happen for many reasons, such as weather-related problems, very heavy traffic and truck breakdowns. In addition, final destination delays can occur for internal reasons, such as not properly labeling your freight, packaging issues and not having the correct documents for cross-border shipments.
While you can’t control the weather or traffic, you can control the internal reasons your shipment could be delayed. Properly labeling your freight is very important because the carrier cannot deliver a shipment if they can’t figure out where it’s going. Double check that your label has all the correct information on it, including the correct address, names and that all bar codes are clearly printed. Make sure your shipping label is easily visible and protected from the elements, too. You can put some clear packaging tape over the label to protect it.
Remember to package your freight properly to avoid delays. Using the right external and internal packaging materials helps ensure your cargo is protected during transit and protects other shippers’ cargo as well. For more in-depth information about packaging, be sure to download our comprehensive Guide to Freight Packaging here.
Technology has allowed shipping managers and customers to easily manage and track shipments from start to finish. While technology and automation has made the freight shipping and logistics industry work more seamlessly, sometimes technology issues will arise. When that happens, it’s important to have a backup plan for this ready to go also.
More often than not, your backup plan will involve more manual labor to manage and track shipments. This will include inputting all new shipments and updating current shipments into your system once you have fixed the technology issues. Communication is key and that includes communicating with your staff and your customers. A simple one-time email to your customers explaining the issue and how you’re working on resolving it will go a long way at making your company stand out for positive customer service reasons.
Not Having a Shipping Strategy
If you don’t have a shipping strategy that addresses both the best-case and worst-case scenarios your business could face, then it’s time to start working on one now. Business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans are more important than ever because they help you mitigate disruptions to business before the disruptions occur. These plans help you identify ways to keep your business operating at its best even during times of unexpected events or disasters. In addition, these plans help you outline the steps you need to take to keep business running smoothly or to get you back to normal business operations as quickly as possible.
When you have a shipping strategy in place, you don’t have to worry about what you need to do and when because you have already mapped it all out ahead of time. Your delivery and shipping processes will continue to run a lot smoother in the face of unexpected events. Check out our blog post about business continuity plans here to get started.
Work with a Trusted Partner
Delivery process issues happen, but they don’t have to cause complete disruption. You don’t have to figure out all the ins and outs of the freight industry by yourself when you work with a trusted 3PL, like FreightCenter. When you partner with FreightCenter you get expert shipping advice, excellent customer service, access to our powerful transportation management system, help mitigating delivery process issues and more. Plus, when you partner with FreightCenter, you get to choose the best carrier at the best rate for your freight.