While we would all like to get back to a time when delivery delays were generally within acceptable parameters, since COVID 19 there have been significant disruptions to global supply chains, which then affect local distribution leading to many delayed deliveries and uncertainties around timeframes.
COVID 19 caused lockdowns around the world which led to a dramatic increase in online shopping. This meant more B2C, D2C deliveries of smaller shipments in smaller vehicles leading to traffic congestion and not enough capacity to fulfil the online orders.
Then we had events such as the Evergreen incident, strikes, carriers pausing their pickups to deal with backlogs, Delta & Omicron finally overcame our efforts to remain covid free, which led to reduced staff available to work in warehouses and transport roles.
Nonetheless, companies who want satisfied, repeat customers need to do what they can to overcome delivery delay issues.
Provide Shipping Options
One of the best ways to overcome delivery delays is to provide shipping options for your customers so they have choice in deciding how and when they will receive their order.
In order to provide that you should firstly avail yourself of options in carrier (and service). We spoke about this in some detail in our article on Freight Management Risk Mitigation. If you have several carriers that provide a service type that you need: overnight airfreight, road express, general freight then, if one cannot service at a particular time, you can always choose from one that is currently performing well.
It is best of course if you can supply that information at the shopping cart for those purchases that are happening online via a TMS that can calculate from a range of options on both price and delivery timeframes that the customer then chooses from. If that TMS can then be altered to quickly edit a service group to not include a carrier currently underperforming or on strike for a week, then you can automate those choices so that processing orders coming from online (or via warehouse) is not slowed down.
If you have omni-channel capability, it is best if you can show that on your online store(s) as well; the products that are available via click & collect, and the stores nearest your customers that they can order this from.
Inventory and Delivery Delays
Available to Sell (ATS) needs to be activated in real time, according to how they customers are shopping. It’s best if your system can assess the closest and therefore fastest to deliver the product. Perhaps a split delivery with multiple items can be provided if coming from 2 separate warehouses. But then again, if it makes a difference in price or the shopper doesn’t want lots of carboard cluttering their house, then the option to delay shipping their order to receive all items together should be amongst the choices they can make.
Having data that clearly shows you this crucial information on carrier delivery performance is key to mitigating potential delivery delays from current service issues in your carrier network is important to assist with this. This needs to be at real time level to ensure that you can quickly pivot your strategies, both with modifying the rules / guidance within software, and in more strategic long-term methods.
Communication – Tracking and Alerts for Delivery Delays
Of course, communication is always key to creating certainty and confidence in your company’s abilities to service customers, particularly new, one-off customers that are prevalent in the B2C market. Having a system that will provide either email or SMS alerts and can record any exceptions to deliveries that have unfortunately been waylaid helps to overcome some of the issues that have been exacerbated since Covid caused such disruptions to the Supply Chain industry. It’s regrettable for you and your customer that there goods will be delievered later than expected, but at least you are updating them and they can be confident on the new timeframes for delivery.
Lastly, but definitely not least, to underpin the above-mentioned technological advancements for smoothing out these delivery delays that currently plague the industry, having access to the guidance, and knowledge of Freight Consultants who have their fingers on the pulse with what is happening in the transport market is highly beneficial in steering through these obstacles to delivery success. A Freight Consultancy can help you to pivot your tactics even prior to any data being created to alert you to an issue, getting you on the front foot, and offering industry knowledge to help guide you with any changes you need to make.
Whilst it’s a frustrating time with natural disasters like floods, Covid 19 and other issues that have impinged upon carriers’ abilities to deliver all freight to all locations in a timely manner, the silver lining to this cloud is that our abilities to foresee, analyse and curtail these issues in both a tactical and strategic manner and via technological capabilities to simplify the complexities inherent in the logistics model can provide leading companies with an edge over their competitors if they take advantage of the freight management solutions on offer.
Contact us to learn more about how you can overcome these delivery delays and keep your customers orders rolling in.