How to Avoid Freight Shipping Delays (and Keep Consignees Happy)
"Yay for delays!" is not something you'll hear a small or mid-sized business owner ever say. Unfortunately, there are many challenges these days to on-time freight shipping. In fact, many industry insiders feel that "peak season" is now year-round, and the volume increase around the holidays just compounds things. The ongoing capacity shortage can translate into less control over shipments and more likelihood of late deliveries. Definitely not "yay."
So where does that leave you and your vitally important business shipping? While you can't control the weather or fix capacity and driver shortages, there are definitely steps you can take to avoid or mitigate freight shipping delays.
Let's take a look at the most common causes of freight delays, and what you can do to minimize their impact.
- Capacity and driver shortages. This one is pretty self-explanatory — carriers are stretched like they've never been before, and there's an ongoing shortage of drivers that further constricts available resources. We recommend not putting all your freight shipping eggs in one basket by spreading your shipments out among multiple carriers who serve your geographic area. We also recommend staying devoted to the carriers you choose to ship with, as a fruitful, established relationship goes a long way with a carrier.
- Excessive time at your dock. Shipments that aren't packed, labeled and ready to go are shipments that sit at the dock, costing you time and money. Make sure your shipments are fully prepared to ship in a timely fashion, and that enough dock hands are available to manage pickup and delivery.
- Weather disruptions. Weather-related delays are more common during the cold months, but you can still select routes that bypass areas known for weather disruptions or plan for another mode of transportation that's less susceptible to weather delays. In addition, it's always a good idea to plan for extra time in transit, just in case.
- Inaccurate or incomplete delivery addresses. These delays are completely avoidable with just a little effort. Using an online transportation management system (TMS) like SpeedShip® from Worldwide Express will greatly minimize input errors because you can store (and easily access) account information for your customers and also have addresses validated.
- Document and bill of lading errors. Mistakes in documentation and on your bill of lading can result in costly reweighs and lost transit time for document verification. The old "measure twice, cut once" adage applies here: double check every piece of information to ensure completeness and accuracy. Putting guesses in documentation is opening a Pandora's Box of delays.
- Pickup and delivery challenges. If the carrier has to deal with unattended or inaccessible docks or entrances, inadequate dock equipment, and other similar issues, delays and extra fees are going to happen. Let your carrier and driver know any challenges well in advance of pickup, and make sure that your dock hands and consignees are ready for the shipment.
- Multiple failed delivery attempts. Repeated delivery attempts by drivers are a hugely common cause of freight delays. Minimize them by monitoring the status of your shipment throughout its journey and asking the carrier to announce the arrival time in advance. Good communication with the consignee on the shipment arrival time is critical here.
- Roadblocks caused by accidents and emergencies. As with weather disruptions, these types of delays rise during the cooler, stormier months. Many carriers use GPS technology that can identify roadblocks and reroute your freight shipping. Make sure you're working with carriers that have implemented this important tech.
What else can I do to avoid freight shipment delays?
For decades, Worldwide Express has helped tens of thousands of small and mid-sized businesses overcome challenges to on-time freight delivery. Our team of dedicated logistics experts is always available to help you navigate these tricky, capacity-crunched times and minimize freight shipping delays.
Why not schedule a complimentary, custom shipping consultation with Worldwide Express right now?
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