Why was my package delayed in transit?

"The waiting is the hardest part," goes the classic song. We think they may well have been referring to delayed packages because of how aggravating they can be to both shipper and receiver!

While the majority of shipments arrive at their destination safe, sound and on-schedule, unplanned and unpredictable events can occasionally derail things. But what are the main causes of package transit delays? What can a small or mid-sized business do to minimize these situations? What should you do if you’re experiencing package delays in transit?

Let's take a look at some of the common reasons for package delays, how to prevent them as much as possible and how to cope when they do occur.

What are the main package delay causes (and ways to prevent them)?

Weather disruptions

UPS® and other carriers generally offer a money-back guarantee if shipments don't arrive on time. However, these guarantees are suspended if shipping delays are caused by factors beyond the carrier's control, such as inclement weather.

While neither you nor the carrier can control or completely predict the weather, you can select routes that bypass areas that are known for weather disruptions. We also recommend building in extra time for your shipment to arrive to combat packages being delayed , especially when shipping during the colder months, storms can have more likelihood of shutting down major thoroughfares.

Crunched capacity and driver shortages

Due to the ongoing pandemic, a surge in e-commerce and other factors, carrier capacity is being strained and some shipping companies don't have enough drivers.

Smaller, regional carriers are more susceptible to delays in shipping caused by these factors. Shipping with a national carrier like UPS, which has larger capacity and better driver availability, can be a good way to reduce the risk of package delays. UPS offers both ground and air transit, with the latter being faster and more less affected by driver issues.

Inaccurate or incomplete delivery addresses

This issue is almost always caused by human error and is very preventable. Besides leading to delayed package deliveries, incorrectly entered addresses can also incur expensive correction fees.

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 or common repeat shipments and it features address validation according to postal standards.

Poorly packaged shipments

Packages go on a long journey through a carrier's distribution system, including conveyor belts, sorting machines, placement on and off of trucks and more. If a shipment is incorrectly or insufficiently packaged, it could have trouble going through the system and could be damaged or returned to the sender, causing shipping delays. Check out our guide on proper parcel packaging to avoid causing these issues.

Failed delivery attempts

If a delivery isn't successful, the driver will not return later that day, but will have to come back the next day for another attempt. This delay can be prevented through proactive communication with your customer. If they know when their package is going to arrive and it requires someone to sign for it, they can ensure that someone will be home or can create an alternative drop-off plan.

Learn more about the options available for UPS signature required package deliveries.

What if my package was still delayed in transit?

Sometimes, even if you've taken every possible precaution, transit delays can still happen. If you've been tracking the shipment through a TMS like SpeedShip, you can get ahead of the situation and quickly communicate with the impacted customer. Tracking your shipments in real time allows you to let the customer know about package delays before they find out on their own, and also potentially send out a replacement package sooner.

Solutions to help you combat shipping delays.

If you need assistance with making a "Plan B" in case of package delays, or any other aspect of your shipping operations, give the dedicated shipping logistics experts at Worldwide Express a call at one of our many locations near you. Our decades of experience and relationship with UPS can make all the difference in your business's shipping success. Schedule a complimentary, custom shipping consultation today!