5 Tips for Small Businesses to Deliver On Time

On time delivery is a critical measure of a company’s efficiency and service in any industry. In today’s dynamic world, customers want to have their goods it right here, right now. Therefore, the final touch point in the supply chain represents your ability to fulfill your customer’s needs efficiently. It’s important for small businesses to deliver products on-time, as a good reputation is essential to their bottom-line.

Small Business Owner

Regardless if you’re shipping to customers or businesses, delayed shipments are damaging. Late deliveries slow down supply chains and hurt customer relationships. In fact, 70% of consumers may not shop with a retailer again after receiving a late shipment, and 86% of consumers say their expectation for on-time delivery increases in peak seasons like the holiday shopping season.

With more competitors appearing at the market and increasing customers’ demands, high-level service is no longer optional. If you don’t adjust to the needs of the market, you will fall behind. There are many ways for small businesses to provide on-time shipping and deliver positive customer experience to their audience.

How to ensure on time delivery?

1. Analyze Internal Processes

Are some of your inbound materials consistently delivered late or damaged? Are you delivering late to one of your customers more often than the others? Sometimes suppliers, customers, and freight carriers cause late deliveries. With the visibility you gain from a TMS, you can pinpoint which partners in your supply chain are causing trouble and work with them to fix it.

2. Estimate Dwell Time at Your Facility

The way you ship items may be slowing down the transportation process and causing late deliveries. Dwell time, or how long a driver has to wait at your facility or location, is very important. If dwell time is too long, it may force the driver, due to hours of service rules, to take an extra day to arrive at the destination. Long dwell time will decrease a driver’s willingness to haul your freight, leaving you to work with carriers that have a bad history of drivers and trucks out of service.

3. Create Visibility into Freight Movement

Small businesses normally ship through the less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping mode. Although LTL shipping is convenient and fast, you are particularly sensitive to delays. LTL trailers are filled with multiple loads from different companies, so the route is longer, and more freight handling is required, which leads to a higher chance for damage. When you ship LTL, avoid delays and damage by ensuring there is a track and trace feature available, so you can keep an eye on your freight. It is also useful to properly schedule shipments, considering small disruptions that can cause delays.

4. Lean on 3PL Expertise

Small businesses mostly rely on themselves in every aspect of the business. However, this may be a problem as it becomes impossible to control everything and demonstrate good results. To eliminate shipping delays and other disruptions, businesses outsource some of their logistics operations to third-party providers (3PL’s). 3PL’s have proprietary technology and a large carrier capacity to put to work for you. This enables visibility into transportation and some of the lowest linehaul rates on the market. These carriers are pre-qualified for safety and security, so you will experience less frequent disruptions. A 3PL’s expertise will help you increase shipment speed, reliability and reduce costs. Also, it will take care of transporting your goods while you focus on core competencies.

5. Always Inform Customers of Late Delivery

While warning customers of an anticipated disruption won’t stop the shipment from being delayed, it can mitigate the negative impact on reputation and perceived service. Having track and trace features from a TMS will enable you to warn customers of late delivery. When your customers are made aware of a delay in shipping, they can make plans to notify their customers and/or prepare to receive the shipment at a different date, reducing the inefficiencies on their end.

Ultimately, a good planning strategy and tracking technology will most benefit companies who want to ship faster. Analyzing processes will help you understand the gaps and, therefore, will lead to the results.

Are you a small business interested in shipping with PLS? Get a freight quote today!