Delays along the shipping chain can be exasperating and can make a business owner feel helpless. Although many factors can conspire against a smooth shipping experience, being in the know about what they are – and being prepared to respond to them – can put you back in control.
Many shipping delays can be mitigated against before your package even goes out the door. Accuracy, efficiency and effective communication should be your primary considerations when preparing to ship goods internationally. And being prepared for hiccups along the way will help you to respond quickly and ensure your business stays on track.
Herewith, a rundown of the most common reasons for shipping delays.
Factors you can manage for:
- Documentation errors: Often cited as the most common reason for delays; pay this area the time and attention required to get it right.
- Systemic or operational delays: Inexperience or insufficient attention to detail can result in inefficient company practices. Develop policies and systems for all aspects of your business – including shipping – to insure against errors and inefficiencies.
Factors you probably can’t prevent but should be aware of:
- Technology and communication systems errors: Technology and communication plays a major role in shipping and transportation. These systems are not fail proof and a glitch could affect your shipment at any point along the shipping chain.
- Mechanical delays or breakdowns: All machines are fallible, and you may occasionally experience delays as a result of mechanical issues.
- Chances are, your shipment is traveling by multiple modes of transportation and changing hands more than once along its journey. Small glitches can be introduced along the way that could lead to delays.
- Severe weather or natural disasters, civil unrest, political instability or labor strikes could also impact international shipping timelines.
- Inspections by Customs and other government departments (OGDs) are an unavoidable fact of international shipping and can cause the occasional hold-up in your shipment’s journey.
While the majority of shipments proceed as planned, anything can happen. Understanding the process and realities of shipping and being aware of the external forces that might cause delays helps to set expectations and make international shipping as stress-free as possible.
Partnering with a knowledgeable forwarder, experienced in international shipping, can help take the headache and guesswork out of the shipping side of your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help optimize your international shipping experience.
Information provided by: Supply Chain Consultant - Cole International