Between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020, the shipment industry dealt with 3 billion packages at once. Is the system equipped with the right tools to deal with it?
Judging by the delivery delays by FedEx, UPS, USPS, and such, the answer is not enough. Even with the hiring of seasonal workers and the added steps to prepare for it, there were still a lot of packages that didn’t arrive on time.
The volume of orders isn’t the only reason for a delay, though. If you have a package delayed in transit, it could be due to one of the following reasons.
Bad weather is one of the most common reasons for delayed delivery. It can disrupt the whole process or even a part of it, causing extended transit times. It can have a major effect on each step of the delivery in the following ways.
Storms, heavy snow, and so on can cause slow transits because of the bad road conditions. Truck drivers will have to drive slow from warehouse to warehouse. Or, they may have to wait out the weather before getting back on the road.
Highway officials might also shut down roads when necessary. In these cases, truckers will have to find alternative routes. These won’t necessarily be the fastest, but there will at least be progress.
It can be frustrating to wait for your packages due to reasons that aren’t the fault of anyone. Still, the safety of truckers comes first. Bad weather can cause poor visibility, traction issues, and a myriad of other risks.
Keeping them safe also means that packages are safe. Delayed packages will find their way to their destinations as long as the roads are safe again.
Shut Down of Terminals
In some cases, the terminals can get shut down for the safety of the facility and the workers. That means no packages will be getting out, delaying their arrival to the next warehouse and you.
Sometimes, terminals can still have limited access. Some packages can still go out but these might still get delayed.
Severe weather conditions might also cause power outages. When this happens, the freight industry takes a huge blow along with other industries.
Damage to the utility lines affects the operations of terminals. It’s difficult to accomplish some vital parts of the process without power, after all.
Even if the terminals don’t get affected by the severe weather, they may still get secondhand effects that can delay the packages. Traffic jams on highways, for example, will affect the trucks traveling on those roads.
Those trucks will be out of the capacity pool, which will cause delays in packages. Fewer trucks mean fewer packages on the road.
2. Lost Packages
Sometimes, a delivery delay is due to a lost package. In this scenario, the recipient is unsure if it’s arriving late, or never.
The package may still be in their system, but it can’t go forward to its destination because of some issues. The sender might have filled out the form incorrectly, for example. They may have also sent incomplete documents.
Without a forward or return address, the package doesn’t have anywhere to go. It gets lost in the system without a way out.
However, many things are more likely to go wrong in the courier’s shipment processes. The workers might misplace it, it might fall from the truck, or it might get stolen. The last case is pretty rare, though.
The label might also be the issue. If it’s damaged to the point that it’s ineligible, even the barcode, then there’s no other way of knowing where it’s supposed to go.
Bad printing quality can also lead to the same effect. Some labels might have faded or the print itself is hard to read or scan. If possible, it will go back to the sender, which will constitute delivery delays.
The employees themselves can mark the packages as undeliverable for many reasons. One reason is if they suspect that a package contains restricted items.
Make sure to always track your deliveries. With today’s technology, you can track shipments every step of the way. If you see an issue, you can check with the courier as soon as possible.
In general, it’s advisable to contact the shipper after the timeframe given to you has passed. Always check for proof of delivery, as well, if they claim they’ve already delivered it.
3. Failed Delivery Attempts
In this case, customers are more likely to blame. If they miss the delivery attempt, the drivers will mark it as unsuccessful.
The drivers won’t wait for the recipient for too long because this will then delay the other deliveries. They won’t often go back to the same address on the same day, so the delivery gets delayed.
This will show up in the tracking information, so you can check if this is what happened to you. Don’t worry, the driver will do another attempt on the next delivery date.
However, if you miss the deliveries several times in a row, your package might get returned to the sender. You should call the shipper as soon as you can.
Incorrect/Incomplete Delivery Address
The address on the label might also be wrong. Some of the details might be missing, which would make for a failed delivery attempt. A simple typo can result in a delivery delay.
The driver might not be able to locate the right address because of some missing details. If the address is incorrect, then the person on that address would refuse the package.
In some cases, though, the package gets delivered to the wrong address. The shipper should be the one to rearrange the transfer to you if this happens. If the package has insurance, you will also get compensation if they can’t reclaim the package.
The address can be correct, but it may still be inaccessible to the courier. Your building might need a code to enter, the access route (like the stairs or porch) might have an obstruction, or there are some other reasons they can’t access your property.
This will show up in your tracking information, as well. Contact your logistics provider to settle the issue and clarify any details.
4. High Volume of Packages
If the courier is dealing with an unusual amount of packages, you can expect some delays. This can happen in peak seasons, such as during the holidays.
The popularity of online shopping, in particular, has increased the demand for deliveries. During the holiday season, it’s expected to experience a 33% growth year over year.
Couriers are usually prepared for these spikes in deliveries. After all, it happens every year. However, the demand can still be too high, so there will always be package delivery delays.
Consumers should take note of this when planning to purchase gifts online. You should buy as early as you can to avoid the rush. If your gifts don’t get delivered on time, the courier is not to blame, especially if they delivered them within their given timeframe.
Some retailers have shipping deadlines. This lets the customers know when to order to get their packages in time for the holidays.
Aside from the holidays, some other events can trigger an online shopping craze, like the back-to-school season. Unprecedented events, like a pandemic, is also a valid reason.
5. The Pandemic
Speaking of, the number one cause of delivery delays in the past year should be the pandemic. There are two main reasons for this:
Lack of Personnel
To control the spread of the virus, whole countries and cities went on lockdown. People weren’t allowed to go out except for necessities, such as grocery shopping and buying medicines.
Many businesses shut down, as well. Those who weren’t considered essential workers stayed home.
This caused a huge lack of personnel, even in the freight industry. Although couriers are essential workers, some of the employees weren’t. This disrupted the operations of the couriers.
Moreover, the employees themselves might not want to risk going to work. Some might have quit, choosing another line of work that won’t require them to go out.
Spike in Online Shopping
People afraid of going out means they’ll turn to ways that will give them less contact with other people. One of which is online shopping.
Today, you can shop for groceries, food, medicine, and everything online. Necessities or not, your desired purchases are available on the internet, creating a huge demand for courier service. Suffice to say, this pandemic has changed online shopping forever.
Along with this change also came the increase in porch piracy. Many people still took advantage of the few deliveries that did arrive at the shopper’s homes. This may also be a reason for your package to fail to arrive at all.
Prevent Delivery Delays
Delivery days are pretty common, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent it. Make sure you always provide the correct information and that you stay ahead of expected spikes in online shopping, like during the holiday rush.
If you’re the shipper, you can also take steps to ensure on-time deliveries. Double-check the shipment information and secure your packages to prevent damage.
If you want to learn more, contact us today.