What Happens When There’s a Delayed Shipment

angry and frustrated truck driver pointing at his watch.

Driving to and fro across the country provides a wealth of sales and production, but with so many suppliers, customers, and a shortage of truck drivers, there are bound to be occasional delays. Delayed shipments in truck driving are similar to delayed shipments when ordering something for yourself. Some hitch along the way has caused an additional stop or pause in movement, meaning a slower arrival time for you. How can truck drivers deal with a delayed shipment, though? What happens when there’s a delayed shipment? Keep reading to find out what causes delayed shipments, how you can help prevent them, how they affect the rest of the shipping and truck-driving community, and what to do while you wait for a delayed shipment to arrive. 

When Do Delayed Shipments Occur?

Delayed shipments can occur at any time, unfortunately. They can happen if there are any of the following: 

  • Extreme traffic on the highways and interstates, 
  • Plane carrying shipments to another location is delayed, 
  • Someone becomes sick and is unable to come to work, 
  • Extreme weather, 
  • Customer tastes change, and shipment types change, 
  • Lack of or broken equipment, 
  • Unpredictable occurrences, such as the Suez Canal blockage in 2021, 
  • Customs issues, 
  • And many more. 

No matter the cause, delayed shipments can happen anywhere and at any time–which causes headaches for all who rely on punctual travel, whether for business or personal priorities. But is there anything that can be done to prevent delayed shipments?

How Can Shipment Delays Be Prevented?

Although some delays can’t be prevented–such as weather, travel traffic and blockages, and people calling out sick–there are some things you and your business can do to mitigate any losses and minimize their effects on the rest of your day and travel time. 

Solutions are even more straightforward than you think, too! For example, if someone is sick and calls out at work, having at least one other person who can take over in this worst-case scenario will streamline the process. You may need more funds or means to keep someone on standby, but having someone who is similarly trained can be helpful in these situations. 

Moreover, keeping apprised of the news to see consumer trends and where they’re headed, weather conditions in advance, and even political issues that may affect travel and customs will save you a lot of work in the long run. Although many delays and issues will be out of your hands, being prepared for the worst and most random things will keep you on top, no matter the circumstances!

What Happens If You Can’t Prevent a Delayed Shipment?

But what happens if you’ve done all you can to prevent delayed shipments, and they still occur? In these cases, there are a few things you can and should do to help you, your trucking company, and any customers affected by these delays. You can:

  • Communicate with your customer; make sure they know what and why there’s a delay. Communication is the best way to keep everyone happy–no one likes being kept in the dark! Even giving them a proactive heads-up that there is a possibility of a delay can help everyone’s attitude stay upbeat. 
  • Although this may not work as well for commercial supply delays, using an automated auditing service to hold shipping carriers accountable can save you time and manual labor. Automated auditing services will automatically check and demand a refund if a shipment is late, as many companies offer very narrow windows to do so. 
  • Give the customer some decision-making power! Letting the customer choose from provided options can make them feel better and guide you in the situation. Sometimes they may want a refund, but more often, they’re more likely to choose an offered discount and keep waiting for their shipment! Showing you understand the situation will put them at ease. 
  • Along those same lines, even offering special deals can compensate for delays, even if they weren’t your fault! This shows your customers that you care and acknowledge and understand that this is an annoyance. 

How Do Delayed Shipments Affect The Supply Chain?

You’ve probably heard of supply chain issues within the past few years due to labor shortages and the pandemic. So how do delayed shipments affect the supply chain? Well, think of it this way: any business is like a domino effect. If one thing does or does not happen, the next step that relies on it is also affected. 

For example, say there’s a once-in-a-lifetime concert coming up. Specialized merchandise will have been ordered in preparation for this event. But if there’s a delay caused by extreme weather or truck equipment not working, that merchandise won’t get to the event venue in time. If the merch doesn’t get to the event venue in time, there will be no specialty t-shirts for sale, meaning all those specialized goods will go to waste. So it’s essential to mitigate delayed shipments, as it can affect the cost and demand of goods, too, affecting individual businesses and the overall economy

What Can You Do While You Wait for a Delayed Shipment?

What is there to do while waiting for a delayed shipment? You don’t want to sit around, twiddle your thumbs, and wait and hope for it to arrive suddenly! Individual truck drivers can do many things, especially in a layover waiting for delayed shipments. They can explore the surrounding city, do a deep clean and organization of their truck cab, or check in with their company to see if any shorter-term freights in the surrounding area need hauling. Truck drivers should also be continually checking in with their company to receive updates on the shipment so they’re ready to go when the time comes. 

Truck driving companies can also prepare during this downtime. Although one shipment won’t necessarily stop a whole truck driving company (after all, there’s usually more than one truck driver and truck driving job in one company!), it can put a metaphorical wrench in plans. During this time, truck driving companies can look into why there’s a delay and see if they can move it along. This can involve contacting other companies and representatives or checking the news. 

Prevent Delays with TDI!

You can help prevent delayed shipments by joining TDI today! To get started with an application, contact us today to learn more about earning your CDL and joining the truck driving community. 

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