It’s more than likely you’ve fallen victim to common disruptions that arise in the supply chain. Nobody wins when order production or fulfillment is delayed and deliveries aren’t on time. Here are some of the prevailing supply chain snags that affect us all:

Delays in the supply chain

Disruptions to the supply chain affect suppliers and customers alike. When it happens, we don’t typically consider what’s happening in the different segments of the supply chain to create those delays. But knowing where these situations occur can enhance forecasting and prevent inefficient reactive decision making.

Manufacturing or production delays

Manufacturer delays are inevitable. Production is easily interrupted by human errors like contamination or poor forecasting for demand. And even if the production team is infallible, we can still expect delays from time to time. Production requires assembly, which requires materials and machinery. So what if the machinery is faulty? Or what if tariffs suddenly impact the accessibility of material?

Manufacturers are vulnerable to countless global externalities that can impact orders in the production segment. These mishaps often launch a domino effect in the supply chain that affects all following shipping functions. That means that every provider in the segments preceding the final delivery should be prepared to react proactively so to meet the lead time.

Warehousing to door shipping operations

Warehousing delays

Suppliers use warehousing to store, fulfill and transport orders and each one of these services has individually complex operations. Warehousing delays can happen when management lacks dynamic strategies in warehousing operations. It takes a skilled team to ensure that shipments coming in and out are on schedule, inventory is accurate and order fulfillment is efficient.

A company doesn’t always store their product in a warehouse. Shipments can also be delayed during transportation services like cross-docking if orders are damaged or drivers aren’t on schedule (we talked about cross-docking, here).

Warehousing inefficiencies are typically related to technology. Mistakes are sure to happen without industry-standard cloud-based technology that allows transparency into operations and efficiency.

Shipping delays

At this point, it’s all up to the carriers and freight forwarders to complete an order. Suppliers and consumers both rely on collaborative order management to prevent common shipping mishaps in that last-mile delivery. Just like production and warehousing delays, transportation mayhem is inevitable sometimes. In addition to the things we can’t control like weather, traffic, and mechanics, disruptions are sometimes brought on by poor communication, time management, and decision making.

To sum up, here’s a quote from Justin, a FedEx Ground Driver:

“To me, the biggest thing in preventing delays is communication in every part of the process.Say a package from the warehouse – where the product is made or stored – doesn’t leave the facility on time or the truck driver decides to take a nap and misses his delivery window. That, in turn, puts the next person in line (myself) behind.

It also happens sometimes that we’re dispatched before a late trailer shows up. This kind of thing affects my route schedule and the recipient’s visibility into their shipment tracking. So if it’s a 9 AM time-sensitive delivery an hour away that is number 50 on my delivery list and I don’t leave the hub until 9 AM – you won’t be getting your package when you requested it and your tracking info isn’t going to be accurate.”

They call it the supply chain for a reason

Shipments are bound to be late if there are any operational obstructions between the initiation and completion of an order. Since unstable lead times are, at times, unavoidable, risk management in all segments of the supply chain is key to being reliable providers.

Now, the next time you see “a carrier delay has occurred,” you’ll have some insight into what could have happened to delay your order.


RTD Logistics offers risk management and proactive leadership so that snags in your supply chain can be avoided or dealt with proactively. We make sure your shipment is on time, in the right place and in the right conditions.

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