The world of logistics has undoubtedly suffered more than its share of troubles since the pandemic has thrown a wrench into everyone’s plans. As this is one of the most impacted industries, losses and problems abound. However, this does not mean logistics did not have its own set of common problems well before the pandemic happened. And the most annoying was, and always will be, delays. So, let us look at the most common types of logistics delays currently plaguing the industry.
Among the most common types of logistics delays, warehouse troubles are perhaps the most infuriating. Interestingly, they do not stem very often from a disorganized warehouse. Not being able to locate your goods can happen. But that takes an extraordinary amount of bad luck. Much more common are problems caused by untrained and inexperienced workers. Due to quick turnover in such positions, it can take much longer than anticipated to load or unload goods. And, of course, when a task meant to take an hour stretches to a three or four-hour wait, you already have a severe delay on your hands.
There is very little we can do about the weather. No amount of planning or anger can help when the plane that is supposed to deliver your goods is stopped from taking off due to a storm. Or when your trucks can’t drive because they would be in danger due to low visibility or slick roads. Unfortunately, weather conditions regularly make it onto lists of the most common types of logistics delays. Thankfully, modern weather forecasts can prepare you for some of what might be coming your way. So, you will have some time to predict and mitigate the effects of delays.
Despite the industry’s best efforts to reduce the logistics carbon footprint, Land transportation is still an absolute must. Yet, it is also one of the weak links of the logistics supply chain. If your route needs to go near a major city or a busy motorway, suffering some level of delay due to congestion is almost inevitable. Unfortunately, the bulk of trucks used by the industry also makes it impossible for them to use side roads most of the time.
The many instances of trucks breaking down are contributing to financial issues already caused by the logistics costs on the rise. If your delivery truck is down for the count, there is no avoiding delays the missing shipment would cause. Unfortunately, such problems are prevalent during some of the busiest times of the year. Particularly during winter and around the holidays. The low temperatures, rising demand, and, therefore, increased amount of work come together to cause all kinds of issues for vehicles. This forces companies to deal with the repercussions of the delays and the cost of fixing their trucks.
Delayed or lost shipments
We have already discussed several issues which can all cause a shipment to be delayed. An even worse scenario is a lost shipment due to human or machine error, which would compound the issue with the need to replace it entirely. However, it must be emphasized that missing shipments themselves are then a cause for further delays. In a tragic domino effect, it quickly worsens the losses suffered by logistics companies. Unfortunately, there is not much to be done other than studying up on useful tips for dealing with shipping delays to handle this situation. To fix the underlying issue, you would have to handle every other item on our list.
Accounting or paperwork errors
Sometimes, the most common types of logistics delays are entirely clerical in nature. A simple error with paperwork causes a shipment to go to the wrong warehouse where it would then first take up valuable storage space, and then, once it cannot be located for further handling, cause a scramble to find it. The issue with this is that, while it is possible to track shipments, there are so many goods being moved by logistics companies that it can take forever to do so. And all the while, delays and monetary losses would continue to chain up.
Unfortunately, some of the most common types of logistics delays in the last couple of years center on the pandemic. And while logistics companies are continuing to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, it remains an uphill battle. Whole ports can go into shutdown. Flights can get canceled on a whim of fate. Of course, logistics companies also face the challenge of keeping their employees safe from the virus. Particularly when their jobs often require lots of travel or handling of shipped goods sometimes coming from hotspots of COVID infections.
Logistics management mistakes
Finally, delays can happen because of simple mismanagement. Taking stock of inventory can take too long. Transporters can take over goods before they have been processed. Too much stock sent to one warehouse and too little to another. It is even possible for logistics software to suffer an error and mess up the planning to disastrous results. This is why it is essential for all departments of a logistics company to regularly touch bases and know what others are up to. Otherwise, you can easily run into issues caused by your coworkers simply because they were not apprised of your plans.
Now that you know more about the most common types of logistics delays, you should be better prepared to deal with them! As long as you remember that you can only work around some of them and put proper precautions in place, mainly by giving yourself enough leeway when it comes to shipment dates, you will do fine!