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May 12, 2019

Understanding Delays

A brief explanation on why delays can arise and how to avoid them


Not getting something you need can be annoying. Not getting something you need when you are expecting it, is straight down frustrating. In addition, from a client perspective, not having something arrive/happening on time has so many other consequences, like waste of time and money. It’s something like a domino effect: shipment is 4 days late, jobs are pushed back, production deferred, making a profit postponed.

There are two types of delays, the ones you can sort of choose and the ones that you have no impact on and do not really know if and why they’ll happen. In this article, our focus will remain primarily on the second type.

The first type of delay, refers to businesses that have a lot of projects on their hands. By running a quick analysis, they can see that they have an overflow of projects and might encounter delays in their work. Hence, they can “choose” what to have done on time and what will have to be delayed. In lean management, there is an actual metric that helps you understand what delays can do to your business. The metric is called cost of delay (COD) and it shows you the economic impact that delays have in delivering projects. This can be applied to so many industries, because at the end of the day delivering a project means getting your product out there on the market. COD takes into account value and urgency and it helps you prioritise.

When looking at the second type of delays, where you have little or no impact, things take a different stance. If we take the example of industrial shipping, you have the supplier who sends their goods via ocean to their clients. From the client’s point of view, things are pretty simple: I order, supplier sends and I receive. They care about receiving on time or faster, anything beyond or above does not concern them. So their expectation is to be at least on time. Suppliers however, get to see a different side, one that involves so many more parties and so many more factors that influence those goods arriving on time. We had a look at some of these factors, to better illustrate some common reasons for delays:


1.     Bad Weather
2.     Port congestion
3.     Last minute changes to the vessel, that cause additional stops
4.     Space or equipment shortage on vessels
5.    Incorrect Customs Declarations
6.     Incorrect paperwork & documents
7.     Incorrect license & certificates
8.     Seasonality
9.     Strikes
10.  Lost packages
11.  Motor vehicles problems


And these are just a few factors collected from various sources, the list could go on forever. This is to show you that there are so many little variables involved in shipping goods, that people are often not aware of. Most of these factors are controlled by a completely different entity than the person shipping you the goods. This only leaves more space for error & delays.

At the end of the day, everyone has a different perspective and procedures to adhere to.This makes for a complicated supplier-client relationship and the people who suffer most are the logistics & operational clerks. They receive thousands of angry calls and e-mails and it becomes hard to track, understand, answer and remain mentally stable. According to a study by Psychology Today, people whose work includes customer service, average up to 10 hostile calls a day and must tolerate personal insults, screaming, cursing and even threats. They are expected to find a solution and fix the situation immediately.  

While it is true that delays will always happen and on some we have no control, is there really nothing we can do to make the situation better? To maybe have a little control and knowledge and a little time to plan for delays?


1.     Plan ahead for the most probable transit time and add at least one week of delay
2.     Create an emergency stock, in case you have delays in raw materials
3.     Check and account for weather conditions, holidays, seasonality
4.     Make sure you have all the required documentation
5.     Have an emergency plan
6.     Stay informed at all times by using GOODROP


How can Goodrop help fix the uncertainty of getting your shipment on time?

Goodrop will definitely not have any control on the factors mentioned above, but will do something even better. Goodrop informs you when there is a delay and, allows you to plan accordingly. By using this technology, whether you are supplying or receiving, you get live updates on where your shipment is and you know for sure when it has arrived. There is no need to call, to use thousands of tabs to look for your goods, to send angry e-mails. Goodrop replaces all of that with a simple, secure supplier-client platform, where both parties share and see the same information.

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