Moving products from point A to point B might seem simple at first, but it requires a complex system of people and machines working together. The logistics world is one of constant motion, in which there is never a day off. Aside from a massive hurricane or blizzard, there is little that will stop the logistics industry from working. With so many people, trucks, and airplanes involved in simply moving a pair of socks from California to Maine, it is inevitable that delays will happen. We have some tips on what to do if your shipment is delayed.
After you schedule a shipment and it has been picked up, you will have documents that identify the shipment. There will be many documents to keep track of, especially if the shipment is international. Gather everything you have for the shipment, including the Bill of Lading, the packing slip, and the pickup number. Before you reach out to anyone or start investigating the delay, get all the information you’ll need to track your shipment.
The first step is to call the carrier that has the shipment. Even if you used a 3PL provider, make sure to call the carrier if you want a fast response. Calling the 3P provider adds a step to the process, so if you need immediate information, you should go directly to the source. The provider will be able to get you answers as well, but not as quickly.
All major small package and freight carriers use a web-based tracking system. Every package or pallet has a tracking number, or in the case of freight, a PRO number. Log on to the carrier site and enter the tracking number to find out where the shipment is. This method isn’t always effective because the location only updates when the shipment reaches certain checkpoints and sorting facilities. However, it will give you a general idea of where the package is.
If you aren’t getting any results or haven’t found any quality information, call your sales representative. It’s their job to make sure you are satisfied, and your products are moving on time. Give them a call so they can find out what happened to your shipment. Sales reps have better contacts and can talk to colleagues from all over the country.
No matter what happens, the most important thing to do if your shipment is delayed is to be patient. Everyone wants the same thing—to get their goods delivered. There is no nefarious plot to delay the shipment, so make your calls, check the information, and be patient. Sometimes, unexpected issues happen, such as an ice storm, a hurricane, or mechanical problems with the truck. No amount of phone calls can overcome acts of God, so be patient.
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