Five biggest delivery transport mistakes small business can make

Closeup hands of delivery man holding package to deliver. Courie

Delivery transport mistakes can cause massive headaches and unwanted extra expenses for small businesses which rely on parcel deliveries to function.

These mistakes are even more jarring due to current issues around rising business costs, inflation, staffing, and supply chains.

Having worked in delivery transport for 35-plus years, the most common mistakes I have seen include:

1. Parcel problems

It sounds so obvious, yet many a headache has resulted from parcels that were miss-labelled, inappropriate, broken, flimsy, or not properly sealed. A particular classic is re-using an old parcel that has multiple addresses on it, without an obvious updated destination. Then there is the rookie mistake of not protecting the item properly.

Any of these mistakes could prevent the parcel from reaching its destination, leaving you with dissatisfied customers – and grumpy delivery drivers!

2. Delivery issues

Physically delivering an item is not always as simple as it sounds. Plenty can go wrong between the time a parcel leaves your premises and the time it reaches your clients or customers. Reliability is the key challenge, having drivers you can trust, a responsive fleet, and the ability to communicate with clients quickly.

A key mistake is not having adequate proof of delivery. Another is failing to provide care for unusual, large, or fragile items – break the item and you not only face another bill, you also break the trust with your client.

The other classic mistake is when the business owner or senior managers are running around doing deliveries themselves due to staff shortfalls – owners and managers should be focused on bigger things!

3. Ignorance of costs

This is a big one, because if you don’t know exactly what you are spending, including all those pesky little costs which fly under the radar, how can you know if you’re running your fleet efficiently?

4. Over-committing to a delivery solution

A big transport mistake is going all-in on one approach, such as running your own delivery fleet. You might find out the hard way that running a fleet isn’t for you.

The same can happen for small business which over-commits to a third-party logistics provider. Rushing into a huge agreement can cause massive headaches later on if they repeatedly let you down, or if you have other problems with their service.

The best approach is generally to dip a toe in the water first. Interested in a new third-party supplier? Start small, take it slow and see how responsive they are to your needs.

5. Being inflexible

You may have the perfect system for a period of time, but things change, and if you are not flexible enough to adapt then you may be left with a transport system that no longer delivers for you. The same is true across all aspects of doing business.

Talk to Ontime about how we can help you overcome these common delivery transport mistakes.

Written by Walter Scremin, Ontime Delivery Solutions CEO.

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