How to Respond to Shipment Delays

Published: 19th May 2011
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A reputation of fast delivery is a must in today’s competitive market of merchants. With the amount of stores both online and offline globally, it is crucial to have light speed shipping. The situation does arise, however, for merchandise to be subjected to random delays, especially when these items are coming from overseas. When this situation occurs, it is important to handle this delay effectively. If it is not handled correctly, a dispute could be not far away in the near future. Shipping delays are a common reason for disputes for several businesses.

Reasons for Shipment Delays

The following are possible reasons for shipment delays, especially when the goods are being shipped from overseas.

1. Complexity of Global Sourcing

2. Lack of Experience with Modern Processes

3. Port Congestion due to High Volumes

4. Increased Security Measures

5. Sharing of Different Technical Standards

6. Difficulty of Understanding Written Explanations

7. Undesirable Weather

8. Labor Disputes

9. Low-quality Research and Development. Although it is improving, it is still not at the level of the Western standards.

10. Lack of International Trade and Export Experience

11. Differences in Culture

12. Difference in Time Zone

How to Avoid Shipment Delays

To avoid shipment delays and dissatisfied customers, a business could assure the following measures are in place to encourage a smoother flow of operations.

1. Carry a larger stock and inventory of merchandise.

2. Be certain to have a backup source, even if the source may be more expensive. If it is faster, it may be more profitable in the long run.

3. Aim for expedited shipping with faster transportation modes.

How to Deal With Shipment Delays

Build effective sourcing relationships with the potential suppliers on your list.

Advise your customers of important shipment delays. This will establish your trust and loyalty with your customers. When there is a delay in shipment, it is a must to notify the customer as quickly as possible, as disputes can arise when there is a difference in delivery time than what was initially indicated. This gives the option for the customer to continue to wait for the delivery or to cancel the order. Usually, if the time frame and expected shipment date has little variance, the customer will not mind waiting, and will appreciate being notified in advance of a delay.

Always show your gratitude and appreciation for your customer’s business and loyalty, regardless of the decision.

The following is a letter sample for advising the customer of an unexpected delay of shipment.

Dear __________,

Thank you for your purchase. This letter is to advise you that due to an unexpected shipment delay from our suppliers overseas, we are unable to make the delivery on the date indicated on your purchase order.

We do expect to have the order shipped by ___________, and will hold the order for the arrival of the merchandise. The products will be delivered promptly to you, as soon as the goods are received.

We thank you for your patience in this matter, and continue to value you as a loyal customer.


Louanne previously worked as a Registered Practical Nurse and Human Resources Manager. She welcomes you to find extremely helpful work from home advice and work from home jobs at Work From Home. Remember to check out for customer service agents tips and call centre work.

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