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Just a few years ago, 3 to 5 business days would be considered an acceptable delivery window for online orders. Today, the expectation is closer to 24 hours or less. Call it the “instant gratification” effect.
Big companies like Amazon are in the process of developing all kinds of sophisticated, high-tech ways to meet consumers’ shrinking delivery window expectations, including pilot-less drones, floating warehouses, and even underground tunnels.
Even if these are all still years away from reality, huge online retailers still have the advantage over small businesses because they have more resources they can allocate to expedite faster delivery. But there are still a few tricks small businesses can use to speed up delivery, minimize loss or damage, and keep their delivery system both fast and efficient.
Damaged and Missing Products
One of the easiest ways to lose a customer for life is to deliver their products broken or damaged or shorting them on their order.
Any time you physically move objects from one place to another, there is a risk of damage and loss. But it’s possible to minimize this risk by using a simple solution: Doubling down on the amount of plastic wrap you use to wrap pallets.
Most in-transit damage is caused by products falling from the pallet during transport. Similarly, products that go missing are frequently found later in the back of the delivery truck because they fell off the pallet. But using more plastic wrap and wrapping the pallet all the way to the top so that all the pallets are covered can help prevent these issues from occurring.
Wrong Products Delivered
Another common problem is retailers getting the wrong products when they unpack their pallets. Often this is a picking issue. But it also can be a delivery problem as well.
Taking more time to properly pack pallets at the warehouse or fulfillment center can help with the former. But taking care to load the delivery van so that the pallets are in the proper delivery sequence can ensure drivers are dropping off the right orders at the right places. This not only cuts delivery time, but improves order efficiency and accuracy as well.
It’s also a good idea to place a copy of the invoice or order sheet inside each pallet’s plastic wrapping so that drivers can see at a glance which orders go where.
Retailers and other customers are always going to want their deliveries to be fast, undamaged, and accurate. Taking time and care can help small businesses compete with the big players even in the age of instant gratification.