Three Tips to Avoid Shipping Delays & Dock Congestion

December 15, 2019

There are some people who say that places like Atlanta and Los Angeles have some of the country’s worst traffic.

But that’s only because they haven’t seen the long lines of trucks idling outside many fulfillment centers’ receiving areas during peak season.

Shipping Delays Affect Fulfillment Center Efficiency During Peak Season

Sound familiar? It should, because truck yard congestion is a problem for many eCommerce companies at this time of year. And if you don’t think that’s a serious issue, think again – because long waits for dock doors can quickly add up to freight that’s delivered late, which can rapidly put your company’s fulfillment efficiency behind the power curve.

The question is, what can you do about the problem of long trucking lines this peak season, and how can you prevent it from becoming a recurring holiday tradition?

Three Tips to Avoid Shipping Delays & Dock Congestion

For starters, take a good, hard look at your receiving hours. Did you extend them to account for the extra holiday traffic that would be passing through your truck yards? Just as important, did you extend them enough? That one small adjustment could make a huge difference, not just in terms of reducing dock congestion but also in accommodating any truck drivers who happen to arrive at your facility earlier than anticipated. 

Additionally, consider bumping up your average inbound order size for the holiday season, opting for larger, less frequent deliveries – or encouraging your suppliers to consolidate their shipments to you whenever they can. It may increase your inventory carrying cost or storage expenses by a bit. But it will significantly streamline the volume of traffic headed into your facility.

Last but not least, give some thought to increasing your safety stock levels next year. After all, if more of your inventory is already in place before the holiday rush begins, you might not need to bump up your holiday receiving volumes as dramatically. And that in turn, will free up more of your dock space for those last-minute inventory replenishment needs you didn’t see coming.

Needless to say, we have plenty more ideas. But we don’t want to overload you, especially not at a time when you’re already overloaded. So if you’d like to discuss this topic further, send us an e-mail or give us a call. 

Ask the Experts

Meanwhile, here’s hoping that your holiday season has been merry and bright so far – and that it continues to be the most wonderful time of year in terms of your sales and your customer satisfaction. 

Read other blog posts from this 12-part series entitled "The 12 Days of Peak Season":

Day 1 of 12: Some Shoppers Who Wanted Shipping Free (The Problem Of Low-Cost Shipping)

Day 2 of 12: Two Urgent Moves (The Challenge Of Fast Holiday Shipping)

Day 3 of 12: Three Missed Bins (The Problem Of Inaccurately Filled Orders)

Day 4 of 12: Four Appalling Words (The Challenge Of Late Or Delayed Shipments)

Day 5 of 12: Five Broken Things (The Problem Of Damaged Shipments)



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