On-time freight delivery is essential to the success of any business that ships goods. On-time performance can lead to lost customers, missed opportunities, and damaged relationships.

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the challenges of delivering on time to help you improve your on-time performance.

Delivering on Time: the Challenges

On-time delivery is a complex and challenging task. Many factors can impact the on-time delivery of freight, including weather, traffic, accidents, carrier delays, and shipper errors.

When one or more of these factors cause a delay, it can have a ripple effect that impacts the entire supply chain.

Why Do So Many Companies Have Such Terrible on-Time Performance?

Many factors can cause poor on-time performance. Some of the most common include:

  • Weather: Extreme weather conditions can impact all modes of transportation, making it difficult or even impossible to deliver freight on time.
  • Traffic: Road congestion can delay ground shipments, while airport delays can impact air shipments.
  • Accidents: Car accidents and train derailments can block roads and railways, preventing freight from reaching its destination on time.
  • Carrier Delays: Late or cancelled flights, missed connections, and equipment problems can cause carrier delays.
  • Shipper Errors: Incorrect addresses, missing documentation, and improper packaging can cause delays at multiple points in the shipping process.

Transit Solutions to Ensure Timely Deliveries

Many transit solutions can help you improve your on-time performance. Some options to consider include the following:

  • Domestic Air: Airfreight is generally the fastest mode of transportation available. It may be worth paying a premium for airfreight to ensure your shipment arrives on time.
  • Expedite Shipping by Land: Ground expedite services use express lanes and other methods to avoid traffic congestion and reduce transit times.
  • Guaranteed to Arrive on Time: Time-definite services guarantee that your shipment will arrive by a specific time for an additional fee
  • To Be Delivered by/Between: These services guarantee that your shipment will be delivered by or between certain days for an additional fee.

Solutions to Meet Your Operational Deadlines

If you need to meet your delivery deadlines, it’s time to take a closer look at your operation and see where improvements can be made.

Several operational solutions can help you get your deliveries back on track:

  • Updating Your Distribution Strategy: One way to improve on-time delivery is to revise your distribution plan. This may involve changing the order in which products are picked or adding additional shipping lanes.
  • Improving Your Loading Processes: Optimising your loading processes is another way to improve on-time delivery. This may involve changing the order in which products are loaded onto trucks or adding additional loading docks.
  • Prolonging the Lead Time for Restocking: A third way to improve on-time delivery is to extend the lead time for replenishment. This may involve changing the frequency with which orders are placed or extending the lead time for suppliers.
  • Carrier Evaluation: A fourth way to improve on-time delivery is to evaluate your carriers. This may involve changing the type of carrier you use or switching to a different carrier altogether.
  • Automating the Shipping Process: Automation is key to achieving efficiency in your shipping process. Automating tasks, such as order entry, pick and pack, and labelling, can help reduce errors and ensure shipment accuracy.
  • Optimising Your Inventory Levels: Managing inventory levels is another way to improve on-time delivery performance. Investing in an inventory management system can help you keep track of your stock and replenish items as needed.
  • Enhancing Your Route Planning: Having an efficient route planning system is also essential when it comes to on-time deliveries. A good system should consider traffic, weather, delivery times, and customer locations to optimise routes and reduce delivery times.
  • Improving Warehouse Layout: The layout of your warehouse can also have an impact on on-time performance. Ensuring the most efficient product flow through your facility can help you improve productivity and reduce errors in order processing.
  • Investing in Technology: Finally, investing in the right technology is essential for improving on-time delivery performance. This might include investing in a warehouse management system, route optimisation software, or an automated order fulfilment system.

These solutions can help your company improve its on-time performance and ensure that orders are delivered as expected. By making the right changes and evaluating your processes, you can ensure that your customers always receive their orders on time.

Also, by making small changes, investing in technology and staying organised, you can ensure your customers are happy and that your business remains competitive. Achieving on-time delivery is essential for any successful business, and these tips can help you ensure that your deliveries meet customer expectations every time.

Informing Your Customers of Their Goods’ Estimated Arrival

In addition to improving your operations, it’s also essential to communicate delivery expectations to your customers. This can be done in several ways, such as:

  • Creating a Delivery Buffer: One way to communicate delivery expectations is to create a delivery buffer. This means adding an extra day or two onto your stated delivery date so that if there are any delays, your customer will still receive their order on time.
  • Differentiating Your Business with Visibility Tools: Another way to communicate delivery expectations is to invest in visibility tools. Several software platforms allow you to track shipments in real time and share that information with your customers. This gives them peace of mind knowing exactly when their order will arrive.


On-time freight delivery is essential to the success of any business that ships goods. By understanding the challenges involved and implementing the proper transit and operational solutions, you can improve your on-time performance and keep your customers happy.

If you’re looking to improve your on-time delivery performance, contact us today. We can help you evaluate your process and find the solutions you need to ensure that your deliveries meet customer expectations.