ASCAL Institute

delivery performance

10 Ways to Improve Your Delivery Performance

Delivery is the most important task of any trading or manufacturing business. If you cannot deliver effectively, your business will struggle to survive. This fundamental business principle applies whether you deliver e-commerce packages to consumer’s homes, pallets of goods to retail stores and warehouses, or components and raw materials to production lines. Your delivery performance affects two key facets of your business: Customer Satisfaction and Operating Costs. Every business must strategically understand and achieve the levels of responsiveness and efficiency (service and cost) that its targeted Customers expect. Here are 10 areas to consider if you wish to improve your delivery performance:
  1. Review Your Subcontractors
For those who outsource their deliveries, consider changing carriers if the current one is not up to scratch. But beforehand, ask yourself two questions – did I make my delivery performance expectations clear to the carrier in the first place? And did I ask the impossible of the carrier, without helping them to help me (eg Did I share forecasts)?
  1. Consider Alternatives to the Traditional 9-5 Home Delivery
For those delivering direct to consumers, are there multiple proactive communications sent to the customer prior to delivery notifying them of their delivery time? Most people are out and working during the day. Can you deliver in the evening? Can you deliver to local stores or a digital locker system in the area?
  1. Consider Crowd-Sourcing
Since the success of Uber, there have been numerous startups of similar platforms offering local courier deliveries and large volume/long haul transport services. Consider using these, as they are usually convenient and inexpensive.
  1. Look Upstream
Analyse your delivery successes and failures to see what is working and what is not working, and then seek to understand why. This includes looking well upstream in your supply chain to see if there are issues upstream that cascade down to your transport. These may include:
  • Upstream delays
  • Lack of planning
  • Lack of contingencies and mitigation for when things go wrong
  • Not considering time-of-day issues
  • Lack of communication
  1. Focus on One Problem at a Time
Don’t try to solve all your problems at once. Analyse and find the cause of your biggest problem. Devote all focus to fixing that one problem completely. Once fixed, your second biggest problem now becomes your biggest… fix that one, and so on.
  1. Focus on People
Throwing money at a problem will not necessarily fix it (research has shown that the best automation cannot replace good management). Perhaps good leadership, training, or morale boosting will provide big improvements.
  1. Look After your Drivers
Take good care of your Drivers; they are the custodians of your assets; the last contact point with your customers; a great source of pragmatic thinking and initiative; a unique and valuable source of intel on your customer, market, and competition.
  1. Look for Waste
Look at what erodes your margin; Detention, demurrage, returns, damages/shrinkage, re-delivery, waiting time, inefficiency (such as poor routing, unused capacity, empty running, wrong transport mode, etc)
  1. You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
Do you measure your performance? Are you using a relevant metric? Is it calculated quantitatively or qualitatively? Its easy to manipulate subjective data if you don’t like the outcome, but cold objective data is much more difficult to misinterpret. Eg. Understand a customer’s expectations, then measure to determine if you are meeting that expectation.
  1. Continuous Improvement
Do you have a continuous improvement culture? Even if you are the best today, you will quickly fall behind if you are not continuously innovating and improving your services and performance. Continuous Improvement is NOT a project or a program. It is an ongoing discipline that becomes deeply infused into the organisations culture.