In general, shipments are late because inventory is unavailable to fulfill the customer orders. This indicates that there may be an issue with materials planning, manufacturing output, or misestimated delivery dates. Late shipments can lead to customer dissatisfaction and lost revenue making this an important issue to address. Adding additional shifts and utilizing manufacturing and materials planning tools and process are ways to ensure there is enough supply to meet customer demand.  

In situations where operations have already been streamlined, here are some ways to bolster customer satisfaction and retain customers: 

  1. Communicate with your customers. Let customers know in advance when shipments will arrive late. This will allow them to adjust their planning systems and advise their customers. 
  2. Offer free or discounted shipping. In situations where an shipment is late, offering free or discounted shipping on a subsequent order may keep you from losing a customer. 
  3. Provide shipment tracking. Providing shipment tracking information will keep customers informed about the status of their order and advise their customers accordingly. 
  4. Partner with suppliers near your major customers’ locations. Shipment from warehouses near customer locations will help to minimize time in transit and reduce the number of late deliveries. 
  5. Provide offers and discounts. While not ideal from a profitability standpoint, providing offers and discounts on future orders may offset some of the ill-will caused by a late shipment. 

You can mitigate the effects of reduced customer satisfaction by putting customer retention practices in place and helping your customers understand the problems you’re facing and the solutions you are implementing.

If you are upset about losing customers because of late shipments and would like assistance, please call us at (310) 539-4645 or visit