Missed Pickups and Late Deliveries


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Where’s the Pony?

There were once two identical twins. They were alike in every way but one. One was a hope-filled optimist who only ever saw the bright side of life. The other was a dark pessimist, who only ever saw the down side in every situation.

The parents were so worried about the extremes of optimism and pessimism in their boys they took them to the Doctor. He suggested a plan. “On their next birthday give the pessimist a shiny new bike, but give the optimist only a pile of manure.”

It seemed a fairly extreme thing to do. After all the parents had always treated their boys equally. But in this instance they decided to try the Doctor’s advice. So when the twins’ birthday came around they gave the pessimist the most expensive, top of the range, racing bike a child has ever owned. When he saw the bike his first words were, “I’ll probably crash and break my leg.”

To the optimist they gave a carefully wrapped box of manure. He opened it, looked puzzled for a moment, and then ran outside screaming, “You can’t fool me! Where there’s this much manure, there’s just gotta be a pony around here somewhere!”

– Source Unknown.

Missed Pickups and Late Deliveries are not good for anyone. It’s a dock nightmare, a purchasing nightmare, and a customer nightmare for the shipper. It’s a “customer good will” nightmare and added expense to the carrier. Unfortunately, in the carriers’ best attempts to run as lean and efficiently as possible and facing unforeseen circumstances such as a hold up at a previous location, there will be missed pickups and late deliveries.

It is very difficult to get industry metrics on these two KPIs. Translogistics has been able to use the data that is available in periodicals and its own history of data to come up with industry averages. The percentage of missed pickups and late deliveries over the past several years are as follows:




Important to Note:

  • Industry averages include on time pickups and on time deliveries, with exceptions due to weather, appointments, and other extenuating circumstances. TLI’s on time deliveries data does not include exceptions in order to reflect actual shipments that didn’t deliver on time regardless of the reason. This results in averages lower than the industry, however it holds the carriers to a higher standard.
  • TLI’s on time pickups does include exceptions such as freight not ready, called in with less than a two hour window, and other extenuating circumstances that make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make the pickup on time.

We’ve heard from carriers that one of the reasons it is difficult to get the industry data is because they don’t want to notify their customers in advance when they know there is a missed pickup or late delivery. Their experience tells them it only causes extra work and cost on their part and, most times, they can’t do anything about it anyway. We’re not saying all carriers have this same mindset, because it is flawed, however that is their reasoning.

What does Translogistics do about inevitable missed pickups and late deliveries?

We made a strategic decision to invest in technology and people that will provide our clients with as much information as possible in order for them to proactively make the right decision given the circumstances.

When TLI knows there will be a missed pickup, our CS and Logistics Departments do the following:

  1. First step is to push back on the dispatcher and provide a solution to make the pickup happen on time. For example, we ask if there will be other drivers going back to the terminal with space on their trailer that can go off their normal route to make the pickup. We ask if there is a driver scheduled to make a delivery to the same place that day, even if there is other freight on the trailer. If so, we can ask the shipper if they could off load the freight on the trailer and load their product in the nose of the trailer so the driver can then go on to the rest of his deliveries.
  2. Second step is to find other carriers in the area that could make the pickup and determine the added cost- assuming the LCP is the carrier that can’t make the pickup. *Third step is to determine from the initial carrier how much room they have on their trailer to try and pick up some of the shipments, if not all of them.
  3. Fourth step is to contact our customer or their supplier with the various options in order to make the best decision.
  4. Fifth step automatically records this shipment as a late pickup for the carriers’ KPI review. This provides the needed accountability so it isn’t easy for the dispatcher to decide to miss a TLI client pick up and they look elsewhere.

When it is discovered a pickup was missed the prior day:

  1. First step: TLI’s tracking department will alert our client immediately with a detailed email notification
  2. Second step: TLI’s tracking department will add detailed notes to the ViewPoint Tracking Module.
  3. Third step: Talk to the local dispatcher to ensure it is rescheduled, marked as priority, and out on the earliest trailer that night.
  4. Fourth step automatically records this shipment as a late pickup for the carriers’ KPI review. This provides the needed accountability so it isn’t easy for the dispatcher to decide to miss a TLI client pick up and they look elsewhere.

When TLI knows there will be a late delivery:

  1. First step: If it is one day late, it is recorded in ViewPoint.
  2. Second step: Two days late
    • Contact the carrier to determine why it is late and what they are doing to get it delivered.
    • An email is sent to TLI’s client advising them of the late delivery with the reason why it’s late.
  3. Third step: Based on the client’s response and the seriousness of the situation, do what is needed.
  4. Fourth step: The late delivery is automatically recorded for the carriers’ KPI review. It is measured as a late delivery and it is measured by the number of days late. This provides the needed accountability with the carriers so they know TLI’s clients will not accept low performance.

Since TLI has been doing this over the past few years, the perspective from clients—new and seasoned—has been “TLI’s carriers are doing terrible.” When in reality, it has been happening all along—they just didn’t know it!

This leads me to the last point: Are you looking at this data as “I’ll probably crash and break my leg.” or as “Where’s the pony?”

This invaluable data allows your shipping, purchasing, and sales department to proactively determine what to do vs. not even knowing until you get an angry call from a customer or your line goes down.

No one likes hearing bad news, but TLI’s perspective, time, and money is to help you “find the pony” in a bad situation while holding the carriers accountable in every instance so it is not accepted as “oh well, that’s the industry.”

If these two KPI’s are important to you, please contact your TLI sales representative to review them specific to you.