6 Big Challenges to Distribution Operations Efficiency

| Transportation & Logistics

Truck on a Highway Delivery Driver

Distribution operations play a vital role in the success of any supply chain. However, various challenges inevitably arise throughout the complex process.

Here – after speaking to our own clients – we reveal the six significant challenges in delivery operations, which impact efficiency, speed, and accuracy.

By understanding these challenges, you can be better equipped to overcome them and prioritize specific improvements that will really help streamline your operations.

And for some solutions, there’s our comprehensive guide that reveals some innovative ways to get around these problems.

1. Avoiding Truck Loading Delays

Truckloading Delivery Driver

Truck-loading delays are an enemy of efficient delivery operations. If loading is done efficiently, the positive impact will be felt further down the line.

Loading can be impacted by factors such as warehouse organization, staffing levels, equipment, and inefficient or incorrect loading techniques.

Other issues include waiting for the goods to arrive or especially heavy items can also cause delays.

2. Unloading at the destination

Efficient unloading is often hampered by manual processes, outdated solutions, and documentation issues.

Slow and error-prone processes, outdated technology, and managing damaged or inaccurate documentation can all cause problems.

This can lead to situations like congestion at the loading dock, capacity issues, or a lack of resources to unload the truck.

3. Securing Proof of Delivery

Obtaining proof of delivery (POD) at the destination is an unavoidable part of the supply chain process but can be a major cause of delays for drivers.

Typical issues include minimizing time-consuming paperwork and ensuring the reliability of scanning devices. In the latter case, outdated hardware can force the employee to resort to manual processes.

Sometimes, it can be a simple case of the right recipient being unavailable at that time. In terms of paperwork, there may be errors or issues with the POD documentation, such as missing signatures and incorrect information.

4. Stocktaking for inventory management

effective inventory management

The products have been removed from the truck and taken to the designated storage location. Then it is all about receiving the goods – scanning to check against the manifest for mistakes.

At its simplest, this is about accurate counting, a job that is as tedious to the employee as it is important for effective inventory management. As a result, without the right technology, it can be both error-prone and time-consuming.

Stocktaking can also be disruptive to daily operations leading to delays in fulfilling customer orders and increased waiting times for drivers.

5. Reordering to avoid stock-outs

In the warehouse, staff members or drivers may need to go through multiple boxes to scan barcodes to record products.

Logistics delays can impact reordering. For example, if there are delays in the delivery of products from suppliers, it can delay the restocking process and even lead to stock-outs.

Reordering also requires accurate data capture to determine the optimal order quantities and reorder points. Inventory management will be hit if this is delayed or inaccurate.

6. Handling returned goods

Return Handling

Inefficient returns handling, which involves the returned goods from customers, can waste resources and impact processes.

Challenges include addressing manual processes, managing incomplete or incorrect return information, and integrating the returns process with other systems.

Returns handling can be time-consuming if the reasons for return need to be investigated, the documentation is inaccurate or there are misidentified items.

Tackle Distribution Challenges Head-On for a More Efficient Supply Chain

By recognizing the six key challenges in distribution operations, you can take the necessary steps to address them and enhance your overall efficiency.

Don’t let these challenges hold you back – go to our in-depth guide that offers solutions to help you overcome these obstacles and optimize your distribution processes.