From July to September of this year, the reliability of international container service shipments fell from levels seen during the previous three month period, according to a newly released report.
During this year's third quarter, shipping arrivals were on time 73.5 percent of the time, down from a 75.7 percent on-time arrival rate during April-June 2012, according to maritime advisory company Drewry. While the average difference between the advertised arrival date and the actual day of delivery from July to September was 0.6 days, arrival rates are expected to worsen during the last three months of 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy and other weather-related disruptions.
However, according to Supply Chain Brain, most shippers have more than natural disasters to blame for delays along the supply chain. The report showed a late arrival time was usually due to issues such as the wrong boxes being loaded onto ships. Approximately 30 percent of all packages are placed onto the wrong transportation vehicle, Drewry figures indicated.
Supply chain management best practices
Companies looking to reverse current trends should consider using barcode tracking software and other supply chain management solutions. According to CIO.com, companies that utilize ERP systems and other solutions are far less likely to lose track of shipments, and can therefore expect their supply chain to function more smoothly. In particular, businesses may be better off sharing information, allowing all parties within the international supply chain to track shipments and share best practices.
"The supply chain in most industries is like a big card game: [T]he players don't want to show their cards because they don't trust anyone else with the information, but if they showed their hands they could all benefit," CIO.com said. "Suppliers wouldn't have to guess how many raw materials to order, and manufacturers wouldn't have to order more than they need from suppliers to make sure they have enough on hand if demand for their products unexpectedly increases. And retailers would have fewer empty shelves if they shared the information they had about sales of a manufacturer's product in all their stores with the manufacturer."
Additionally, CIO.com recommended that companies rely more frequently on automated data collection and analysis. Employees will always be prone to the occasional mistake, but that small error could have a widespread ripple effect on the global supply chain. To mitigate inevitable human error, the news source advised turning to automated data collection methods that more accurately collect relevant information.