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Kamis, 04 Maret 2010

Predict transit times and ETAs

All businesses need to know when to expect supplies to arrive, as well as know when their products will be delivered to the customer/client.


Having a clear idea of how long a delivery will take and knowing the estimated time of arrival (ETA) will allow your business to:
  • Ensure someone is on site to sign in the delivery
  • Plan staffing rotas
  • Notify warehouse staff
  • Take immediate action upon delivery (e.g. move goods to refrigerated storage or put into a high-security compartment)
  • Notify customers of when to expect their goods

Transit times

Whether you are waiting for supplies to arrive or are delivering goods to a customer, the main factors influencing your transit times are the distance being covered and the mode of transport. For example, if you are delivering pizza to a customer's house then chances are you are using a motorcycle over a short distance, with delivery expected within an hour of ordering. On the other hand, if you are importing mangoes from Chile to sell on to retail outlets across the UK, your supply chain is a lot more complicated. One small delay in the chain could have a substantial knock-on effect for the rest of the delivery and ETA.

When planning transit times, consider the following:

  • Transportation method - are you using road, rail, sea, air or a combination? Work out the average amount of time taken to complete the journey, basing this data on at least five real life examples
  • Departure point - if your supplies are coming in from overseas, then you need to factor in time differences, customs delays, 24-hour deliveries
  • Room to move - don't make your connections so tight that the slightest delay may mean that your products miss their flight, ferry, train, etc
  • Delays - all ETAs are subject to unforeseen delays, such as your transportation breaks down, heavy traffic, bad weather or delays at customs. Always have a contingency plan ready to deal with any major delays


Whether you are transporting the goods yourself or using a freight forwarder, you should be able to work out or be given an estimated time of delivery. These may vary, for example, the delivery may arrive:
  • Between 14:00 and 15:00
  • In the morning
  • During business hours
  • In the next 24 hours
  • In the next three days
  • Within the next 14 days

It is up to you to negotiate the best delivery times for your products. In terms of delivering goods to your customers, the more choice you can give them the happier (and more loyal) they will be.


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