“Short shipped” refers to when a company or seller ships fewer items or quantities of a product than the order states. This means the cargo shipment was not complete. In other words, the order is missing items. When an order is short shipped, the customer may receive a partial shipment. Then, they could be informed about the shortage to fulfill the rest of the order later when the items become available. Thus, companies need to communicate effectively with customers in such situations.
What Causes Short Shipped Orders?
Short shipments can occur due to a few reasons. Let’s discuss these.
First, mistakes in the inventory management system can lead to incorrect records of the available stock. This can result in items being oversold or not being available for shipment.
Unexpected high demand or delays in restocking can lead to stock shortages. The item sells at a faster rate. Then, stock runs out, and they don’t restock it efficiently. A limited supply of an item may mean it is impossible to fill all orders fully.
Problems in the supply chain can lead to delays or shortages in shipping. For example, transportation delays, customs issues, or disruptions in production may cause issues.
Order Fulfillment Errors
Also, human errors in the order processing and fulfillment stages have an effect. An error can lead to shipping incorrect quantities or omitting items from the shipment.
Tech issues may cause problems. They can affect the order processing or inventory management systems, resulting in incorrect orders being created and shipped.
Delays in the manufacturing process can impact the stock. This may cause unavailability of products.
Lack of internal contact within a company can lead to errors in the order fulfillment process. Further, without communication within the company, this can lead to short shipped orders.
These include natural disasters, labor strikes, or other unforeseen events. They disrupt the normal processes of a company. Further, they lead to short shipments.
Increased demand for certain products can lead to shortages if companies are unprepared. This is common during the holiday season or peak season. These peaks require more preparation. Thus, this means having backstock and efficient processes.
Here’s What You Can Do
First, verify the accuracy of the order and the inventory records to confirm if the short shipment is indeed a result of an error. Then, ensure that there are no misunderstandings that might have led to the discrepancy.
Notify the Customer
Next, contact the customer ASAP to inform them about the short shipment. Clearly explain the situation. This includes the items that are missing or not included in the shipment. Also, explain any reasons for the shortage.
Apologize and Communicate
Apologize for the inconvenience caused. Then, assure the customer that you are actively working to resolve the issue. Finally, provide a clear timeline for when the missing items will be shipped or made available.
Depending on the situation, offer the customer potential solutions. There are several options.
- Send the missing items separately as soon as they are available.
- Providing a partial refund or credit for the missing items.
- Offering alternative products that could meet the customer’s needs.
- Expedited shipping for the missing items at no extra cost.
Make sure to update all relevant documentation. This includes packing lists, shipping records, and inventory logs. Make sure they reflect the changes and accurately track the resolution of the issue.
Monitor and Follow Up
Keep a close watch on the shipment and ensure the missing items are shipped or delivered as promised. Follow up with the customer to confirm their satisfaction. Finally, address any further concerns.
Provide Feedback to Suppliers
The short shipment may be a result of a supplier-related issue. If so, talk with your suppliers to address the problem. Then, work together to prevent a recurrence.
Use the situation as a chance to boost your relationship with the customer. Keep them informed at every step of the resolution process. Further, this will demonstrate your commitment to their satisfaction.
How to Prevent Short Shipped Orders
Keep Accurate Inventory
Ensure you know exactly what you have in stock and update this information regularly.
Ensure everyone knows what’s happening by talking openly with the people you work with and the customers you’re sending orders to.
Build strong relationships with reliable suppliers who consistently provide accurate and timely shipments.
Double-check processes at various order processing and fulfillment stages to catch errors before shipping. Implement quality control. Again, this means checks and double checks. Further, ensure orders are correct and a quality control system exists.
Automation and Technology
Use technology. Specifically, this means software. For example, RFID or barcodes will help keep better track of orders and inventory.
Next, use historical sales data and demand forecasting techniques. This allows you to predict future demand for products. Also, plan for seasonal demand changes and promotions. Ensure adequate stock availability in this time.
Keep some extra stock on hand. This is in the case of unexpected spikes in demand.
Regularly perform inventory audits. This ensures that stock records reflect the actual number of items you have. Further, this prevents backorders for sold-out items.
Also, always give customers honest and updated information about when they’ll receive their orders. Nurture these connections.
Finally, if you operate across multiple sales channels, ensure your inventory is synced across all platforms. Further, this will help prevent overselling.
As we’ve discovered in the past few years, the supply chain can be a balancing act. Logistics take planning and thorough evaluation. In a world where we can get nearly anything on demand, customers still expect smooth shipments, and those who can nail down this process can obtain and keep their loyalty.
By taking these steps, businesses can minimize the occurrence of short shipped orders and continually strive for customer satisfaction.
If you would like help finding a fulfillment partner/3PL that specializes in HAZMAT reach out to our Fulfillment Consultants and we can place you with a vetted fulfillment partner.