By Glacial Wood / February 27, 2017

How to Get Consistent On-time Delivery

You’ve got a big project with no wiggle room for delays. You’re expecting a materials order to come in two days from now, and the project can’t go forward without the shipment. Do you expect on-time delivery from your wood supplier, or are you crossing your fingers as the delivery date approaches?

On-time delivery should be an expectation, but there are always factors that are outside of your control. The good news is, you don’t have to control everything to get consistent on-time delivery. You can see a measurable difference in delivery benchmarks by doing a few simple things on the front end. Follow these best practices to get on-time delivery that you can count on from your wood supplier.


How to Get Consistent On-time Delivery

You know what happens when you assume? Mistakes happen. Never assume that the vendor received your purchase order, or that they can hit the delivery date in the PO. Be proactive and address pressing issues to ensure delivery goes smoothly. Follow up and make sure everything is in order on their end. Get an agreement in writing. You’ll need to communicate with your wood supplier at each step of the procurement process, which means your current vendor’s customer service plays a big role in on-time delivery. A long and complicated process will make it much more difficult to stick to your timelines.

While you can’t change your vendor’s customer service process, you can help to keep things moving smoothly by communicating changes, problems, and needs as soon as they arise. Be open and honest, and be sure your communication is clear and complete. The more you can head things off on the front end, the fewer delays you’ll need to deal with.


When it comes to getting materials on time from wood suppliers, planning for material variance is a must. Material variance is when your standard output and your actual output are not equal.

You’ll need to include a few extra parts per order to avoid falling short—and behind schedule. But order too many extra parts, and you could break your budget. Talk to your suppliers, track their deliveries over time, and get to know the level of material variance you should expect from each vendor. Once you’ve got a good feel for it, it’s easy to calculate the right quantity and cost.


If you aren’t thinking about where your manufacturer is located, you should start. Overseas manufacturing may promise lower prices, but it depends upon international shipping. That means your time-sensitive order is subject to forces beyond your (or your vendor’s) control.

Overseas shipping isn’t a dependable process. Right now, there’s a supply-and-demand imbalance that’s projected to continue throughout 2017 and beyond.


You can make on-time delivery an expectation, not a pipe dream. By improving the factors that are within your control and working closely with your wood supplier, you’ll be able to count on deliveries that are on time.

Get more tips that deliver a better vendor relationship—download our comprehensive guide for purchasing agents.


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