These are the things that keep aspirin manufacturers in business. You followed all the procedures, you checked everything twice, and the order should ship on time. Just as you’re counting your anticipated profits, you get the phone call from your supplier or customer that something has changed for the worse. Unfortunately, these things happen—we’re all human, and business is not perfect. But it’s how you handle the problem that really matters. Let’s look at some reasons for unexpected problems and late deliveries:
- Your supplier has an order backup.
- Order entry made an error.
- Order processing got behind.
- The finished product didn’t pass quality control.
- There are too many people on vacation to fulfill the order on time.
- The order was produced incorrectly and must be redone.
- There’s a strike at the plant.
- The delivery estimate was wrong.
- The raw materials are not available.
- The equipment has broken down or needs service.
- The order was misplaced. (This is a bad one.)
- You didn’t receive the customer’s signed order.
- You’re waiting for the customer’s deposit.
- It’s the busiest time of the year, so everything is late.
- You can’t produce the product for the price you quoted.
- You’re having credit problems with the factory.
- Several key people have left your company.
- There has been uncontrollable weather or fire damage to the plant.
- There have been delivery or freight company problems.
Once a problem is identified, it should be brought out in the open as soon as possible; don’t conceal it. Be prompt in informing the customer and tell them the truth, don’t make up excuses. If it’s your fault, admit it and try to find a solution quickly. Can you get a similar product or supply from another source to fill in temporarily? Even if it costs you more or you need to pay in advance, it’s worth it to keep the customer satisfied until the original order is filled.
The worst thing you can do is lie or blame someone else for the late delivery or other problems; take responsibility and find a temporary solution. If it’s a quality or defect problem, you need to rectify it, offer a discount, or do it over. The long-term value of your customer is worth more than a short-term loss or breaking even.
Ask whether your business customer is satisfied with the solution and make a note in the file or computer record so it doesn’t happen again. When the customer is ready to order again, you will remember the previous situation and head it off in the future.