Monday, March 14, 2011

How To Expedite Delivery.

While a contract may have a remedy for late delivery, frequently what you need is the product or service to be performed not some remedy.  Everyone in Procurement needs to know how to expedite delivery.  Here’s a few tips on expediting that I learned along the way.

  1. Make sure you need it. The reality is that many times expediting something for your company may be impacting the Supplier meeting its commitments with other customers.    
  2. Speak to the Supplier contact in a way that shows your need or conviction in getting it expedited. Instead of asking them if they can, tell them what you need and why.
  3. Don’t assume that it will get done,  follow up frequently on status to ensure its getting done,
  4. Have an escallation path within the Supplier’s management structure that you can go to.
  5. Only escallate to highest levels in the Suppier’s organization when absolutely needed.
  6. Keep contact with and use the relationships you have with the Supplier. The sales person you started out with when you are a Buyer could be the V.P. of sales when you’re the V.P. of Procurement.
  7. Use others from your team who have high level relationships with the Supplier.
  8. Involve the sales person whose next sale may be impacted and have them champion it. If they don’t help you and you will continue to do business with the Supplier, ask the Supplier to assign a new sales person.
  9. Have all the information available when you call and provide them with the facts and information so they can follow up internally and quickly
    1. Order number, their confirmation number number, date, items etc.
    2. If there are multiple items on an order, tell them what’s critical.
    3. If they are significant quantities on an order tell them how many are critical and when you need the rest.
  10. Explain to them the problem its creating for you.
  11. Ask them to tell you the problem that’s holding it up.
  12. Ask them if there are other ways they can meet your immediate needs such pulling items from Distribution, loaning you product or equipment.
  13. Ask them if they have anything equivalent available that you can use.
  14. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help expedite it.
  15. If they are late and you want them to provide a remedy or action allowed tell them what you want.
    1. If they owe Priority shipments for late deliveries, tell them to make sure it ships priority. The shipping people on the dock don’t know what’s in the contract.
    2. If you have the right to redirect shipments to where needed, tell them where it needs to be delivered to.
  16. If its critical or you have personnel close to the Supplier,  send them to the Supplier to see the problem first hand. The reason why they may be late delivering to you is because they are giving another Customer priority. When capacity is limited this happens all the time.
  17. Unless you are perfect in what your do all the time be reasonable and non-threatening. It may be the Supplier that isn’t performng today, the next time you are expediting it could be you looking for the Supplier to do something better than what’s in your contract or you needing to make up for your mistake in not ordering when needed.
  18. Keep track of all escallation calls and messages, who you talked to, when, what was said or committed. You may need that in escallating to their management. 
  19. Don’t rely on E-mail, call them. Make sure you speak to them and they understand the issue.
  20. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up.


  1. Thank you for this detailed information! This is some of the highest quality content I’ve ever come across....
    Expediting Switzerland
    API 510,570,653 Germany