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8 Supply Chain Challenges Arising From Delayed Orders

Chris Scheich
by Chris Scheich
Sep 27, 2023

Visibility lies at the heart of building an effective, resilient supply chain. Without it, supply chains—already complex systems—get backed up with delayed orders, leading to operation disruptions, increased costs, and diminished customer satisfaction.

In an industry where precision and timeliness are paramount, any delay can have cascading effects on various stages of the production and distribution processes, which is why ensuring on-time orders is not merely a best practice but critical to supply chain management.

As we delve deeper into this topic, we'll explore the multifaceted implications of order delays and the importance of punctuality to sustain a competitive edge in today's business landscape.

Here are the 8 biggest supply chain consequences of delayed orders:

  1. Inventory Shortages or Overstocking

Delayed orders can lead to poor inventory management practices, such as inventory shortages, inaccurate forecasting, and inefficient order fulfillment. Conversely, if the delay is improperly communicated between suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors, inventory is often ordered to compensate, resulting in overstocking.

  1. Production Delays

Buyers rely on predictable lead times and consistent quality to meet their own commitments and cater to their customer demands. Late arrival of raw materials can significantly impact manufacturing schedules and overall operational efficiency, leading to missed production targets and increased costs. For buyers, this is particularly concerning—delays mean that they may not receive their orders on-time, affecting their operational timelines and potentially causing stock-outs. Additionally,  increased costs on the producer's end ripple out to buyers and trigger higher purchase prices. 

  1. Increased Shipping Costs

To mitigate the impact of late orders, expedited shipping may be necessary to ensure timely delivery. Late orders can also weaken negotiation power; buyers might take advantage of urgency and demand higher prices or less favorable terms. 

  1. Rush Production

Consider a company that produces custom electronics, like specialized medical devices. They've promised a hospital a specific delivery date based on a production schedule that assumes timely receipt of essential components. However, due to unexpected delays, a key component arrives late. Given the urgency of the medical devices for upcoming surgeries, the manufacturer cannot afford to delay the entire production. To meet the promised delivery date, the manufacturer decides to initiate rush production—this might involve paying for overtime or even bringing in temporary workers to handle the increased workload. The accelerated process could also put a strain on quality assurance checks, potentially allowing minor defects to go unnoticed.

  1. Missed Deadlines

Customer satisfaction within the supply chain lifecycle is critical, yet delayed orders impact both buyers and suppliers and can lead to longer-term collaboration issues. Additionally, suppliers are negatively impacted when they have to reallocate resources or adjust schedules based on changed delivery dates.

  1. Operational Disruptions

Delayed orders can disrupt the regular flow of operations, requiring additional efforts to reschedule resources, adjust production plans, and allocate labor effectively.

  1. Limited and Inefficient Planning Time

Late orders leave little time for proper planning and coordination. Suppliers might not have sufficient time to allocate resources, schedule production, and optimize transportation routes. This lack of planning can lead to rushed decision-making and increased risk of errors. Most significantly, late orders introduce uncertainty into the supply chain, making it harder to plan and forecast accurately.

  1. Poor Communication and Collaboration 

Effective communication is critical for addressing delivery delays and disruptions, and when not managed appropriately and with enough lead time, it can damage a company’s reputation. In this case, potential customers can turn to competitors for quicker, dependable fulfillment.


While the challenges of supply chain management are inherently complex, there are myriad solutions businesses can adopt to address these challenges before they arise. Leveraging technology solutions that integrate directly with your ERP can mitigate the impact of delayed orders and subsequent supply chain events. 

Organizations should focus on using technology for real-time visibility, improving communication, building strong relationships with suppliers, and implementing effective strategies to anticipate challenges before they arise.

With Leverage, organizations can rapidly modernize and build resilient supply chains by keeping teams up-to-date on purchase orders and ETAs. You’ll never again have to ask: “where’s my stuff?” For more information on how Leverage can help you ensure on-time orders, each and every time, reach out.

Chris Scheich
Post by Chris Scheich
Entrepreneur, Continuous Learner and Sales Leader