Walmart relaxes shipper deadlines in face of “driver shortage”

Walmart recently relaxed their strict “on-time, in full” policy, allowing shippers to deliver goods up to one day early in the face of the “truck driver shortage.”

Under the previous “on-time, in full” policy, goods with a fast turnover such as paper towels, food, and beauty products were to arrive exactly on time, not early and not late, lest the shipper be fined 3% of the value of the late or early delivery.

Now, as some of Walmart’s main suppliers such as General Mills and Hershey adjust to the recent change in industry regulations and subsequent “driver shortage,” Walmart plans to cut its shippers a little slack by simplifying delivery requirements and allowing for early deliveries. This change in attitude could prove especially helpful for those shippers who deliver both fast turnover items and slower moving products such as electronics or clothing, reported Bloomberg.

“This capacity crunch is real and it’s getting tighter,” said vice president of sales and marketing at logistics provider CaseStack, Colby Beland.

“Walmart understands that, so they’re relaxing those windows so suppliers won’t have to take price increases,” he continued.

“We’re simply allowing the carrier to deliver a day earlier,” said Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies.

One Walmart consultant who wishes to remain anonymous says that, in the last year, Walmart has been struggling with its smaller carriers being on time for pickup. As of late, the shippers have been arriving for pick up two to three days late, forcing Walmart into a plethora of emails and phone calls from disgruntled vendors. Walmart hopes that, with the more relaxed delivery windows, shippers will be able to better consolidate both fast and slow moving goods into one delivery, simplifying the process.

“It’s a perfect storm, and I think it will keep raging for a bit,” said founder of transportation data provider CarrierLists, Kevin Hill.

Walmart has not made it clear whether this day-early option is a permanent adjustment or just a temporary change.