In the 21st century, the logistics and supply chain management industry usually operates very efficiently. Usually, the companies that provide these services are prepared for various difficult situations and handle them with great expertise, except in cases of natural disasters. Perhaps, for that reason, when something serious happens, it causes a great uproar. However, it is possible to learn from these mistakes and strengthen supply chains in the future.





1. FedEx ruins Christmas

In the winter of 2015, FedEx ruined the holiday period for tens of thousands of American families by failing to deliver gifts in time for Christmas Day.

The well-known company blamed the failure on too many last-minute orders, combined with bad weather that affected some deliveries. In October of that year, they had planned to deliver around 317 million packages between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. FedEx extended deliveries in some areas through Christmas Day, in addition to opening FedEx Express stations for a few hours so some customers could pick up their packages.

However, these efforts were of little consolation to those who were left without gifts for their loved ones… who, as expected, took to Twitter to vent their anger.

2. DPD trapped

In 2016, delivery company DPD found itself in the eye of the hurricane after one of its drivers was caught stealing a brand-new iPhone that should have been delivered to a customer.

The customer, Bradley Stocker, was at home when he received an alert from the courier telling him that his item had been delivered, while the DPD website claimed that the package had been left with a neighbor. When Mr. Stocker checked, no one had picked it up. Things then got stranger when one of his neighbors offered to check his security camera footage which appeared to show the delivery driver arriving, approaching the house to update his GPS tracker, and then climbing back into his van with the package still under his arm. The security camera footage soon appeared on major news channels which did the company’s reputation a disservice.


3. KFC with ruffled feathers

When fast food outlet KFC decided to switch its UK delivery partners from food delivery specialists Bidvest Logistics to DHL, no one imagined that the famous logistics company would cause more than 400 KFC restaurants to have to close to the public after failing to receive deliveries on time.

However, it turns out that this whole mess was foreseen. Several years ago, Burger King ran into similar problems when it decided to switch from Bidvest to DHL to cut costs and it turns out that the GMB union warned KFC that it was taking a risk by switching suppliers. This story also brought collateral damage as the reputation of the KFC and DHL brands suffered, while Bidvest had to lay off more than 250 employees after losing the distribution contract.




4. The Yodel scandal

Yodel is one of the UK’s largest courier companies but in recent years, has fallen victim to its own success and recognition.

One customer, to whom Yodel claimed to have delivered a gaming console at a specific date and time, was able to check home security camera footage and prove that the delivery had not taken place. Despite Yodel stating an apology, the company has continued to be plagued by bad publicity in the years since. This included an undercover investigation by a current affairs documentary on BBC, which revealed staff dropping parcels over and over again.

5. The curious case of the rubber ducks

In 1992, a ship en route from Hong Kong to the United States lost a crate containing approximately 29,000 plastic bathing ducks. A few months later they began appearing on beaches in Alaska, Canada, and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

In the years since, they have washed up halfway around the world, ending up on shores as far-flung as Hawaii, South America, Australia, and Scotland. Some have even been found frozen in Arctic ice. While the lost cargo may have been bad news for its intended recipients, this story has a happy ending. It has given oceanographers unprecedented insight into our understanding of global ocean currents.


Do everything possible to avoid the accident – plan the loading well

It is clear that logistics is not immune to failures even if many precautions are taken. It is impossible to avoid that sometimes some elements fail. However, it is important to implement tools that minimize this risk. For example, our Easycargo software is the ideal ally for freight forwarding companies as it helps them to plan the load in such a way that the items arrive intact at their destination and the cargo space is not overloaded, generating transit violations.

Tatiana Aguirre | Published 21 Mar 2023