Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Non-Delivery Report

What Is A Non-Delivery Report (NDR)?

When a shipment cannot be delivered successfully for various reasons (for instance, incorrect address or recipient unavailable), the carrier or logistics provider often sends a notification to the shipper or relevant parties. This notification could be called a Delivery Exception Report, Delivery Failure Notification, or a Non-Delivery Report. It usually details the undelivered shipment and the reason for the delivery failure.

Who Issues An NDR? 

In logistics, the concept most closely resembling a Non-Delivery Report is the Delivery Exception/Failure Notification. These notifications are typically issued by various parties involved in the delivery process. The primary source is the carrier whose systems automatically generate them whenever a delivery attempt fails. 

Companies that use a third-party logistics provider (3PL) might receive these notifications from the 3PL instead, as their systems are often integrated with the carriers’ for tracking. In some cases, the online store or marketplace where you placed the order might also send the notification, as they receive updates from the carrier or 3PL and want to keep their customers informed. 

The notification itself can be delivered through various channels, depending on the company and user preferences: email (common and detailed), SMS/text message (quick updates), app notifications (if the user uses the retailer’s app), or online tracking (where details about delivery exceptions will be shown on the carrier’s website or app).

What Are The Common Reasons For An NDR?

There are many reasons why a delivery might fail, leading to a Delivery Exception/Failure Notification:

Common Reasons

  • Incorrect Or Incomplete Address: This is one of the most frequent causes. It could be a simple typo, a missing apartment number, or an outdated address.
  • Recipient Unavailable: The recipient might not be home or available to receive the package at delivery time.
  • Access Issues: The delivery driver might not be able to access the delivery location due to gated communities, locked buildings, security restrictions, or even aggressive pets.
  • Damaged Package: If the package is damaged during transit, the carrier might not attempt delivery for safety or liability reasons.
  • Weather Conditions: Severe weather like snowstorms, hurricanes, or floods can disrupt delivery schedules and make certain areas inaccessible.
  • Refused Delivery: The recipient might refuse the package for various reasons, such as an incorrect item, damaged goods, or simply not wanting the order anymore.

Less Common Reasons

  • Fraudulent Orders: If the order is suspected to be fraudulent, the carrier might hold the package for further investigation.
  • Misplaced Package: While rare, packages can sometimes get misplaced in transit, leading to delivery failures.

Is An NDR The Same As A Return To Origin (RTO)?

No, an NDR (Non-Delivery Report or Delivery Exception/Failure Notification) is different from an RTO (Return to Origin). While they are both related to failed deliveries, they represent different stages in the process:

NDR (Non-Delivery Report or Delivery Exception/Failure Notification)

  • Meaning: This is the initial notification generated when a delivery attempt is unsuccessful due to any reason.
  • Purpose: To inform the relevant parties about the failed delivery and explain why.
  • Action: Depending on the reason for the NDR, the carrier might attempt re-delivery, hold the package for pickup, or request further instructions from the shipper or recipient.

RTO (Return to Origin)

  • Meaning: This is the process of sending a package back to the original sender (usually the retailer or warehouse) after multiple delivery attempts have failed or the package has been undeliverable for an extended period.
  • Trigger: Typically occurs after a certain number of unsuccessful delivery attempts or if the recipient refuses the package.
  • Consequences: RTOs can be costly for retailers due to shipping fees, restocking costs, and potential loss of customer satisfaction.

How Can Brands Manage NDRs?

Managing NDRs (Non-Delivery Reports) is crucial for brands to minimise costs, improve customer satisfaction, and streamline logistics operations. The following are some strategies:

Proactive Prevention

  • Accurate Data Collection: Ensure the customer addresses and contact information are captured accurately during checkout.
  • Packaging: Use appropriate packaging materials to protect products during transit and reduce the risk of damage-related NDRs.
  • Carrier Selection: Choose reliable carriers with a good track record of successful deliveries and efficient exception management.
  • Address Validation: Use address validation software to verify addresses before shipping, reducing the chances of incorrect or incomplete addresses.

Efficient NDR Management

  • Centralised Tracking: Use a centralised system to manage NDRs from various carriers.
  • Root Cause Analysis: Analyse the reasons for NDRs to identify patterns and trends. This information can be used to address recurring issues.
  • Returns Management: Streamline the returns process for undeliverable or refused packages to minimise costs and improve efficiency.

Advanced Solutions

  • NDR Management Software: Consider investing in specialised NDR management software that automates many tasks involved in handling failed deliveries, such as customer communication, address verification, and re-delivery scheduling.
  • Predictive Analytics: Utilise predictive analytics to forecast potential delivery issues based on historical data and customer behaviour. This allows for proactive interventions to prevent NDRs before they occur.
  • Last-Mile Delivery Optimisation: Implement innovative solutions like crowdsourced delivery, smart lockers, or alternative pickup locations to improve delivery success rates in challenging areas.

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