What is a Delivery Exception Report?

Many national shipping carriers and logistics providers offer shippers detailed reports on shipments that are not able to be delivered as originally planned. Shipments that are delayed, missed, lost, or undeliverable are considered delivery exceptions.  

Ecommerce brands need to have access to shipping reports like these to better support their customers when products cannot be shipped. For example, if a customer inputs a delivery address incorrectly it will lead to an undeliverable package. Tracking this particular delivery exception is critical to communicating with that customer what went wrong and correcting the issue.  

What is a Delivery Exception Report   

A delivery exception report provides information about shipments that had any delivery issues. It is a report that is typically generated by a logistics or supply chain management system and is used to track and manage delivery-related problems. 

A delivery exception report gives visibility into delivery-related problems, allowing companies to identify areas for improvement, take corrective actions, and communicate effectively with customers or other supply chain partners.  

The opposite of a delivery exception is a delivery that is made on-time and in-full, or OTIF.

By monitoring these reports daily, an ecommerce business can optimize their logistics and shipping, enhance customer satisfaction, and ensure efficient and reliable delivery processes. 

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What’s Included in a Delivery Exception Report? 

The availability of exception reports and the level of detail included varies among carriers and providers. Here is some of the common information found in a delivery exception report.  

Shipment information—it includes relevant shipment information, such as tracking number, customer name, delivery address, and other relevant identifiers. 

Exception type—it describes the specific issue or exception encountered during the delivery process. This may include delays, missed deliveries, damaged packages, incorrect addresses, customs clearance problems, among other issues. 

Date and time—it records the date and time when the exception occurred or was reported. This helps in tracking the timeline of the delivery process, conveying updates to customers, and identifying any patterns or reoccurring shipping issues. 

Action taken—sometimes it will outline the steps taken to address the delivery exception. An example of this is alternate delivery attempts or contacting the customer or carrier.  

Status—the report usually includes the current status of the exception, such as pending, resolved, or in progress. It also documents the final resolution or outcome of the exception, indicating whether it has been successfully resolved or if further actions are required. 

Examples of Delivery Exceptions  

Delivery exceptions can occur due to various factors and circumstances. Here are some examples of common delivery exceptions.  

  • Delayed delivery happens when a package or shipment does not arrive within the expected timeframe.  
  • Missed delivery attempts means the recipient is not available or inaccessible when the carrier made an attempt to deliver.  
  • Damaged packages are a type of delivery exception, whether because of mishandling during transit or inadequate packaging. 
  • Lost or stolen packages are cited when a package goes missing during transit, which usually requires investigation or filing a claim. 
  • Incorrect address, also known as undeliverable, may require address verification and correction before successful delivery can be made. This can occur because of an invalid or incomplete address, typographical error, outdated address information, or missing essential details. 
  • Customs issues, international shipments can also be deemed delivery exceptions when customs clearance problems arise. 
  • Delivery refusal is a form of delivery exception if the recipient refuses to accept the package.
  • Held package means the shipment is stuck with the carrier due to incomplete paperwork, payment collection, or security concerns.  

How to Get Your Delivery Exception Report 

Delivery exception reports are filed daily by all major shipping carriers, UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS. Amazon logistics also provides an exception report to sellers.  

Some 3PLs and logistics providers comb through the report and extract specific data before passing it to customers—this analysis is helpful for ecommerce brands who may not have time to sift through a comprehensive exception report every day.  

In an ideal scenario, you won’t need to use a delivery exception report, but the truth is there will always be a small percentage of shipping delays and missed packages. These are inevitable and the best way to deal with them is to regularly check your delivery exceptions and optimize your shipping services to get your delivery exception number as low as possible.  



If you are seeking a fulfillment provider who can help you analyze your shipping data,  reach out to DCL Logistics for a quote. We have a number of transportation management services that can help your brand grow and scale.