Personal apology from Julian (Huel Founder) on why shipping is taking longer than normal

I want to personally apologize to all our amazing Hueligans who have had delays and problems with shipping their orders. It falls well below our high standards and what you deserve. Here are the 2 main reasons why you are experiencing delays:

  1. We are operating with 50% staff in our warehouses due to Covid
  2. FedEx is having massive delays, again due to Covid

What are we doing to improve the situation?

  1. We have already moved our entire Jonestown operation to a different warehouse with more resource
  2. We are paying FedEx extra for every shipment to keep delivering to you - no cost will be passed onto you, don’t worry
  3. Extended our flexibility on returns and waived shipping fees for any possible returns due to the extended delivery times

What is the current delivery situation?

Normally, we take 1-3 working days to deliver your order. However, the current situation means we’re looking at more like 5 working days. Again please accept my apologies.

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I’ve ordered a lot of Huel and the shipping has usually been ok. There have been a couple times that were bad, but Huel fixed the issue quickly when I contacted them and went above and beyond to remedy the situation.

But please understand that it makes the situation 1000% worse when you guys send out an email saying the order has shipped when in reality it hasn’t. Then the customer checks the fedex tracking and it says Huel hasn’t actually dropped it off yet and then it actually ships a few days later, leaving the customer in the dark until then, wondering what happened. If you guys would wait to send a tracking email until the order has actually left the huel warehouse that would be great and I’m sure it would greatly reduce the number of complaints and save tons of man hours on customer support.

And while we’re on the subject with somebody that can actually do something about it… The website says the order has been shipped immediately after placing the order. This is not true and should say processing until it’s actually left the warehouse. Again, this would reduce confusion and complaints and labor in my opinion.

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What @Cellcubed wrote, x2.

Thank you, Julian, coming from someone who has been affected multiple times by extreme shipping delays.

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@Cellcubed I will look into this and get back to you.

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Hi @Cellcubed

Thanks for flagging this.

I’ve looked into it, what is happening is this. The orders are loaded on a fedex trailer, at which point the barcode is scanned, this which triggers the “shipping” email. Normally, fedex pick the trailers up daily but due to covid they are struggling to keep up, so sometimes the trailers are sitting there for 24-48 hours, until the trailer is picked-up the tracking link doesn’t work.

What we have done…

  1. We have added this message to the shipping email - Important: Please note that due to COVID-19 we are still experiencing extremely high demand and longer delivery times. Please allow 24-72 hours for your tracking link to update. Fedex will communicate all further shipping updates after this point.
  2. We are speaking to Fedex and our fulfilment houses to see if they can trigger the shipping email once it has reached the Fedex warehouse.

In terms of the website we are still investigating, I will get back to you.

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Thank you for responding. I really hope that you can get the shipping fixed. I love the product but after waiting for weeks I had to order something else. I am on a fixed income, so when I spent the money for my order I had to go without eating for a few days. I can’t go without food and I need you to be RELIABLE.
Thanks

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You guys must have a trailer sitting at your TN facility since at least Friday then… Something tells me it isn’t going to show up today.

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Not to be a pest, but it’s been eight days since Huel took my money for this order. That trailer has spent yet another day sitting in the hot Tennessee sun. Is Fedex on strike or something? @Julian-Huel

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@Julian-Huel

Hey @HuelMike , I think I just realized what’s going on…and it’s not FedEx.

From what Julian wrote:

The orders are loaded on a fedex trailer, at which point the barcode is scanned, this which triggers the “shipping” email. Normally, fedex pick the trailers up daily but due to covid they are struggling to keep up, so sometimes the trailers are sitting there for 24-48 hours, until the trailer is picked-up the tracking link doesn’t work.

They are not using normal FedEx pickups. To save money on shipping they have FedEx leave tractor trailer just for Huel. Because if Huel ships in a trailer they get lower shipping rates. But, it doesn’t make sense to ship a half-full trailer, because they pay the same price as if it was full. So, they wait until they have enough orders to fill the trailer, then they call FedEx for a pickup. And it can take days for enough orders to be placed to fill the trailer.

So, it’s not FedEx, it’s Huel being cheap asses. Just like I thought.

Julian, at our facility we ship hundreds of ground boxes a day, plus dozens of overnight packages, and you know what we do? We have UPS do two pick ups each day, one at 4pm and one at 6:30 pm. That way we can get all orders out each day, and we don’t have angry customers. It costs us a bit more, but we always have happy customers. Why aren’t you doing that?

It’s clear that you all thought Huel would have enough sales to justify using a trailer, but you were wrong and you won’t use a normal FedEx trucks for some reason.

Julian, for crying out loud, why don’t you just offer shipping options so customers can pay for their own shipping? I for one would MUCH rather pay for shipping, knowing it will arrive ON TIME, than save maybe $20 and play Russian roulette with my only source of food…e.g., it took 13 days for me to get my order a while ago, so I ran out of food, and they didn’t even send me the correct number of bags! I wrote a whole thread about it, which is why you are here now.

For real, maybe you’re not aware, but you get “negotiated rates” from FedEx. So you’re not paying what the customer would pay, you’re paying maybe 30% to 50% for ground based on your shipping volume. And it’s even better for air because air costs so much more, so even though your negotiated rates are higher for air, you make more money because the shipping costs so much. You are missing out on a considerable revenue source by not offering shipping options to customers.

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That might be what’s going on, it might not. I know absolutely nothing about how they do business because I don’t work for Huel. I just know I’m jealous of all the people getting to try H&S while I wait. Christian did hit me up and was very nice and is looking into my order. I get that they’re a relatively new business spanning many countries. There will be growing pains. My uneducated suggestion would be to hang on to your loyal customers dearly. Make sure to treat them great so they keep coming back (I will regardless). They’re going to keep the cash flowing.

Hey Mike - let me know if you get any news because I think my order is stuck on the same truck as yours! I got the shipping notification on Sept 11th but it doesn’t seem to be moving (Fedex just says the estimated delivery date is “pending”). There’s no doubt that Covid must be a nightmare for e-commerce companies to deal with, but the weird thing is that I subscribe to a handful of subscription boxes (like Misfits Market) who all use Fedex and there haven’t been any excessive delays. I actually bought my last batch of powder from eBay because the shipping was more reliable.

I agree with one of the posters above. Offering an “expedited shipping” option for an additional fee might be a good idea. Or maybe they could offer a “Huel Prime” component of the subscription where you pay a fixed monthly/yearly fee to get free expedited shipping. I’d likely pay extra for the increase in reliability.

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I think my order is stuck on the same truck, been in shipping status now since the 11th with no updates after I ordered last Tuesday. I put in an enquiry because it bugs me as I am trying to base a 3-4 week eating plan 90% between the HS, powder, and vite ramen and all I have is the powder. (I don’t have the strength to do 3-4 weeks of just the powder lol). Anyway, they responded reiterating shipping delays and then telling me that the order should finally move past the label created stage in fedex by tomorrow.

It is very frustrating though for sure, especially since I’m trying not to go food shopping to save some money. The vite ramen makers up front say to allow for 2-3 weeks for shipping right now, but Huel says within 3-7 days shipping, which is fine, but I hate seeing that (your order has shipped) email and having absolutely no idea what’s going on with it. I also think it’s a little misleading.

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I’ve also noticed that FedEx has been delayed in their updates. Had an order that didn’t change status since the 11th and was delivered yesterday. I literally received an update 20 minutes before it arrived.

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@Grizzle

I would like to correct you on several points.

1. We are not " cheap asses", we don’t wait until the trailer is filled that is incorrect. We use shared facilities, all customers parcels are loaded onto trailers for numerous daily collections by Fedex, approx 18 trailers per day at each warehouse. The final collection is at 11pm whether a trailer half full or full will be collected as the final cut off of the day. However, due to driver shortage/absence at some of the warehouses Fedex are not picking up all the trailers.
2. Thank you for this suggestion for offering shipping options, we will reconsider this however I don’t believe that would resolve the capacity constraints being seen through numerous carriers and warehouses with the COVID -19 related uplift in direct-to-consumer ordering in the USA. We are working with our partners in the specific hot spots to ensure we get back to the high levels we had pre this pandemic. Many of our regions are almost back to the 1-3 days.
3. We have moved one of our fulfilment warehouses to where covid issue are reduced - due to COVID-19 we have had staffing issues at our 3rd Party East Coast Facility which we have taken corrective action on by moving to another one of their facilities where labour is more accessible

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Also we are conducting a full review of our USA delivery to see where improvements can be made. This will be completed within 2 weeks.

Ensuring 100% on-time and accurate deliveries for hundreds of thousands of orders is hard enough / impossible in “normal times” it’s proving even harder during a pandemic. But what I can ensure you in that we are trying and will make improvements.

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My first 2 orders were through Fedex Tennesee location and took well over a week to receive. I didnt get angry because I know Covid has ruined alot of service expectations.

My 3rd order arrived 3 days after the subscription renewed. That order was delivered via USPS. It was the first time I still had a bag to finish after another order arrived.

My current order is going through fedex again and looks to have the same issue as the first 2 orders.

Not complaining, just pointing out what worked really well: usps delivery.

Thank you! That’s what we want. Someone to take this issue seriously. Like I’ve written a few times, it’s not like we’re ordering socks, we’re ordering food. So, reoccurring and long delays in receiving the food, especially after we get a lying “Your Order Has Shipped” email, is unacceptable and no excuses will be adequate.

I understand logistics, I do logistics. I understand it’s hard, but this has been an ongoing issue far longer than COVID, so that’s not an excuse you can use. Just read the forum, there are LOTS of complaints going back years.

I for one just wish you would drop FedEx, and use UPS. That’s who we use because we got sick and tired of FedEx losing packages, charging us more than UPS, and having slow/missing deliveries.

And one other thing I’ve written before: I’m a professional formulation chemist, and I was so mad at Huel when you didn’t deliver my food for over 13 days, causing me to go without food and switch my diet, that I re-created Huel and I (am) strongly considered(ing) creating a business to challenge Huel.

  • I DON’T want to do that because I love Huel, it’s an amazing product and the people at Huel are great. But, if Huel keeps dropping the ball in the worst way (not delivering food on time) I may have to, because not only would I share how to make Huel publicly, my product would be cheaper and focused only the US, and I would make a lot of money. Plus, if it’s not me, it’s going to be someone else because in the US market, if you snooze you loose and there’s always someone hungrier (pun intended) that will eat your lunch…

While I understand shipping constraints and the inconvenience of getting your order later than expected, your posts towards Julian and Huel have been pretty harsh.

“Calling them Cheap Asses, recreating their formula, etc”

I think we all need to be cognizant of the fact that each business is facing its own challenges during these times, whether it’s meeting order fulfillment, shipping delays, etc. We’re all adapting to the new normal and Huel has heard our concerns and have further mentioned that they’re working on it.

According to FedEx, my shipment is scheduled to arrive tomorrow! That will make 13 days from ordering till delivery.