Purpose: This research aims to explore the impact of geographical traits on the occurrence of on-time or the risk of late deliveries – one vital category of supply chain failures. Specifically, the regulatory environment framework and national and organizational culture are explored as potential contingency factors affecting these supply chain failures. Furthermore, the authors assess whether or not potential negative cultural characteristics at the national level can be addressed through specific organizational culture at the organizational level of practice. Design/methodology/approach: This study combines primary survey data from 647 plants in 12 countries collected through the Global Manufacturing Research Group with secondary national data from the World Economic Forum and Hofstede’s national culture dimensions to test the six hypotheses. Findings: Results indicate that firms situated in a regulatory national environment that is conducive to trade experience fewer late deliveries; a national infrastructure that has continuously been neglected leads to more late deliveries. Firms situated in countries with low levels of national uncertainty avoidance experience fewer late deliveries. Supplier communication should be practiced at an organizational level to excel in these countries. Originality/value: This paper adds to the ongoing discusses about the importance of contingency factors at the country level (i.e. institutional and cultural factors), which need to be considered when setting up global supply chains. It also contributes important empirical insights to the convergence/divergence discussion.