One great example of the lack of efficiency in this novella is the absence of rivets when Marlow's boat needs repairs at the Middle Station. The delay causes Marlow great frustration, especially because it was something that could have been rectified so easily, as Marlow explains to his listeners:
And several times a week a coast caravan came in with trade goods--ghastly glazed calico that made you shudder only to look at it, glass beads value about a penny a quart, confounded spotted cotton handkerchiefs. And no rivets. Three carriers could have brought all that was wanted to set that steamboat afloat.
Of course, later on Marlow realises that this delivery of rivets is being delayed deliberately by the Manager in the hope that Kurtz will die before Marlow's boat can reach him, but even so, this is a classic example of the lack of efficiency in this novella.
Two further examples of inefficiency can be attached to the Eldorado Expedition, the band of individuals who are described by Marlow as an "infliction, a visitation." Marlow notes that this group that brings with them a variety of goods to trade was "an inextricable mess of things decent in themselves but that human folly made them look like spoils of thieving." The second example of inefficiency concerns when they leave and Marlow hears that all of their donkeys had died. Their inability to care for their pack animals is another example of inefficiency.