Parcel Tracking Systems: Main Steps Your Package Go Through
By Space Coast Daily // September 13, 2021
The delivery postage field is growing every year. People start ordering stuff online more often in foreign and local stores, and the number of parcels and packages increases worldwide. Together with the quantity, the quality also changes: postal services become more convenient and technological.
Read this article if you’re wondering how tracking of FedEx, USPS, DHL, and other major courier companies’ parcels works.
Clients’ Point of View on Tracking
For users, this whole process looks pretty straightforward. Thanks to modern services, they can monitor the movement of goods, regardless of whether they are senders or recipients. By and large, courier companies share with customers the information they process themselves.
After sending the parcel or letter to the courier service, the customer receives a tracking number, a unique identifier for this cargo. It can contain the following data:
- Sender’s name;
- Their contact details;
- Departure parameters;
- Type of shipment;
- Notes on features (e.g., fragile cargo and so on).
With the help of this code and various trackers, users can see the movement of parcels and know the exact date of their arrival at their destination. Upon receiving the appropriate notification, they can pick up the shipment.
Of course, such solutions have many undeniable advantages for users:
- You can find out exactly where the letter or parcel is at the moment;
- Knowing the delivery date, you can get ready in advance. For example, free up the day for meeting a courier or reschedule the date of arrival if you are busy;
- You receive notifications about each stage of transportation in a convenient way for you;
- If your package is delayed or lost somewhere, you can easily find it;
- Since cargo data is regularly updated when it arrives at a new sorting point, you can track changes in its condition. So, for example, a decrease in the declared weight indicates that the box could have been opened. It is a reason to check the shipment right at the delivery point carefully and, if necessary, write a complaint.
Parcel tracking solutions are improving every year. Users can now choose from a huge variety of resources. For example, if you regularly use the services of only one company, their branded application or official website will be convenient for you. If parcels are delivered to you by different carriers, you should pay attention to multitrackers that collect information from several (sometimes more than 800) couriers.
Logistics Companies’ Point of View on Tracking
For courier companies, the whole process of handling, monitoring, and delivering goods is much more complicated. Their clients only see what is on the surface. The whole work of such services can be divided into several main stages.
1. Assignment of a tracking number
The very first point in the work of logistics companies employees is processing received parcels and assigning barcodes or tracking numbers to them. As already mentioned, they serve as an identifier for the cargo and allow you to track its movement.
2. Entering info into a database
The assigned code is scanned and entered into the general data system. Based on the information contained in the barcode, the company further determines the optimal delivery route.
After that, the client is informed about a departure status and the approximate arrival date (this information can be found on the website or in the app using the tracking number).
After the initial processing of packages, the company transfers the received goods from the local branch to the main sorting center. Its workers form sets of parcels and letters, which are then sent to different destinations. To do it, they use various automated systems that read barcodes from packages.
Based on this information, they make a departure plan, according to which parcels will be transported in different directions.
4. Modeling routes
After all the goods are sorted by destination, the company’s task is to work out the best route.
When compiling it, the following parameters are primarily taken into account:
- Deadlines. It is the main characteristic, which is the priority. Between the fast and the cheapest option, firms choose the former;
- List of intermediate sortings. It depends on the distance between the start and final points. The larger it is, the more stops will be there during the delivery;
- Planned volume of shipments. By evaluating it, the company decides which transport to use for the goods delivery. If several types of vehicles ship parcels, it is essential for them to be correctly docked together to avoid delays.
5. Supplementing information
As the parcel moves along the route, the barcode attached to it is scanned again and again. The updated information is loaded into the database so you can stay on top of each step. All intermediate sorting points are marked in your account.
6. Arrival at the destination
As a rule, goods are delivered to the main logistics center at your place of stay, where they are redirected locally after processing. You can get your parcel yourself from a warehouse. Delivery options are also available at pick-up points, checkpoints, or in-person via couriers.
As soon as the client picks up the letter or parcel, the shipment will receive the “Delivered” status. The exact date and time of this event are recorded in the general system. After that, the recipient has some time (depending on the company) to file a complaint in case of any problems with their cargo.
Tracking systems provide convenience for customers and at the same time are extremely important for businesses:
- They increase the speed of cargo handling and delivery;
- Such systems can lower the likelihood of human error and loss of parcels;
- Since most of the processes are automated, it raises the accountability and efficiency of all work items;
- All this together reduces the operating cost, which is beneficial for everyone involved in the delivery chain.
The data collected in the course of work is useful for further analysis of activities, developing new, more customer-friendly features, and optimizing support processes.
Are There Any Failures?
Modern solutions allow us to minimize possible disruptions in delivery and loss of goods due to human error. However, they do happen sometimes. Fortunately, logistics companies regularly monitor the process and can adjust routes and terms, and promptly notify customers about it if any emergencies arise.
There is always the possibility that a truck would get stuck in a traffic jam, a car would break down, or planes would not be allowed to take off due to bad weather.
By communicating with dispatchers, collecting data from navigation apps used by drivers, and using numerous information systems, courier services control emergencies and inform recipients about them if there is a delay.
Track Parcels in Any Convenient Way
After all, all logistics systems are designed to meet the needs of customers and businesses. All upgrades, new features, and services aim to speed up the tracking process and improve the quality of user experience.
Regardless of whether you are a recipient or sender, you can monitor the package at any delivery stage using branded sites, applications, notifications, and all-in-one trackers. You don’t need to understand how parcel tracking systems work to use them.