How Mail Or Parcel Tracking Works?

By on August 6, 2013

Over the past few decades quick last minute delivery systems for both production, stock and specialty orders being zoomed off to all ends of the earth have emphasized the need for a way to track them. The ability to track an order, parcel or even mail makes it a lot easier for businesses and individuals to plan and schedule everything accordingly.

Computers and the internet have now made it easy for users to track their packages in real time via a tablet device, regular desktop, laptop or their mobile phone. It also significantly reduces instances of lost packages, something which was quite common just a few years ago.

How it works?

Almost every parcel, letter, or package shipped out today is fitted with a special barcode that includes all the details of the sender as well as the receiver. This data is carried with the package through the length of its journey and allows anybody to find out where the package is currently at that particular moment. The package is also scanned every time it goes for sorting and it enters / exits the transfer offices, the information is automatically fed directly into the computer’s database after which its journey is followed closely.

People who want to find out where their parcel is at the moment can track it via the internet. Courier controllers are able to monitor the journey of each parcel closely using a special satellite navigation system mounted on the van or a lorry. This allows for a courier services’ management to easily re evaluate and check the progress of delivery and report on common delays like truck malfunction, change of drivers etc.

However, this tracking system’s computer is able to calculate the approximate delivery time and continually update it on the customer’s tracking page depending on how things work. In the case of a delay owing to a problem with the truck the computer will automatically add an hour to the ETA being shown.

The latest tracking systems

In the past couple of years parcel tracking systems have become sophisticated to the point where a customer is able to watch the delivery route and the scheduled delivery of his package via his computer just using the details provided in the delivery note. The details need to be punched into a special password protected portal. So from the time that a package is officially actuated with a barcode it can be scanned and the results begin to accumulate.

Most systems are programmed with a number of control parameters which include the delivery time that uses a 24 hour time format. However, in the event of a delay the system is automatically able to compensate for this by increasing the package’s ETA.

The majority of courier services use a computer system that will automatically sound a warning which will predict that a parcel will not reach its destination on the previously given time. This problem is then flagged by the computer at which point it becomes the problem of the controller to go through the system and find the best delivery time and date or make an emergency delivery program.

Since parcel delivery systems now canvas the whole globe they need to be slick and good enough to deliver important customer documents and packages on time regardless of what happens. These services are often used by clients who need to deliver time sensitive information which justifies the high price they pay for the service.

Local delivery services

Over the past couple of years the sophistication and slickness of international delivery systems have now been made locally available to within the city or country delivery services. There are many new services that use real time tracking data to inform customers where their dry cleaned clothes are at the moment, if their check has been cashed or if the flowers were delivered.

While at the moment there are few local delivery and chore services that use these systems and those that do are not as high end as international courier services like DHL, the fact is that people prefer being able to track their packages and tasks in real time which only means that soon all local services will be using these systems. This will make it a lot easier for businesses to schedule their tasks and route accordingly.

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License: Image author owned

License: Image author owned

John Doe is a supply chain manager specializing in real time tracking systems and data. He works as an efficiency consultant for delivery services in Australia

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