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How Does Parcel Tracking Work

How does parcel tracking work?

Parcel tracking has revolutionised the way we as couriers interact with our customers – taking the mystery and uncertainty out of package delivery and replacing it with a convenient, reliable real-time data system which keeps senders (and recipients) fully informed at every step of their parcel’s journey. Now, it’s not only the courier who is aware of a parcel’s whereabouts and progress – which has created a much more competitive market, especially given our more impatient nature nowadays which is attributed to a rise in smartphone technology.

This sophisticated industry tool is helpful for many reasons, but with parcels travelling all over the world via a variety of different transportation methods, just how is it possible to know exactly where a parcel may be at any given moment and to give an exact prediction of when it will arrive?

Firstly, it’s important to recognise that there are different levels of tracking. You may have noticed when tracking a parcel yourself that you are sometimes able to select a more detailed tracking service, or perhaps only have access to very basic information with the bare minimum disclosed about your item’s location – such as ‘packed’, ‘shipped’ and ‘out for delivery with courier’. The basic tracking available is actually very easy to run, as it taps into internal information systems which are already incorporated within the companies involved. For instance, the retailer may have a system which allows staff to input notes to update the progress of the order (order confirmed, order packed, order shipped). Then the courier has a system which works in very much the same way (order collected, order in transit, order at warehouse, order out for delivery). These types of tracking give a very clear yet less detailed view of where your parcel is at, allowing you to roughly predict when it will arrive.

Detailed tracking of course is not so simple. This involves more in-depth access into company systems, and perhaps some new systems which make it easier for staff handling the parcel at every step of the way to send updates to the courier – and to you. These types of tracking systems allow for flexible personalised delivery – for instance, if you tell the courier you can only accept the parcel on a certain day at a certain time, this data can be inputted and attached to your parcel to ensure that you are in to receive it. At the same time if you update that information, it will of course be updated on your parcel’s file and so when the barcode is scanned, the person dealing with your shipment is able to act accordingly – as soon as they see the information. This is especially handy if you want to change the date or time of your shipment instantaneously – especially if it is time-sensitive.

No matter what the type or detail of the tracking, the actual way in which the parcel is processed is incredibly simple. A barcode is assigned to the parcel, which is scanned by everybody who comes into contact with it. This means that they can easily update the notes attached to that shipment without confusion or the possibility of human error which could come with manually inputting parcel data. When it finally reaches its destination, you may notice that the driver at your door has a scanner which he uses to scan your parcel for the last time – sending the information to the tracking system that you have taken delivery of the parcel and signed for it.

Parcel tracking is a great tool for commercial and domestic deliveries alike. As a sender of a gift or important item, you can ensure that the recipient has accepted the parcel – and you can monitor every step it takes in between to get to them. As a business, you can be certain that your client has safely received their items and when – in addition to being able to tailor the delivery options specifically for them. It is especially handy for packages which have been ‘lost’ as this happens much less regularly and if a parcel does go ‘missing’, it’s much easier for the courier to locate it and for the client to be kept informed about where along the chain it may have been lost.

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