Package Handling Post # 1
Small Package handling introduction
I wrote these blog posts to clarify the basics of small package handling and shipping in the U.S.A.
Customers regularly ask questions about their packages that this information will help answer. And this particular post will clarify parts that will make future posts easier to understand.
By the way, to register for service click here.
Present day small package handling technology.
Small package services have evolved greatly due to the Internet and the computer systems that allow them to work efficiently. The efficiency with which small package shipments are handled in the USA is impressive and very sophisticated.
Amazon and eBay are the first to come to mind when we think of small package shipping services. But all online retailers, and most wholesalers, use the system. The difference with Amazon is that they even created their own service and continue to use the others to deliver orders.
Why is knowing this information important?
Understanding the way package shipments work in the U.S. is important for us to be able to provide the service our customers have come to expect. It is also important for our customers to understand so they can efficiently manage their orders. The understanding of the system by everyone concerned is not only important for the efficient delivery of orders. It is also extremely important to offer a well priced service that is reliable and predictable.
How does the system of small package handling work?
In this article I will explain how the basics of small package control and tracking is possible and how the Bon Trade system plugs into the the package services in the U.S.A.
What are barcodes and why are they so important.
The first thing I want you to understand about package services is that every package is assigned a number before entering the distribution system. That number is applied to the package in the form of a label with a barcode.
Before UPS (United Parcel Service) can put a package into their system it has to be entered into the computer system with:
-Name of sender (shipper),
-Name of receiver (consignee),
-Content of package.
Once that information is entered into their system the UPS system creates a number for that package. That number is represented by the barcode/label.
Note: A barcode is just a combination of letters and/or numbers that can be read by a computer by using a barcode scanner!
Once the label with the barcode is placed on the package and put into the UPS distribution system it will be moved to the right points of transshipment till it arrives at its destination. The entire system is preprogrammed to handle packages as efficiently as possible to get them from point A to point B.
This process is repeated for every package handled. And this is also the way all other package systems work. Examples are Federal Express, DHL, the Post Office parcel service, Amazon package handling service, etc.
What does this system accomplish?
This process of labeling and identification may sound boring. But if you consider that you can take that package and drop it into their system at any point, and still reach its destination, is very impressive. You can give it to a driver, or drop it at one of their warehouses, and it will get routed to where it has to go. You can drop it off to them in Orlando, Florida or Miami and it should still work.
Hopefully this explanation makes it clear how important the barcode or tracking number is to us as a receiver and handler of small packages. It is the unique ‘name‘ or ‘handle‘ of that package, and only that package will have that number out of the millions of packages handled by the same service on a regular basis.
Why our first question to you is “What is the tracking number?”
Now that you understand how the system works you know why we always ask our customers for the tracking number. The tracking number, or barcode, is how we keep track of the packages we receive.
How do we use the tracking number?
When packages arrive we enter them in our system and generate a warehouse receipt number. This allows us to keep control of the hundreds of packages received on a daily basis.
Once at the destination our agent uses our labels to sort and deliver the cargo to the right customers.
Note: The carrier barcode, and our barcode, gives us the control we need to provide a predictable service.
The whole process, if done correctly, should be transparent to the owner of the cargo. It also allows us to automate many parts that used to require additional input and handling.
In my next post I will go into more detail about our system. Also about why we ask customers to register with us before using our shipping service.
See you in the next post.