Same-day delivery. On-demand delivery. Customer control. Dynamic routing. These are just a few features that have made package delivery a booming and competitive industry. Some might even argue it’s a downright sexy one.
To get to the bells and whistles, however, you need a solid foundation. All of those innovations depend on accurate tracking. And tracking starts with scanning. Customers expect to be able to track their orders as soon as they have checked out online. So complete tracking and tracing is essential.
The U.S. Postal Service understands this. It has said it wants to achieve 100 percent visibility and provide world-class package delivery services. And it is working aggressively toward those goals. Last year it deployed over 200,000 mobile scan devices for scanning as packages move through the network, including at delivery.
At the National Postal Forum in March postal officials announced that in 2016 they would expand Informed Visibility, the Postal Service program that uses data, such as Intelligent Mail barcode scans, to give mailers real-time insight into how their mail is being processed and delivered. Informed Visibility also gives the Postal Service information on operational and delivery performance.
Specifically, Informed Visibility would add more scan events and get those scans into the hands of mailers sooner. A future addition will be delivery scans using geospatial technology.
Things are definitely moving along. But as our recent audit report indicates, sometimes it makes sense to get back to basics. Our analysis of scan data and the scanning process at 30 delivery units in the Chicago District found the Postal Service has opportunities to improve package scanning in city delivery operations.
In addition to packages being falsely scanned as delivered, our audit report found that some packages were scanned as delivered prematurely (before the carrier left the office) or too late (after the carrier returned). The scan should be made at the delivery point.
It’s an understatement to say that inaccurate scans irk customers. And a dissatisfied customer can lead to a loss of business. We urged the Postal Service to make the necessary improvements to its scanning procedures and improve oversight of the process, and make sure mobile scan devices are repaired promptly and additional devices added as needed.
Please take our poll, and then share in a comment your thoughts on these questions: When you order online, do you track your package from start to finish? How important is it to you to know where it is every step of the process. Or is just knowing when it will arrive enough information?