Missing packages are a real pain for both customers, who face a loss of time and money, and delivery companies, who will lose the trust and loyalty of their customers if a parcel is lost. That’s why couriers take advantage of every tool available to prevent this, and thanks to the ceaseless march of progress there are a fair few tools at their disposal.
We’ve looked into the technology and techniques they are using now, as well as future trends predicted by those working in the industry. The new developments include everything from tracking, monitoring, smart grid data, sensors and more.
Customers have been able to track their packages in a number of ways for a fair few years now. This is often in quite limited ways, though; many retailers offer a fairly rudimentary system that will track if a package is in the hands of carriers yet, and the carriers themselves as well as centralized booking services like My Parcel Delivery can usually provide tracking services at only three or four points in the process, but modern technology allows for more than this.
Smartphones and handheld computers (the kind you may have seen couriers using yourself, or even used to sign for a package) can detect barcodes or QR codes, and many also feature GPS, so it is at least possible, if not always practical, to know where a given package is at a given time.
At the moment, while this technology does help deliver on the speed and accuracy that the public demands, it is not yet perfect and industry experts say that some more steps will be necessary to make regularly checking the geolocation software of packages feasible.
One suggestion is the implementation of systems to track all of a shipping company’s depots, and the packages that go through them, so that when a package does drop off the map it can be determined where in the process something went wrong.
This is a burgeoning technology, not yet as widely used as tracking options, but the capacity exists to allow a device that constantly monitors both a parcel’s location and the conditions around it in order to prevent loss or damage.
This is particularly exciting because it would mean that it may even be possible to retrieve a package that has simply been misplaced with a minimum of fuss, making things easier for delivery companies and customers alike. At the moment the technology in question is proprietary, but still available to any delivery company, so we expect to see its use grow over the next few years.
Image from http://www.iamwire.com/2016/09/necessity-of-deploying-automation-technology-in-logistics-management/141255