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Mon Aug 14 2017 22:39:48

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

By: Ina Steiner

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The US Postal Service may have some advantages over rival UPS, but tracking may not be one of them. And for online sellers - especially those selling on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, tracking is vitally important.

The USPS Office of Inspector General wrote a post about Mobile Delivery Devices, which are handheld scanners that the USPS uses to track package delivery in real time via GPS. In part, it wrote:

"The Postal Service has deployed 262,800 MDDs, software releases, and related accessories. To date, the Mobile Delivery Device program has improved package visibility and achieved a key metric of reducing repair costs and help desk costs that were associated with the Intelligent Mail Devices.

"However, our recent audit report found opportunities for the Postal Service to improve the MDD program and bring it closer to achieving all of the metrics set forth in its business case for investing in the devices."

The blog post generated several comments. In one, a shipper said he uses both USPS and UPS to ship what's classified as "dangerous goods." He said UPS appears to be better equipped to handle such goods.

He also noted that USPS has great pick-up and delivery options and are the cheapest option, while UPS charges more but has "impeccable" tracking service.

Another shipper pleaded for Postal carriers to be honest with their scans. "Customers understand weather conditions, illnesses and vehicle breakdowns! Customers understand that there will not always be 100% delivery on time! There is no need to falsify a scan and state an item was delivered when the package is at the post office and there is no intention of this item being delivered until the following day for a unit score!"

You can read the report and comments on the USPS OIG website. What do you think of USPS tracking? 




Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Aug 15 10:29:46 2017

I've only had a few packages that were scanned wrong over the past 5 years.

And in no way would I trust UPS with my packages, they're BRUTAL and they have a lot higher rate of internal thievery. . .

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 15 10:52:29 2017

I had an incident recently which was very troubling.

I belong to a Disney club which mails out club magazines four times a year. They arrive in very distinctive boxes, so I know what's inside when I see those boxes. I was looking out the window when my letter carrier dropped one of the boxes on the ground, then a second, then a third, and scanned all three as delivered. Since only my husband and myself should be receiving these, I immediately went to the door to see why there were three boxes.

I discovered that the third box was for a gal three streets to the south of me. I started walking as fast as I could to catch up with the letter carrier (who was our regular carrier, not a substitute), and when I showed him that he had delivered to the wrong address, his response was: "Duh!"

It's great that the carriers have their MDDs, but there should be a policy in place that they double-check that they are at the correct address before they scan an item, since there is no recourse for the intended recipient once the USPS records show delivered.  

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Aug 15 11:17:21 2017

@iheartjacksparrow

The USPS should issue a bar code for every address and that bar code would be for that address.

A carrier would have to scan the package and the address bar code that corresponds to the package address.

No more guessing where the carrier dropped off the package. . .

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 15 12:29:27 2017

@toolguy - That's actually a great idea. Put a bar code on the house's mail slot or mail box, and click, scan the bar code, and click, scan the package. Done.

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 15 17:08:38 2017

Every carrier's scanner is equipped with GPS accurate to 6'.  Carriers are instructed to scan the pkg as it's being delivered.  That coordinate is then recorded, with time, route and address intended.

If a package is misdelivered, that data can be instantly retrieved so to resolve the misdelivery.  

Incidentally, on a given route, there are already a series of barcodes at approximate 30 minute intervals.  These are Managed Scan Points.  Despite the obvious redundance regarding a carrier's specific location, mail or not, these addresses (codes) must be scanned too.  Because everything is timed.

Meaning a carrier in a hurry to meet time goals, sometimes assigned without regard to volume realities for that day, may potentially misdeliver.  Duh.  

Also, a significant number of lighter weight UPS  packages are actually delivered by the USPS, via UPS 'Shurepost'.  You probably knew that, right?  But in about 10% of the cases, that label is carelessly plastered across the USPS barcode.  Sometime it peels back clean, sometimes not. Meaning more unnecessary time needed to scan that particular package.  And for the route.  

Sure, it takes just a few seconds to scany a given code.  But multiply that by an average of 700 - 1000 addresses on a typical suburban route, and those seconds add up.  Thus the costs.  Thus the price of the service.  That's not good.  So they'll probably stick with GPS tagging.  

Speaking of service, did you know you could sign (the notice if sig. needed) for the package and get it next day?  USPS drops by every day.  No 'call' is required.  Unless you like that sort of thing.

Anyway, brilliant ideas above aside, your package is tagged to your door already, or mailbox, pr parcel locker - and even that level of detail is available now - or they'll know where it is, if not.  

One more observation - does UPS have a no cost address forwarding process?  If one can GET them to pick up a misdelivered package?  

If not, better be sure of the send to address.  You'd be amazed how many folks skip town and don't bother to change their address anywhere.  

That scan shows up as 'undeliverable as addressed' by the way.  Guess how many reasons there can be for that?

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 15 18:29:13 2017

The deal with the carrier scanning a package as delivered but actually being on a different street is nice. EXCEPT ITS SCANNED DELIVERED AND YOU LOSE A CASE IF YOU ARE THE BUYER.

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

by: Yebbasue This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 15 18:37:43 2017

UPS collects more data that makes their tracking much more complete and better - USPS cannot report Sender, Weight of Package and in some cases, UPS offers tracking of the actual truck the item is on for delivery.

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Aug 15 18:57:27 2017

Our last residence had a "Scan Point" bar code in our mailbox.

That's why I said they should have one at every house.

I didn't know their scanners were GPS enabled.

Maybe the USPS should consider giving the public that information on line.

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

This user has validated their user name. by: SalesBoy

Thu Aug 17 10:31:38 2017

While the USPS tracking isn't as feature-packed as that of the UPS, as an eBay seller I have to be honest. With very rare exceptions my packages have been accurately tracked to the best of my knowledge.

I've read here that Postal workers often fail to scan packages. I think that tends to be a local issue because my packages here in SE CT are scanned 99.9% of the time - really.

UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?   UPS Better than USPS at Tracking?

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 18 13:49:03 2017

This topic brings back memories of my four years in south Florida as a courier delivering packages mostly picked up at Miami airport and delivered north and south of Miami.

Early one morning, I picked up a small number of packages to be delivered starting in downtown Miami all the way up to West Palm Beach.  A long distance but paid by the stop and mileage, it would be a most profitable morning for me.

Hours later, I finally reach the last delivery address in West Palm Beach.  Reaching for that last package in the back of my van, I noticed that this package was addressed to be delivered in Ft. Lauderdale.  Crapola!  I dropped off the wrong package in Ft. Lauderdale.  Rats!!!

I radioed to the courier company owner that he needed to rush over to the Ft. Lauderdale address, retrieve the package, and drive up to West Palm Beach and delivery it, pronto!

The juicy fee for delivering the West Palm package would go to the owner and I would return home with squat.

As anyone who has run an Internet business knows ''poop happens''.

Fortunately for me, in my yearly shipment of 4 to 5 hundred eBay and Etsy orders, maybe one goes astray.  Thanks USPS!



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