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October 18, 2012

Package Tracking

Years ago I was happy to get a tracking number for a package and merrily monitor is movements around the world as it progressed towards me. It was often surprising to see that it's status was thoroughly logged and updated within seconds or minutes of being moved or handled. Now, several years later, the process seems to have regressed. Details of movements are sparse, lacking and often missing, tracking status events much less frequent and updates often hours behind real time. It should be easier to provide tracking status these days than years ago with an assortment of cost effective mobile devices and ubiquitous wireless networks, so why the down turn? The info that is provided is often unclear, for example "The package has been delivered to (depot|retail location)" with no indication of which location they are actually referring to, it could be almost anywhere. The tracking status information has often become useless as the data either isn't ever presented or is presented too late to mater. It's not uncommon for a tracking entry to only contain a record of the shipper creating the shipment, no pickup information, no transit information and no delivery information. It's really not tracking anything other than a shipping request exists at that point. It also means it becomes more difficult to coordinate receiving or picking up a package and tends to increase the shipping latency.

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Created By: Steven Nikkel (steven_nikkel@ertyu.org)
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