How Does Overnight Delivery Work? The Journey of an Overnight Package, From Shipped to Delivered

Contrary to what you might think, Overnight Delivery is not just a delightful 90’s romantic comedy starring a young Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. It is also a great way to get those important packages to your desired destination lightning fast!

Mail is not processed the way it was even 15-20 years ago. Much of the mail processing is now done autonomously through the use of machines and conveyor belts. This allows for the process to be extremely streamlined, allowing your packages to reach their destination much quicker than in years past.

But how exactly does overnight delivery work? How does your package get from where you are to where she is in only a day?

Continue reading to find out!

What Goes Into Overnight Delivery?

There are a lot of moving parts that go into making sure your package arrives when you want it to. Whether you want it to arrive in a week or tomorrow afternoon, the process is very precise.

Gone are the days of waiting 7-10 business days for a package. People want their stuff and they want it now, and with the continued evolution in the mail delivery process, this is 100% possible.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

The first step in the process of having your package delivered overnight is figuring out which delivery service you are going to use. We’ve all heard of the big names such as FedEx, UPS, and of course USPS.

But those are not your only delivery options, especially if you are needing something delivered somewhat locally.

Once you’ve figured out who you will be using for your delivery, you will need to figure out what there cut off time is for next day delivery.

You will want to make sure you get your package in the mail before that cut off to make sure it arrives at your desired time the next day. This leads us to the next step.

When you have figured out who you want and when you need the package in by, you will generally have the option of what time of day you want the package delivered the following day.

The earlier you want it delivered, the more expensive the delivery will be. But depending on what you might be delivering, being able to ship something overnight could be worth the extra money to make sure it arrives as quickly as possible.

The Delivery Service Has Your Package, Now What?

Once your package has been either picked up or dropped off, the sorting process begins. This is generally a 2-3 step process based on the package’s size, where it’s going and which service you’ve chosen. 

A barcode is then applied to your package. Think of this barcode as a form of GPS. Every time your package arrives at a certain location, the barcode is scanned.

This is how you receive those wonderful tracking update alerts letting you know what step of the delivery your package is in. It is also a form of security which can make it easier to track down if something gets mixed up. Knowing the package’s last location can allow for quick recovery. 

Who would have thought that when Norman Joseph Woodland invented the bar code in the sand, that it would be used decades later to send you text alerts on your cell phone!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The method in which your package will be delivered is determined by how far it will be traveling. Let’s use UPS as an example.

If your package is going to be traveling more than 200 miles away, it will travel by air. But if your package is being delivered less than 200 miles away, it will travel by truck.

As stated earlier, much of the processing is now handled by autonomous machines that scan the various barcodes and determine where the package needs to go next. These robots aren’t quite Rosie from The Jetsons, but they do a great job helping get your package to where you want it both quickly and efficiently.

Considering how many packages are being delivered every single day, it’s mind-boggling to think about how many people it takes to make sure everyone’s packages are delivered on time.

Sort It, Just Sort It!

Once your package has arrived in the city you’ve sent it to, workers scan the labels and determine which driver is going to deliver your package.

This may seem simple, but when there are hundreds and even thousands of packages arriving daily, it’s pretty incredible how these workers are able to get everything sorted in a timely manner.

Of course, mistakes happen, but considering the sheer volume of packages being delivered these days due to online megastores such as Amazon, it’s truly remarkable how all of these packages arrive when and where they are supposed to. It’s easy to toss your package in the mail and not realize how much goes into it, but now you know!

To Overnight and Beyond

Overnight delivery has made doing business so much faster and significantly more efficient. But it has also made getting those last second packages out so much easier.

That means no more missing important birthdays or anniversaries of the ones you love, but don’t live by. It also means it’s a lot easier to get something to somebody in an emergency.

Now some of you might be sitting there thinking, “What if I need to deliver something to somebody immediately within my city, but I don’t have the time to do it?”

Overnight delivery is the tip of the iceberg. It is now possible to have packages delivered the very same day that you put it in the mail. Crazy, right?!

Same day delivery is now being offered by an estimated 65% of retailers. It is not just a concept anymore. It is a reality and one that is growing every single year.