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07 Oct 2022

The Journey of a Parcel on a Same-Day Delivery

More than 131 billion parcels are delivered globally in a year—an equivalent of 4,160 parcels per second. To cope with such an enormous volume of parcels, postal and courier services have devised procedures that are followed almost universally. 

In this article, we trace the typical package delivery steps that Shipa Delivery takes to execute a same day delivery, and which are followed in similar fashion by same day delivery companies the world over.

Same Day Delivery: A Brief Explanation 

Same day delivery is a leading logistics concept in this age of digital commerce that puts incredible power in the hands of consumers. Therefore, before we go any further, it makes sense to briefly define the term to dispel any ambiguity.

Same-day Delivery takes place when orders are delivered within a few hours, or at the very least, on the day that they are purchased. Already a growth concept even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic has only accelerated consumer demand for same-day delivery services.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the explanation, let’s move on to explore the three typical steps in the process of package delivery when dispatch and receipt take place on the same day.

Please note that because every same day delivery provider does things slightly differently, the process we discuss in this article is the standard operating procedure followed by our team here at Shipa Delivery.

Step 1. The Delivery Order

The parcel’s journey begins as soon as our customer places a single or bulk order through our website or dedicated App. The order tells us that the customer has a package, or several packages, awaiting collection from a specific location and same day delivery to a specific recipient.

Shipa Delivery’s business customers have access to a sophisticated online dashboard that includes a function for creating delivery orders. If the customer has API Integration with our system, the orders will automatically be submitted to us and will appear on the customer’s Shipa dashboard.

Step 2. The Pickup

Once the collection address is verified, our driver will head off to do the pickup. In the GCC, the pickup cut-off time for same day delivery is generally 12 noon but may vary depending on the emirate or country.

Prior to collection by our driver, the customer’s package(s) will have the status “pending” on the Shipa dashboard.

Before accepting the package(s), the driver will validate them against the manifest. Once the driver accepts the package(s), a ‘pickup completed’ confirmation will appear on the business customer’s dashboard.

Step 3. Transfer to Mobile Warehouses for Zoning

Once our driver (who we call a Delivery Assistant) collects the package (or group of packages in the case of a bulk delivery order), he or she will typically, bring it to our mobile warehouse from where we schedule and dispatch it for delivery to the end customer.

How long does a package stay at a distribution center? The answer depends on the nature of the goods (pharmaceuticals and heat sensitive items are given priority) and the final destination (items to be delivered the furthest will be dispatched ahead of those bound for nearby destinations). In any case, there is little time to waste when deliveries must be on the day of dispatch, so no package remains in the distribution center for more than a few hours.

Step 4. The Delivery Attempt

Before setting off from our mobile warehouse the driver (Delivery Assistant) assigned to the delivery will contact the customer to advise that the parcel is on the way.

Communication is generally by way of an SMS delivery notification or use of a messaging App such as WhatsApp. However, in some cases it might also involve a telephone call or email.

Our policy is to make up to three delivery attempts for each order. After two failed deliveries, Shipa’s customer services team will call the end customer (intended recipient) to establish the reason for the failure and reschedule the delivery.

If the customer does not respond within three calls, an “action required” message will be sent to the sender’s dashboard. The message notifies the sender of the three failed delivery attempts and makes it clear that the sender must now assume the obligation to contact the intended recipient and arrange redelivery.

If Shipa Delivery receives no response to this “Action Required” email after six days, the flagged order will be returned to the sender on the seventh day.

8 Reasons for Failed Deliveries

Inevitably, some parcels fail to reach the intended recipient at the first delivery attempt. A 2021 study shows that eight percent of first attempts result in failed deliveries, at a cost to retailers of $17.20 (USD) per order.

Now let’s take a look at eight of the most commonly stated reasons for failed deliveries.

1. No Answer

The address on the order is unclear and the customer does not respond to a telephone call seeking clarification.

2. Invalid Address

The address registered with the order is incomplete, illegible, or incorrect.

3. Driver Emergency

 When the driver encounters an emergency on the road, such as a traffic accident, the unexpected closure of a street, a burst tire, or a mechanical failure.

4. Customer not Available

 The driver reaches the exact location, but the customer is not available.

5. Change of Address

The customer says they’re available at a different address/location than the one indicated on the order.

6. Payment Problem

The customer does not have the required money for a Cash on Delivery (COD) payment, the Credit Card on Delivery (CCOD) payment has failed, or the customer disputes the amount that should be paid.

7. ID Problem

This occurs if the driver is required to check the customer’s original ID document or passport before handing over the package but the customer refuses to provide the same.

8. Rejected by Customer

The customer changes her/his mind or experiences buyer’s remorse and rejects the delivery. At times, a customer may demand that the package be opened before accepting delivery. However, the driver cannot take the package back once it has been opened. The customer often then refuses to accept the parcel.

Other Last-Mile Delivery Challenges in the GCC

The occurrence of failed deliveries is not the only challenge facing last-mile delivery companies in the GCC. Other obstacles include poor infrastructure, haphazard urban road systems, and, for deliveries of heat-sensitive items, the intense temperatures in the summer.

For a detailed analysis of the challenges facing 3PL companies in the region, read our extensive blog post on the topic.

It might surprise you to learn of the challenges that must be overcome to get the right parcel into the right hands—and leave you wondering how last-mile logistics providers ever manage to deliver packages on the day of dispatch. That they do so is testament to the power of technology and the dedication of the men and women toiling tirelessly to make same-day delivery a reality.