Many people are used to the fact that package tracking is simple. But when they try to use more than one courier service, the problems appear – the tracking number looks somehow different, so there’s a feeling it can be incorrect. It’s normal if you have used only one postal service. However, it’s better to understand the reasons why they are different to avoid any inconveniences or errors related to the misperception of a tracking ID. The Pkge tracking service suggests some ideas to familiarize yourself with.
What Is a Tracking ID?
A code you get at a post office when you hand them your item for delivery is a tracking number. If you’re a recipient, you get this code from notification emails or seller messages.
This number is unique within a courier’s database because it is to identify your parcel among thousands of others. When your package is on the road, you can use the tracking number to find out where your package is geographically or at least learn its status. The difference between what information you can reach is the detailing available, and it varies depending on:
- the shipping mode is chosen (e.g., the cheapest or the urgent one);
- the carrier your parcel is shipped by (not all the services allow for live maps with detailed info on your package’s condition).
The more information you want, the more careful your preparations before sending should be. But first and foremost is to find out the correct tracking code so you can have access to information generally.
Why Do Tracking Codes Differ?
We mentioned only those number differences that result from disparities in different carriers’ work. However, a detailed list of what differs and why includes some more aspects:
- Carrier identification. The first few digits of a tracking number often identify the carrier responsible for the shipment. Different carriers have their own numbering systems to manage and track packages.
- Service type. Different shipping services offered by a carrier might have distinct tracking number formats. For example, standard ground shipping might have a different format than expedited or international shipping.
- Origin and destination. Some carriers encode information about the package’s origin and destination in the tracking number, making it unique to that specific route.
- Date and time. Some tracking numbers may include the date and time of the shipment’s initiation, helping carriers manage packages in chronological order.
- Package size and weight: Some carriers use variations in formats to categorize packages based on their size, weight, or type.
- Security and verification. Certain tracking numbers might include encrypted information for security or verification purposes, making them unique and hard to replicate. It’s particularly useful for valuable items in long-distance shipping.
- Barcode structure. Barcode systems often influence tracking number formats. Different barcode types and their corresponding data encoding can lead to varying tracking number formats. It comes from comfortable scanning options and tech that a courier company uses.
- Automated generation. Some carriers use automated systems to generate tracking numbers. The format might be influenced by their database structure, algorithms, or other internal factors.
- System upgrades. If a carrier upgrades its tracking system or changes its operations, it might result in updated tracking number formats. As the tech improves and services develop – tracking numbers evolve respectively.
- Region or country. Some carriers have separate tracking number formats for different regions or countries to manage their global operations efficiently.
- Contractual agreements. Some businesses that work with shipping carriers might have unique tracking number formats as part of their contractual agreements with the carrier.
- Technology changes. Advancements in technology might lead to changes in tracking number formats as carriers adopt new systems and tools.
These explain not only the differences in tracking numbers between the couriers or countries but also within the same shipping company. Moreover, tracking numbers change over time, so older formats become inconvenient for newer search systems.
As a regular postal service user, you shouldn’t be concerned too much about which information is coded by your courier’s tracking code, but it’s better to have a distinct understanding of what the format generally is.
Where to Learn the Format of Your Courier?
It’s quite easy to find out which format your postal service uses. In most cases, it’s enough to use one of the options below:
- Go to your courier’s office or contact customer service – the office workers will definitely give you an idea of what their tracking number looks like. While having a live conversation you can also ask them to verify the number through the system if you’re still not sure if the code you’ve found is the one you need.
- Go to your courier’s website – most solid postal service web pages have their own tracker for customers to use, and somewhere near the search bar they always write how the number should look like. If you can’t see anything like that, go to the FAQ section – it’s another page to look for answers.
- If your courier is a large-scale and popular company, you can try using independent tracking platforms connected to your courier’s database to find code format information. Independent platforms allow one to track packages carried by different services and to learn more about them – they create couriers’ presenting pages with all the vital info displayed. There you’re more likely to find a tracking ID format.
The only thing you should remember clearly is the difference between the tracking code and an order number. Tracking ID appears when the parcel comes to the postal service for the first time, so it’s the courier who issues a tracking number to a package. An order number is a shop’s identifying code that usually has nothing in common with a tracking ID.
Using the right codes in the system is the only way to get access to all the information you want to learn.