Do you have any idea of the activities that take place from the moment you place your order for a product through an online store, and the credit card company completes the transaction process, to the time the courier company delivers it to you? Products are not stored on servers. On a typical basis, the server of the online store forwards the details of your purchase to the merchant, who packs the goods in a carton, and affixes a computer generated & bar coded self adhesive label on it? A logistics company takes care of the pickup and delivery process. The computer generating the label forwards an email and a SMS to them and they send their staff to the merchant to pick up the consignment.
Assorting and forwarding to the local hub
A high quality company has several branches (termed as hubs) in each city they provide their services to. The consignment first goes to the hub located nearest to the merchant. The personnel of the company in question scans the barcodes on the labels fixed on different packages using a handheld scanner attached to a computer, which is a part of a massive network of computers belonging to the company. The computer generates a tracking number and emails it to the merchant, the online store, the destination hub, and to the customer. Their staff then sorts the individual consignments collected from different merchants into separate groups, depending on their destination point, packs them inside a container, and transports them in weatherproof vehicles to the central hub, generally located near the airport or railway station.
Sorting, storing, and despatching
Once the containers reach the central hub, its staff opens them, sorts packages based on their destination, repacks them in large containers and stores them on vertical steel racks, with the help of forklifts. A ladder is used to store the goods on the rack in case there is a solitary package for a specific destination. It is essential that the aisle between the racks provide enough space to allow free movement of forklifts and personnel. Following this, a special vehicle transports the containers to the airport or railway station. The employees of the company uploaded these containers on to the aircraft or the train. A small mistake can result in containers, containing numerous individual packages, being transported to a wrong destination.
Arrival and delivery
Once the containers reach the destination city, it is taken to the central hub of the company in that city where the containers are opened, the packages sorted according to different zones, and then transported to the appropriate hubs, from where it is delivered to the client. Post delivery, an acknowledgement is sent to the hub of origin as well as to the merchant, the recipient, and the seller. The entire process, from the time the client places the order to the time he receives it, takes 24 to 48 hours and requires lots of coordination. Only experienced and professional companies can undertake this task flawlessly.