The importantance of postcodes to couriers

We call them postcodes in the UK, they call them Zipcodes in the US, whatever they are known as, they are a set of information associated with an address which is often taken for granted. Postcodes are so important for deliveries, whether that be letters that your daily postman/women brings, or couriers who bring parcels. This article will take a closer look at the postcode and why it is so important.

The origins of the postcode go back as far as the 19th century. As the population began to expand around the world, more and more countries started introducing something which resembles today’s postcode, as a means of dividing up large areas of dense population, so those locations could be found more easily. The postcode differs depending on where you are in the world. Some parts of Europe for example only have a number format for their postcode. So, the central part of Barcelona’s postcode is 08002.

The UK postcode is a mixture of numbers and letters often split into two parts. The postcode for the library in Birmingham is B1 2ND. Depending on why the postcode is needed, the first part might be sufficient. Birmingham B1 gives an indication of the general area of location and some things such as elections, crime statistics etc are based on these larger postcode districts.  It is only when the full part of the postcode is added that it becomes specific to (usually) a road, and this helps narrow the location down very precisely.

Why are postcodes so important to couriers and generally?

The clue is in the information above. Having the correct postcode allows for specific roads and locations on those roads to be identified. This is critical for the postal service or for couriers who are delivering parcels. However, accurate postcodes are important for more reasons than this and as same day couriers, we are well aware of this. When it comes to a postal service or many courier services, there is an increasing amount of automation associated with the process. The postcode is asked for and delivery information is then automatically applied based on what is on a central system. An inaccurate postcode can mean inaccurate delivery information which causes some of the following issues…

What happens if postcodes are not accurate?

Inaccurate postcodes can cause a number of problems. Some of the most common include:

* Delays. Often an inaccurate postcode can be remedied by human interpretation, but this takes time and will cause delays in the mean time.

* Delivery to the wrong place. Sometimes postcodes can be very similar to other ones even within a small area such as the next street. This can easily lead to items being delivered to the wrong place.

* Loss of the item. As a worst-case scenario, a wrong postcode can cause the item to be lost completely which is no good for anyone. A trick worth remembering is to put the senders address on the item also so there is at least a back up option.

* Costs. This might not be thought of as a consequence of inaccurate postcodes, but if more work is required to deal with inaccurately addressed items, this can ultimately push up postal or courier costs for all, as it diverts companies time and resources away from their main operation.

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