There’s always a little bit of worry when you shop online.
Will you get your item on time?
To help ease some of your concerns, carriers like FedEx offer tracking information.
The information tells you the general location of the package and its proximity to your address.
That said, you may wonder how accurate FedEx’s tracking system is.
Is FedEx Tracking Accurate? (10 Reasons It Is)
1. Tracking Begins When The Carrier Picks It Up
One way that FedEx tracking is accurate is because it only starts once FedEx has the package.
Depending on who you buy from, there might be some time before the order ships.
The seller might need to make the product if it’s handcrafted and made to order.
The seller also needs to process the product.
It has to go in a box and have all the packing information included with it.
Once the seller has processed the order, they can start the shipping process.
FedEx might not get their hands on it until later.
For example, if the order is coming from Amazon, then the package may cover a long distance via plane before it arrives at a pick-up center.
It’s only here that FedEx can finally get their hands on it.
Other times, the seller gives the package directly to FedEx.
Once FedEx has the package and puts it on their truck, the tracking begins.
This helps make them more accurate because they’re not responsible for processing part of the order.
You can get that information from the seller.
Once FedEx has your package, they let you know about it.
2. Careful Labeling
Another way that FedEx keeps itself accurate in its tracking is with careful labeling.
They use a labeling system that’s easily scannable and tells the driver exactly where they need to go.
Each driver has a specific route that they take to deliver the packages.
The codes on the label tell the computer the most efficient route to take.
The truck is also loaded in such a way to follow along the route efficiently.
This allows drivers to pull the package off right from the start instead of having to dig deep inside the truck.
The code on the label has all the information that a FedEx driver needs to know.
It makes the process go smoothly, which means there are fewer delays.
Fewer delays mean more accurate tracking.
The labels are also durable and very sticky.
They adhere well to boxes and can resist some water damage.
That way, even if the driver finds a leak in their truck, the labels on the packages should survive most situations.
Thanks to their informative labels, FedEx can streamline their routes and arrive on time according to the tracking information.
3. Experienced Drivers
FedEx tracking is accurate is because of its experienced drivers.
FedEx employs thousands of drivers whose sole responsibility is to make sure that packages arrive on time.
Sometimes, there are two people in the truck.
One might be training the other or they both might be working the route to make them more accurate and efficient.
Drivers help make the tracking accurate because they can think quickly on their feet.
Their experience as delivery drivers enables them to know what to do if they face a delay.
For example, if they know that a particular part of town has a lot of traffic at that time of day, then they know they need to take a different route.
This ensures that they avoid the delay and deliver the package on time.
Other experienced drivers may have more confidence driving in bad weather.
If the roads are snowy, for example, then an experienced driver may have the confidence to drive on them.
Others might wait a few hours for the roads to clear or become less slick.
The driver with confidence is able to deliver their packages on time and maintain accuracy.
Drivers who aren’t as confident cause a delay in the delivery which means the tracking isn’t as accurate.
FedEx has experienced drivers who work hard to deliver their packages according to the time or date in the tracking information.
4. Truck Maintenance
It doesn’t matter how accurate everything else might be.
If the delivery truck is in disrepair, then the deliveries are going to be late.
To avoid that and ensure their tracking remains accurate, FedEx regularly maintains its delivery vehicles.
They even have some spares available if the driver’s truck has to go into the shop for an extended time.
This ensures that the driver can continue to deliver packages even if their usual truck is in the shop.
That said, a good way to avoid major delays due to repairs is to maintain delivery vehicles.
FedEx has its trucks regularly inspected and maintained.
By keeping them efficient, they can avoid breakdowns more often.
Considering how far FedEx trucks travel and how many miles they take on, maintenance is a crucial part of their business operations.
By keeping their trucks well-maintained, they can avoid delays that impact the accuracy of their tracking information.
5. Past Delivery Data
FedEx uses a lot of data generated in the past to predict tracking times in the future.
One of the pieces of data that they consider is past delivery times.
If they have frequent customers who use FedEx or if they serve a certain area frequently, then they can start to generate data about that address or area.
The more deliveries that are taken to that area, the more accurate the data.
The data usually consists of information like the average size of packages, the average number of packages, and the time it took for those packages to arrive.
From that data, predictive models can be created.
If, for example, a household orders 10 packages from FedEx over time, and all those packages around noon, then it’s likely that their future packages are going to arrive around noon, too.
As such, the individual might receive tracking information that predicts that they’ll receive their package at noon on a certain day.
By looking at past deliveries, FedEx can start to formulate accurate predictions for future delivery dates and times.
The data drives their accuracy.
6. Weather Data
Another type of data that FedEx collects that helps drives its accuracy is weather data.
They collect data about the weather and how it affects their delivery times.
For example, FedEx will examine the number of deliveries to a certain address and compare them to a weather forecast.
If the weather was rainy on a few days they made the deliveries, then they’ll compare that time with sunny days.
If there’s a difference, then this tells FedEx that the rain might cause a slight delay in the arrival of a package in that type of weather.
They can then update the tracking information to reflect that delay.
The same goes for examining an area if it’s snowing.
They’ll compare the time it took for the delivery driver to arrive at the address when it’s snowing versus when it’s sunny.
That information gives them a general idea of how long the delay might last.
This allows them to generate a tracking time and date that accounts for the weather.
During the winter, for example, FedEx might lean towards predictive models that favor snow and icy conditions.
That might mean that your tracking information shows a date or time that’s a little bit later than in the summer.
By examining weather data, FedEx makes its tracking information more accurate.
7. Traffic Data
A final type of data that FedEx uses to make its tracking more accurate is traffic data.
This is important data because traffic can cause serious delays.
If the traffic is due to an accident, then it may be an outlier outside of the rest of the data collected.
This tells FedEx that it’s unlikely that the tracking information needs to change too much to reflect that.
However, if the traffic is congested, then it could have a serious impact on how accurate their tracking is.
If the data shows that the FedEx driver is consistently later than what the tracking information shows due to traffic, then they’ll update their model to reflect that.
This gives the recipient a better idea of what time and day the driver will actually arrive at their address.
Traffic is a bit more variable than some other types of data.
Unless it’s congestion, there can be any number of causes for traffic.
A car could have broken down, there may have been an accident, or the police may be using the roadway for something.
Whatever the reason, FedEx uses traffic data to make its tracking information accurate.
8. Scan And Go
FedEx has a specific protocol that it uses to update tracking information.
As the delivery driver makes deliveries, they scan the packages.
This tells the database that the package has arrived.
That then tells the database that the next package is a priority.
It moves up the delivery line and the tracking information is updated.
This is a great way to make the tracking information accurate because it gives the recipients a better idea of where their package is on the route.
However, not all drivers scan or update the information.
If they’re in a hurry, for example, then they might forgo some of the steps involved in delivering packages to try and make up some time.
Unfortunately, this might be why you don’t have updated tracking information until the package suddenly arrives at your door.
That said, the drivers that do scan help the tracking remain accurate.
Besides drivers scanning the packages, the main updating for tracking comes from FedEx facilities.
Whenever a package arrives at a FedEx facility, someone scans it into the system.
This tells the database that it’s arrived at the facility and is due for departure.
You usually get an update with your tracking information about when your package arrives at a facility.
This is an accurate part of their tracking system because the facility is responsible for sorting the packages.
Depending on where it falls in the shipping chain, it either puts the package on a big truck to take to another facility for sorting or on a small truck for delivery.
Either way, it’s an official checkpoint that updates the tracking.
Because of these checkpoints, FedEx is able to maintain accurate tracking.
10. Machine Learning
In 2021, FedEx unveiled plans to start implementing machine learning in its tracking systems.
Machine learning is a specific type of AI that combines with computer science.
It’s able to go through data and generate algorithms that are similar to how humans learn.
Basically, machine learning makes generating data and algorithms a lot more accurate.
By using it with their tracking system, FedEx can generate more accurate predictions for their tracking dates and times.
Machine learning will take all the data that the company has generated over time.
It will use that data to give a more accurate tracking date of delivery for the customer.
With this technology, FedEx hopes to one day be able to offer predictive dates of delivery before a consumer buys an item.
Amazon already does something similar.
FedEx is aware that some of its customers aren’t pleased with the inaccuracies of their tracking models.
It believes that by adopting machine learning technology, it can satisfy its customers’ demand for better tracking information.
FedEx has accurate tracking information that will become even more accurate because of machine learning.
Why Isn’t FedEx’s Tracking Information Accurate?
While FedEx is investing in itself to provide better, more accurate tracking information, it does have some way to go.
For example, when compared to UPS, FedEx’s tracking capabilities had lower rates.
Here are a few reasons FedEx’s tracking isn’t that accurate.
1. Major Checkpoints Only Update Tracking
Drivers aren’t that reliable when it comes to updating tracking information.
Some of their scans don’t even work to update the information.
Instead, FedEx relies on its facilities to update tracking information.
This doesn’t deliver the most accurate information because it can still take several days before a driver can pick up the package and deliver it.
For example, if a package arrives at a facility on a Friday, then tracking information updates.
The recipient of the package might look at their tracking information and see that the package is nearby.
They might think that they’re going to receive the package that day since there isn’t anything else telling them otherwise.
In reality, they won’t get it until Monday because FedEx doesn’t always deliver packages on Saturday.
Another reason facilities make tracking less accurate is there are only a few of them that the package passes through before it arrives at the recipient’s address.
It doesn’t give the recipient a good idea of the time it takes to pass from one to the other.
It also doesn’t tell them how close the facility is to their home.
Those who live closer are more likely to get their packages early, for example.
They’re reliant solely on the minimal information that the facility offers to then determine when they might get their package.
There are many types of delays that can occur at any time.
This makes it very difficult for FedEx to predict the time at which your package will arrive.
Machine learning can help make that more accurate, but since it’s still in testing mode at the moment, it isn’t widely available.
While FedEx is good at generating predictive models on general scales, when it comes to specific scales, it’s a lot more difficult.
Machine learning will help, but until then, delays are a major reason FedEx tracking isn’t accurate.
3. Lack Of Drivers
Finally, FedEx sometimes struggles with accuracy in its tracking due to a lack of drivers.
On a good day, FedEx has all the drivers it needs to handle the influx of packages that it receives.
These drivers can then take the packages and deliver them.
Unfortunately, FedEx has a shortage of drivers.
This impacts the accuracy of tracking because the predictive model uses the assumption that it has enough drivers to meet demand.
That isn’t the case.
Without enough drivers, there are packages left waiting for the next shift.
Due to a lack of drivers, FedEx’s tracking isn’t always accurate.
FedEx has a pretty accurate tracking system.
Their adoption of machine learning technology is going to make it even more accurate.
Eventually, they might be able to give buyers an idea of when they can expect a package before they make an order.