How Do Courier Companies Work?

Courier companies are similar to the usual mailing service – they help transport products & goods from A to B. They are a great alternative to the regular mailing services present since they specialize in transporting and delivering packages efficiently, enabling things such as same-day delivery.

It gets complicated when you factor in the millions of people sending things around via courier services.

So how do courier companies work and manage to get products from one side of the world to the other?

Getting Goods From A to B

A courier company, be it big or small, get their goods from A to B by being efficient with their functioning. Here’s how a courier service functions –

  • Pickup
  • Sorting & Shipping
  • Tracking
  • Delivery

Let’s go through each in detail.


Courier services have from a few drivers to a fleet of trucks, trailers, ships and aeroplanes for getting the packages to and from anywhere in the world. Bigger players even have their very own airfields or sections of airports allotted just for them.

When an order is placed, a driver is sent to pick up the package. However, courier companies take into account different factors such as the position of the driver, and their next destination in case they have a delivery to make and prioritise accordingly by sending the driver closest to the pick-up location.

Sorting & Shipping

The collected packages are then taken to the local depot where it is consolidated before being sent to local sorting hubs. The local sorting hubs then separate goods according to various factors such as –

  • Domestic & International Shipping
  • Distance
  • Date of receiving & Date of delivery
  • Priority
  • Type of goods
  • Package size
  • Package weight

These factors are used to separate packages that are similar to one another for easier transportation and inventory management. Once sorted, the packages are prepped for being transported.


When it comes to transportation, every package must be kept track of at all times. This requires the employment of tracking software and services. These services not only help the couriers keep track of their cargo, but also allows customers to individually track their package location and method of delivery.

Here’s the basic rundown on how a courier package is usually tracked with such accuracy –

  • Bar Code Generation – Every courier package is assigned a bar code which contains all the required details such as the place of origin, destination, and type of cargo and so on.
  • Bar Codes Scans – The bar code is scanned at every point of entry and exit, and this data is constantly being stored and update on the tracking system software. This can then be utilized to provide progress to customers and even to find out lost packages.


This process is the same as pick up but in the reverse order. The package arrives at the destination’s sorting hub where all are further sorted out and sent to their respective local depots.

The drivers then pick the packages from the local depots to deliver it to destined addresses.

Final Thoughts

This just encapsulates the basic workings of courier services and most of the players in the field use technologies such as AI and big data to optimise and obtain maximum efficiency.

Take Amazon and their same-day delivery for example – it uses various methods which all work in tandem to deliver the customer’s product within 24 hours from when it was purchased online. Amazon tracks right from the moment a customer starts searching for the product and the algorithms and its set of highly efficient ERP software start talking with each other in microseconds to see if the product is available at the local depot closest to them. Not only that, but Amazon also uses predictive analytics model that will pre-ship the products to the destination warehouse before even customer ordered by taking into account factors such as previous demand on a per-day basis.

Courier services are 24×7 operations, with a constant inflow and outflow of parcels all making their way, steadily, to and from their intended destinations. The rise of ecommerce industry has led to true growth of courier and shipping industries.

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