USPS (United States Postal Service) has had, on average (and in our experience and research) one of the most challenging 2-3 months moving packages through their systems. Part of this is some rough weather and part of it is likely the struggles with staffing, budgets and more. Adafruit ships over 20,000+ orders a month. We spend a lot of time doing detailed analysis of where packages are going, how long it takes and error rates like damaged packages and more.
The results? USPS is slower than it’s ever been for status updates and deliveries. In the graphic above you can see a common issue, a customer places an order and we ship it, usually same day or close to depending the type of shipping selected. Each day the USPS picks up thousands of packages from us, about 2 blocks from their New York City hub, it’s one of the biggest (and fastest). Usually this works out great, 99% of the customer internationally and domestically get packages via USPS from Adafruit faster than other companies, however the speed and accuracy of the status updates and delivery is slowing down. For some states in the USA there can be an extra 4-5 day delay for unexplainable reasons, a package will leave Adafruit and the status updates do not appear for days (and once and awhile weeks). With as many orders as we have a small percentage of these issues is expected, however, it’s increasing.
In the graphic above the customer would rightly assume the package never left Adafruit, but that’s not correct, it left on the 8th of March and then as the customer later told us “magically appears” 5 days later and finally scanned in. What should have happened is at least one scan in NYC or elsewhere indicating the postal service has the package. Most customers understand that the postal service doesn’t always do a great job, but we also have some very passionate customers convinced their packages did not leave, we do our best to explain, but sometimes it’s very challenging. Thankfully, that’s very rare and our smart community understands and have also helped us gather data on speed and accuracy of the USPS system.
We will continue to work with the USPS to find solutions and give them information we have so they can work on their systems. We are fans and supporters of the postal system, it’s one of the most amazing things our society has created, we’re hoping this is a temporary slow down and will be resolved soon. As always, if you need something with the best tracking and delivery use our UPS options, for orders over $200 we have free UPS ground in the contiguous USA and we’re on track to be adding more options and tiers of shipping soon too.
Ladyada and the Adafruit team
Update: 11/4/14 – This continues to be an ongoing issue, here’s another example – a package will “sit” for days without an update from USPS and the customer believes we did not ship their order, days later it appears and moves to the destination.
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