How UPS, FedEx, USPS Plan Their Delivery Routes?

keyKey Takeaways:
  • While planning its delivery routes, UPS, FedEx, and USPS take into account package volume, delivery windows, truck capacity, and traffic patterns.
  • In order to streamline their processes and increase efficiency, delivery companies also make use of a wide range of additional technology, including telematics, GPS tracking, and warehouse management systems.
  • Delivery companies use real-time data and driver feedback to modify their routes and react to unforeseen changes in demand or traffic.
  • For delivery organizations to exceed customer expectations, cut costs, and enhance performance, effective route planning is essential.

It is an era of digitalization where everything accumulates in one’s hands. People get what they want using their smartphones and the internet. This era has not only helped individuals but also businesses. Communication, data collection, and connectivity have helped every business sector grow and widen its boundaries.

When talking about logistics, in the 1900s, packages took weeks and sometimes a month to get delivered. But now same-day delivery and two days delivery is a normal thing. FedEx, UPS (United Parcel Service), and USPS (United States Postal Service) are the delivery giants who gave logistics a new face.

Do you wonder how UPS, FedEx, USPS plan their delivery routes? This blog will give you detailed information on how these companies operate and manage long hauls.


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Route Planning Process Followed By FedEx

FedEx is one of the largest logistics companies dealing with domestic and international couriers. They deliver over 6 million packages to 400 destinations via 650 planes daily. 

The reason behind the success of FedEx home delivery is they have a wide logistics network, superhubs, delivery vehicles, delivery drivers, and FedEx ground staff that makes shipping overnight possible. From cargo planes to smaller planes to trucks and then at your doorstep, steps involved in a delivery process.

They follow the following steps:

1. Sorting Routes by Zip Code 

FedEx drivers sort packages by zip code, which makes it easier to cover the particular areas by particular drivers and vehicles. Then make deliveries along a route in the same general area. 

They begin sorting the day’s packages when they arrive at the hub and continue sorting as the day goes on. Drivers finish sorting between 8 and 10 a.m. and leave for their routes at 11 a.m. FedEx routes are planned with the closest package delivered first and the farthest to last.

2. Pile up Packages According to Drivers and Routes

Pile up Packages According to Drivers and Routes

When the drivers arrive at the hub, the packages are already pilled up, and they need to load them on trucks after scanning. Before loading, they scan the barcodes given on the package, and only those packages will be scanned, which are under the drivers’ route. If the package does not belong to the driver’s route, the scanner will alert them by making beep sounds.

Route Planning Process Followed by UPS

UPS delivers to 220 territories globally with the help of more than 500,000 employees. According to a press release by UPS (2019), the delivery volume of UPS was about 5.5 billion packages varying from documents to owned and leased jets even. They have precise route planning before delivery drivers dispatch trucks for the delivery. A package passes through various processes before it reaches your doorstep.

1. Data Analytics and Route Optimization

Data Analytics and Route Optimization

For years they have been gathering data and analyzing it to come up with some ways to improve their business. To meet the constantly increasing demand of the customers, UPS came up with their route optimization software named ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation). 

The motive behind proposing the new system is to save fuel and time and deliver faster than before.One mile we save per driver per day across all drivers in UPS in the course of one year will save UPS in excess of $60 million” said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer at UPS.

2. Curbside Delivery

One of the major methods of their delivery system is they only pick up or deliver parcels that come on their right side along the way. This method makes them deliver without taking any stops midway.

Also, it helps to pass signals because even at a red light, the vehicle can turn right. UPS plans routes for every truck so that every area is covered, and every truck follows curbside delivery. This method helps them save on fuel costs and ease the delivery process for UPS drivers.

Route Planning Process followed by USPS

USPS is a postal service governed by the federal government of the US. USPS operates over 31,000 local post offices and delivers over 140 billion pieces of mail annually. USPS carries outs the journey of a courier from the mailbox or a local post office to the delivery destination.

1. Priorities and Planning

Priorities and Planning

The USPS has hundreds of thousands of employees to keep track of, so they needed a system that could help them stay organized. That’s where a routing plan comes in. It’s basically like a schedule that helps the USPS decide what to do with each employee on any given day. 

Their routing plans are divided into two parts: the “day-before” plan, which is what mail carriers will be doing the day before their route starts (like sorting mail or taking packages to different postal facilities), and the “daily” plan, which is what they’ll actually be doing on their route (delivering mail or packages). The daily plan is broken down into sections called “runs,” which are determined by location. Each run corresponds with a certain amount of time that it should take for employees to finish it.

2. DBCS and Route Optimization

Efficiency is one of the most important measures of success for any business. USPS makes efficiency a top priority by optimizing routes and delivery times based on the amount of mail, location of each delivery, and carrier experience. The Postal Service uses several different types of software to help achieve this efficiency level.

One such software system is called Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS). This software takes the barcodes on each piece of mail and sorts them into the best possible sequence for delivery. 

DBCS works along with other systems in the process—Automated Package Processing System (APPS), which sorts packages by size and weight, and Automated Flats Sorting Machine (AFSM), which sorts flat mail by size. This creates a foundation for efficient distribution of all mail types, including First-Class letters and Priority Mail packages.

The final step in optimizing routes is also the most critical: using 360-degree cameras to photograph every single address in America. That’s right—every mailbox has been photographed, including yours! 

These photos help carriers learn their routes faster, which saves time and helps improve accuracy when completing your deliveries. It even helps couriers plan holiday deliveries more effectively—with over 900 million pieces sent during the holidays alone.

How does Route Planning Software Help in Delivery Process?

Route planning is the heart of delivery services. The delivery process involves picking up or receiving items from the suppliers and then delivering them to a particular location. The process is complex since there are various stages involved, such as pick-up, warehousing, inventory, distribution, and delivery.

Once the company has received the goods, they are stored in a warehouse temporarily. This can be done by loading the goods in different trucks, then driving them to the warehouse and unloaded. From there, they are stored until they are ready for distribution. If you own a delivery business, you can explore different ways to plan a delivery route using route planning software effectively.

The route planning software allows you to manage multiple routes easily and efficiently. You may have more than one warehouse from where you can deliver your products. With this software, you can create separate routes for each warehouse and add all your contacts separately to each route. It helps in minimizing the time taken for deliveries as well as fuel costs.

Learn what is a delivery route planner and how it helps your business.


USPS is not operational on Sundays. Meanwhile, Saturday delivery functions just like other weekdays.

Your courier can arrive anytime between 9 AM to 7 PM on weekdays – Monday to Saturday. However, Sunday delivery is available for limited locations only and not all locations.

There are no fixed rates proposed by any companies. However, prices may vary depending on the destination location, courier weight, and urgency of the delivery.

FedEx Ground deals with the delivery of packages weighing less than 150 lbs to business or commercial addresses.
FedEx Home Delivery is the part of FedEx Ground that delivers packages weighing less than 150 lbs to residential addresses. With FedEx appointment home delivery, you can schedule the delivery between 9 AM to 8 PM.

Generally, the estimated delivery time is calculated, considering all the circumstances. But sometimes, due to unexpected circumstances, it may vary.

How does Upper Route Planner Ease the Process of Route Planning?

Upper Route Planner is designed to focus on the consequences faced by the customers, logistics companies, and delivery drivers. Basically, it is a route optimization software that optimizes the best route for your vehicles or optimizes last-minute wedding favor delivery changes, keeping in mind the factors like delivery destinations, traffic, weather, etc. 

It eliminates the hassle of manual planning, which eradicates the room for any errors. With its algorithm, Upper Route Planner proffers a route that uses less fuel and helps the delivery man deliver more couriers in less time. Admin can add up to 500 stops in just 5 minutes. 

Ultimately, Upper Route Planner makes a win-win situation for all, customers, delivery men, and the logistics company. Upper Route Planner facilitates paperless proof of delivery when the deliveryman marks the packages delivered. So Upper Route Planner holds an important role from the beginning to the end of the delivery process.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.