Everyone who ever made an order online knows this feeling, the fear that something has happened to your package. Thankfully, most of the time, the package eventually finds its way to you. But on some occasions, packages seem to vanish without a trace, never to be found again. In this blog post, we will try to investigate and hopefully solve the mystery of the lost packages and delve into the benefits of RFID for last mile deliveries.

How commonly do packages get lost?

Before we dive into the reasons behind package loss, let’s see how many packages disappear never to be found again. According to the reporters Winnie Hu and Matthew Haag, every day about 90,000 packages disappear without explanation in New York City alone while nationwide more than 1.7 million packages disappear every day.

And what about the UK? The UK has its own portion of troubles when it comes to packages lost in transit. In 2022, The UK saw the greatest increase in parcel issues worldwide. A report revealed that 32% of surveyed people had packages lost or stolen, this number amounts to around 21.5 million parcels.

Clearly, last-mile logistics is a worldwide struggle that affects millions of people, But why?

Why do packages get lost in transit?

Many reasons can cause package loss, here are the most common reasons:

Theft or pilferage

Unfortunately, theft by individuals within the delivery chain, whether it's from delivery personnel or external sources, remains a significant concern. So many packages are picked up and delivered every day, making individuals believe that “tiny theft” can go unnoticed and eventually will be explained as innocent loss.

Moreover, with numerous individuals unable to remain home for deliveries, resulting in packages being left unattended at their doorsteps, opportunistic thieves often seize upon this vulnerability to steal those parcels. Eventually, the recipient has no idea whether the package was delivered in the first place or stolen right after. Anyway, this problem keeps troubling countless shoppers and retailers as one.

Misrouting or incorrect address

Packages might be sent to the wrong address due to human error or incorrect information provided at the time of order placement, leading to potential loss. And unfortunately, once a package is delivered to the wrong person, the chances to get it back are pretty low.

Damaged packages

Another cause behind packages not reaching their intended recipients is the unfortunate reality that some of them simply don’t survive the journey. Some packages get severe damage from being crashed under many other (heavier) packages and sometimes from other accidents such as water or fire.

While some accidents are unpreventable, in most cases with a bit more caution and the help of technology those can be drastically reduced.

How RFID can reduce lost packages issue

Improved Tracking and Visibility

RFID tags attached to packages enable real-time tracking and monitoring throughout the delivery process. This enhanced visibility helps identify the exact location of packages at any given time, reducing the likelihood of loss. As the item departs the store or distribution center, gets collected by the logistics vendor, and is then transported by the delivery personnel to its ultimate destination. This not only reduces human errors but also helps reduce thefts.

Efficient sorting and routing

RFID technology speeds up the sorting process in warehouses and distribution centers. It enables automated sorting based on destination, ensuring quicker and more accurate routing, which reduces the chances of misrouting and package loss.

Streamlined proof of delivery (POD)

RFID enables instant and automated proof of delivery. When the package is delivered and the RFID tag is scanned, it provides real-time confirmation, reducing disputes over delivery and improving customer satisfaction.

In addition, if the package wasn’t delivered, RFID can help find the last place it was scanned and search for it quickly. Thanks to the fact that RFID doesn’t require line of sight, you can simply search for lost packages with a scanner. This can help find small parcels that got lost behind other items.

In conclusion, the mystery of lost packages in last-mile delivery is a global concern affecting millions of shipments daily. While most packages eventually reach their destination, a significant number vanish without explanation, causing distress to both consumers and retailers.

The reasons behind these disappearances vary from theft and misrouting to package damage during transit. However, amidst these challenges, RFID technology emerges as a beacon of hope. With its ability to enhance tracking, improve sorting processes, and provide real-time proof of delivery, RFID stands as a powerful solution to minimize lost packages. Its implementation not only ensures better visibility and accuracy but also offers a promising way forward in addressing the persistent issue of lost packages in the last-mile logistics chain.