UPS packages pass through multiple touchpoints when being shipped either domestically or internationally. These packages undergo processing and temporary storage during transit numerous times before finally being dispatched to their final destinations.
A status update that recipients often notice during transit is called “Warehouse Scan”. This status indicates that the package has been scanned into the warehouse and is soon ready to be delivered to the recipient. For international consignments, a warehouse scan means that the package is ready to undergo customs clearance before the final delivery.
To provide you with more context, we will further elaborate on the processes that occur during a warehouse scan and how this affects your delivery. We’ll also share some insights on how long it will usually take for you to receive your package at this stage.
What Activities Are Performed During a Warehouse Scan?
UPS packages undergo various activities during the warehouse scan stage. An overview is detailed below summarizing each step of this stage.
Initial Package Scan
The first step of this process is the initial scan which is done by UPS right after a batch of packages arrives at the warehouse. This typically entails scanning the barcode located on each of the package’s exteriors using a radio frequency scanner (often called an RF Scanner).
UPS scans all packages that enter a warehouse to maintain accurate inventory records and facilitate efficient order fulfillment by tracking package movements and storing information.
These details automatically flow into their internal inventory system for traceability and control. Scanning packages in a warehouse also enables UPS to organize and consolidate them with other packages destined for the same location, which ultimately streamlines the delivery process.
Sorting & Temporarily Storing
Once the packages have been scanned, UPS will start sorting the packages according to location, size, and specifications. They are then placed on a conveyor belt that connects various segments within their warehouse.
As UPS processes a significant amount of packages every day, these conveyor belts help reduce human errors and labor while improving internal transportation efficiencies. The conveyor belts would then transport the packages to another part of the warehouse for further processing and temporary storage.
Subsequent Package Scans
All packages at UPS will undergo several scans, which are typically done at key stages of their journey within the warehouse. Once the packages are picked from the storage location and dispatched, they are scanned a final time within the warehouse.
Import Scan (For International Shipments)
If the UPS package is being shipped internationally there will undergo an additional “Import Scan” once it arrives in the destination warehouse. These scans allow UPS to update their users that the package will go through the relevant import clearance procedures.
Purposes of Scans in UPS Warehouses
UPS performs warehouse scans multiple times on a single package. They do this for numerous reasons, which we have further elaborated on below:
- Tracking – Each scan informs the recipient of the package location throughout the entire delivery process. This also helps the delivery company update recipients on their package’s most recent location.
- Identification – The scans help UPS verify key details about the package. This includes information about the sender, recipient, and even its contents.
- Sorting – Scanning also helps UPS sort and segregate packages for the final delivery. The warehouse scan not only reduces human errors but also expedites the sorting process. Ultimately, Saving time on each package translates into lower operating costs for UPS.
- Inventory Control – Scanning also allows UPS to monitor the exact quantity of packages currently in their facility and the exact location of every single one.
How Long Does It Take for Your Package to Be Scanned?
UPS follows a relatively straightforward procedure when it comes to scanning packages within their warehouses. Each scan is initiated as soon as the UPS trucks are unloaded at the warehouse.
The barcode on each package is then scanned using a handheld scanner, where the shipment progress and inventory management systems are updated. While the information is transferred and stored instantaneously, the scanning processes take a few seconds.
However, it is possible for a customer to not receive an update for an extended period of time or even repeated warehouse scans. When this happens, it usually means the package is stuck or has been held in the warehouse.
How Long Does It Take for Your Package to Be Delivered?
The delivery times of UPS packages can differ significantly. It’s important to keep in mind that international deliveries typically take longer than domestic ones. This is because international shipments go through additional stages like customs clearance and multiple transits, which can add several days to the overall delivery time.
Domestic deliveries through UPS are usually quick and straightforward. These packages don’t have to go through customs clearance and are immediately scanned and sorted as soon as they enter the warehouse.
Once this process is complete, the package is dispatched via an efficient delivery route to its final destination. Recipients can expect to receive their package 2 to 4 days after it has undergone the warehouse scan.
International deliveries typically take longer than domestic ones because they must undergo import customs clearance and possibly multiple transits before they are delivered to recipients.
These additional steps and factors lengthen the entire shipping process by several days. Delays can also occur due to issues such as unpaid customs duties, packages containing restricted items, incorrect shipping details, or high delivery volume during peak seasons. In most cases, UPS customers can expect to receive their international shipments between 4 to 7 days after the warehouse scan.
Co-Founder & Writer
About the Author
Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 15 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.
As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.