Courier services help companies and individuals with the delivery ofimportant documents, packages and other items. Courier services are used for expedited delivery, tracking and security of the items being shipped.
Courier services have been used for centuries. In the early days, courier services relied on messengers to deliver telegrams and other messages by foot, horse or bicycle. United Parcel Service (UPS), founded in 1907, is the oldest courier service company. Courier services became an increased need because companies needed to ship items from one location to another. Other courier companies like FedEx were founded in the 1970s. The growth of international business has increased the competition among courier services. Today's larger courier services often use a sophisticated network of systems to deliver items.
Courier services provide companies and individuals with an alternative to the government-operated United States Postal Service. Courier services usually are more expensive than the U.S. Postal Service. On the other hand, courier service companies that compete directly with the U.S. Postal Service typically have faster delivery times. The U.S. Postal Service and competing courier services have similar security options for tracking items and signature requirements.
Courier services can be huge, like DHL and UPS, or local. Local courier service companies operate in one particular city or municipality. Small courier services typically deliver packages by bicycle, scooter or motorcycle. Local courier services can experience high business volume in large cities like Chicago and New York. These big cities have companies that need documents and packages delivered to other locations in the same city, often on the same day.
Larger courier services operate on a national and international level. Large courier services use a network of centers strategically placed throughout the globe and transport large packages and other items by plane, train and automobile. There are some courier services like Overseas Courier Service which specialize specifically in overseas package delivery. UPS is the largest courier service today.
Parcel tracking is another type of modernization that has revolutionized the courier industry. Using a system based on Global Positioning System technology, parcel tracking software automatically records and updates the real-time location of every package. All of this information is stored in databases that can be accessed online, thus allowing customers to have easy access to information about their parcels, day or night.