In 2020 alone, the United States Postal Service (USPS) handled more than 129.2 billion pieces of mail.
52.6 billion pieces of that mail was first class mail, which means that millions and millions of pieces of mail moved through USPS Regional Facilities each and every single day on their way to their final destination.
That’s a lot of letters and packages!
The USPS also really statistics showing that they have 231,000+ delivery routes that more than 231,000 mail delivery vehicles travel each and every day, covering untold amounts of miles to make sure that everyone gets their mail around the same time six days a week.
Think of the logistics behind and operation this big.
The fact that mail gets delivered as quickly and as efficiently as it does is a testament to the power of smart logistics, the systems that the USPS takes advantage of every moment of every day, and how “well oiled” a machine the USPS process has become.
Below we go into how each piece of mail moves through the USPS system, bouncing from one USPS regional facility to the next, right up until it hits its ultimate destination.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
What Does “Arrived at USPS Regional Facility” Mean?
If you get a notification in your tracking update that says “Arrived at USPS Regional Facility” it simply means that your piece of mail, your package, or your postcard has finally found its way to one of the dozens and dozens of regional facilities and distribution centers run by the United States Postal Service.
Each and every region across the country has a distribution center, a center that acts a bit like a central clearinghouse for mail that is either headed to that region specifically or is being used as a waypoint for mail to move through on its way to another regional distribution facility.
As soon as your mail arrives at this destination it’s going to be sorted into a bunch of different groups, broken down from its original traveling pallets, and then re-shuffled into another pallet before it heads further on to its journey.
This update merely means that your mail has finally arrived at a destination where it’s going to be rerouted and sent out again.
Sometimes it means that your mail is going to be sent directly to your doorstep within the next day or two, and other times it means that your mail is just starting its journey.
But we’ll get a little bit deeper into that in just a second.
What Are USPS Regional Facilities?
USPS Regional Facilities aren’t all that fancy, instead looking a lot more like a high technology warehouse than anything else – a clearinghouse of sorts to make sure that mail is always headed in the right direction.
If you have followed tracking for a lot of your packages and parcels the chances are pretty good you’ve noticed your mail move in some weird ways.
Let’s say, for example, that you live in the state of Ohio.
A piece of mail being sent to you from California may move east, bouncing from one regional facility to the next along the way up until it just about reaches the state of Ohio before jumping into Pennsylvania or New York and then circling back in the next day or two.
Those outside of the USPS operation would be confused at why that mail leapfrogged over the state that it was intended to be delivered and, but that’s not how the regional distribution setups work all the time.
Sometimes your mail is going to move in ways, but that’s because your mail is traveling alongside a lot of other pieces of mail and is individually broken down into different groups in different pallets as it moves through each different facility.
If your mail is traveling with pallets that are headed further east than the state of Ohio in our example that they are going to land in states like Pennsylvania and New York where your mail gets his sorted, rerouted, and then sent back west – and then eventually to your doorstep!
This logistical system (called the wheel and spoke system) is incredibly efficient even if it looks a little silly were used to map your mail’s travels out from start to finish.
A lot of this has to do with where these regional facilities are located in relation to your address. Some people are going to have much more linear paths like those living on the coasts, as opposed to those living in the middle of the country which may have more zigzags than expected.
How Long Will Mail Be at a Regional Facility?
It’s difficult to say with any real certainly exactly how long your mail is going to be at a USPS Regional Facility.
Some pieces of mail are going to move into and out of a regional facility in just a few hours. Other pieces of mail are going to be there for a day or two.
In some extreme circumstances, however, your mail may be sitting at a USPS Regional Facility for more than a couple of days before enough mail is gathered to move on further in the journey.
Any different number of things can contribute to your mail either moving faster or slower through different USPS Regional Facilities as well.
For one thing, the amount of mail that a regional facility handles a day-to-day basis is going to have a huge impact on how quickly and efficiently it’s able to move different pieces through the system.
Facilities that are absolutely slammed with mail pieces are going to have a tougher time getting mail out on a day-to-day basis compared to facilities that aren’t getting quite as much mail. Mail volume may also be impacted by the time of year, too.
Around the holiday season, for example, the USPS handles a tremendous amount of mail compared to the rest of the year. Even facilities that usually don’t have skyhigh mail volumes are often overloaded.
The same is true around Mother’s Day, another popular day to send things through the USPS system.
Inclement weather, issues at that specific USPS Regional Facility, machinery breakdowns, and a whole host of other circumstances can either expedite or delay your mail moving through one regional facility or the next.
There is no way to really influence how quickly (or how slowly) your mail moves through the sorting process and the redirection process at regional facilities maintained by the USPS. Instead you just sort of have to sit back, relax, and let everything handled itself.
Is My Mail Safe at a Regional Facility?
We are, after all, talking about facilities that are running it, organized, and maintained by the United States Postal Service, a division of the federal government.
Regional facilities are not giant commercial warehouses with a lot of other clients working under the same roof. The spaces are dedicated to the facilitation of mail moving across the country, and are as secure as any other federal building or federal property.
The employees on these facilities are going to be employees of the USPS (or subcontractors of the same), and often times these facilities have made tremendous investments in safety and security to protect your mail and the facility itself.
If you notice that your mail is being held at a USPS Regional Facility for longer than you had expected it’s really nothing to be alarmed at (unless you’re talking about your mail being held at a facility for longer than a week or two).
Should your mail seem to be stuck at a regional facility, though, you can always contact USPS customer service directly and see if they are able to give you a little bit more information about what the delay is.
How Soon After Leaving a Regional Facility Will My Mail Be Delivered?
Again, it’s kind of difficult to determine exactly how soon you’ll get your mail after it arrives at a regional facility if only because there are so many different regional facilities around the country.
Sometimes you’ll get this notification in your tracking information when a piece of mail arrives at your closest regional facility, and that means that delivery is imminent – maybe within the next day or two.
Other times, though, this is going to be one of the first mail notifications you get when you check your tracking information. This simply means that your mail has made it to a regional facility and is probably going to visit a couple more regional facilities before it finally finds its way to your doorstep.
The good news, though, is that seeing this pop up on your tracking notifications means that your mail is not just on the move but that it’s also at a secure location and not just bouncing around somewhere “in transit”.
This update means that your mail has been scanned at a regional facility with other pieces of mail, is likely being fed through automatic sorting machines as you read that notification, and is being prepared to be moved onto the next step in your mail piece’s journey.
If you track enough pieces of mail from one specific destination to your doorstep you might be able to figure out how many regional facilities your mail will visits before it gets delivered, too.
Like we mentioned a moment ago, some people are going to see a couple of regional facilities pop up on their tracking information whereas others are only going to see one or two.
A lot of this has to do with where your mail originates and where it is headed.
Mail pieces that are going to be sent across town generally aren’t going to visit more than one regional facility. Mail pieces that are going to be sent across the country, however, have a much higher likelihood of hitting two or three different USPS regional facility properties before they land at the post office or the mailbox of your intended recipient.
Just something to consider moving forward!
US Global Mail – The Best Way to Modernize Your Mailbox
If you have grown frustrated with how you handle mail these days through the USPS, it may be time to make the switch to a more modern mailbox solution like the one provided by US Global Mail.
Recognized as one of the premier virtual mailbox services in the country, US Global Mail has been modernizing the mailboxes of thousands and thousands of people over the last 20 years.
The reputation that this company has built up as a more convenient, more feature-rich, and headache free mailbox service is second to none. Always looking to innovate and improve the offerings that they provide their clients, US Global Mail continues to expand their offerings in an effort to perfect the mailbox service.
To begin with, you’ll get a new permanent address that you can use to receive mail and packages at – no matter how much you move in the future. That permanent address stays with you, always receiving your mail and packages (not just from the USPS, but from all major shipping companies as well).
On top of that, every time a new piece of mail or a package arrives at your virtual mailbox you’ll get a digital scan and notification delivered directly to you via email and through your client dashboard.
This lets you better track, manage, and optimize your mail without having to physically pop down to the post office or root through your mailbox!
From there you can choose to have all of your mail and packages forwarded on to any address in the country (and around the world), paying up to 80% off of traditional shipping rates thanks to the partnerships built by US Global Mail, too.
Combine all of that with check depositing features, safety and privacy features, and a whole host of other solutions only available from US Global Mail and it’s a no-brainer why so many continue to rely on this service to modernize their mailbox for them.
For more information about all that US Global Mail has to offer, or to create an account, check out their website or drop them a line today!