The Challenge of Express for the next generation

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What is this thing we call Sortation?

Asked about your sector to deliver the next generation.

IOC CEO, Dr Tracey Worth led a discussion at the recent IOC Heads of Industry roundtable to gain clarity of operator understanding on how to deliver sortation.

She asked the question - "What is this thing we call sortation?"

The operators present, national regional and SME were asked to describe, ‘What is sortation?’

With over 300,000 vans at the table, the words came thick and fast. Top three in the list...


Sortation is :-

- Sortation is achieving destination.

- Sortation is the redirected point of delivery.

- A parcel is sorted onto a route of delivery.


This is your operator list. This is the basis of material for the apprenticeship learning workbooks and it comes from you the operator.


- Automated and with technology – non-automated is by hand.

- Sortation is allocating volume of parcels – understanding what volume looks like.

- It’s about labels – understanding the importance of the condition and information on labels.

- Routing and linehaul – why routing is important, and how linehaul integrates with routing.

- Low touch – the least number of touches through the sortation process is the goal.

- Priority – know what priority means and looks like in the depot.

- Parcel, the parcel is king – the parcel must be cared for.

- Accuracy – making sure first time every time achieved within sorting.

- Care – it is important at every stage of the process to care about the process.

- Sortation is the division of a commodity into hubs and postcode.


Your material, operator led, is built into the new apprenticeship workbook for candidates on the brand new level two apprenticeship, express sortation operative. The workbook supports candidates with a breadth of operator input across the sector.

The consensus for the heads of industry question lay with

the change of direction a parcel or mail unit needs to take on arrival at the sortation depot


A dozen or so statements answered the question, all are as important as each other for the success of the sortation

It was clear that caring about the process is paramount and was seen as the success to any and all of the above.

The reason to define what is this thing we call sortation is to ensure new entrants to the sector can visualise, engage with, and understand in their own way, what is sortation

L2 Sortation Operator Apprenticeship is now available. Levy-paid. Written by the sector for the sector. Contact Tracey This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details.