Human Readable?



Does anybody know the true purpose of the big "human-readable" zip #'s on our shipping labels?
I have been a sorter for three years and have yet to figure out the true purpose of this bigger than the zip number. As a general rule we are supposed to use the zip code on the label. I use the zip code always with a few exceptions on those rare borderline towns that we rarely see. then I will look at the human readable to help me determine where it goes.
Some sorters have a bad habit of using the big numbers to sort and they are mis-sorting alot.
What I want to know is why the number is called "human readable" in the first place? While I feel like a robot at times while working, I am not, I'm human. So, why can't I use the "human-readable?"



The "human readable" code, that you talk about is officially called the UPS Routing Code (URC).

The first four numbers on the code is the number of the building where the package is supposed to be delivered.

In UPS, it generally matches to a portion of the ZIP code, but its really the building number.

Some URC's have an additional number after the first 4 which indicate a location within that destination building.

The URC is mostly used for a loader who has to load a trailer for that center. Rather than having to remember 5 digit zip splits, they can use the URC to determine whether the package goes in the trailer or not.

In general, sorters do not get a benefit for using the URC, because like you said, you already have to memorize zip codes.

Loaders loading hub destinations, generally don't use it either, since the zip splits are not too bad.

Again, its for loaders loading trailers where they have to remember many 5 digit splits....

Does that help?




I think you are refering to what is known as the slic #. Each delivery center has one, and most of the time, the zips served in that center will begin with the center's slic #.


That would be correct. The HRC or URC does contain the SLIC # of the center the package is supposed to be delivered out of. UPS officially trains our sorters and loaders to go by the HRC, not the ZIP Code the pkg is going to. This is great when the HRC matches the zip code properly, however just like most things, it is not a perfect system.

A vast majority of "Missorts" are from pkgs that have a correct address, but the shipping label has a bad HRC. Too many times packages from a large shipper will have packages that are missorted on a regular basis at specific locations. This usually always leads to a wrong HRC. The high number of missorts based on the incorrect HRC is a probelm that corporate is aware of. It is usually human error when the computer systems that generates the labels is being setup for the shipper.

The whole point of the HRC is to make it easier on the loader. It is much easier to read a HRC compared to a zip on a label.


Thanks for clearing that up for me. I probably would've known more about it if I had spent time as a load-side guy. I didn't though, I'ts about the only job in the hub that I haven't done, and probably won't since I've been "skilled" for so long.
I only use the first 3 digits on the rare occasion that I can't remember the odd zip coming across my slide. I know I'm supposed to remember all, but some we don't see for weeks and the others are just repeated daily. That's why they keep testing us.


In Canada its easier because its always 6 digits starting from east to west,example
A4A 5Z8 would be Newfoundland B Nova Scotia
etc all the way to British Columbia which is V
the Northern Territories are X