Disclaimer: I don't work for UPS
UPS is actually on par with other companies such as FedEx. First you have to relize that there are literally hundreds of thousands of packages that go through the UPS hubs each day. It's quite remarkable how fast they can route and ship a package. I've had packages misrouted before by UPS and its definately no fun as it has to hit a hub before it's routed correctly. Which means it could be in a Semi headed south for a day before it's resorted and shipped back correctly. (I followed one package tracked from the hub that was to deliver later that afternoon, but got misrouted and went on a three state road trip). So the things you need to look out for or be aware of.
* Some companies have wharehouses where they're mechandise is 'drop shipped' from. I.E. you may call a company in CA. but your package may be shipped from Chicago, Il.
* UPS does not deliver on Saturday, unless the package is marked for specifically for Saturday delivery. So if you order two-day on Thursday you won't get it until Monday.
*UPS hubs process hundreds of thousands of packages and yes ocassionally one gets misrouted. It's a PTA but it happens
*Tracking number updates are slow. It has to hit a hub or distribution point before the info is updated.
A scenario: A package is scanned when it leaves a hub in L.A. bound for Rochester, NY. You'll see a scan for when it leaves L.A. for UPS ground it will remain 'in-transit' for the next 3 days. You then might see an update when it arrives and leaves the Chicago hub. You'll then see it arrive in Buffalo a day or so later. From here it is then sent by semi to Rochester where it typically arrives around 2-3am and then arrives at your door later that day.
Usually the reason a company uses UPS over Fedex or Vice Versa is convience and pricing. One company may offer them a deal if they use them for all their shipping needs, whereas the other company may surcharge them not being used as often. This is similiar to why one company will accept Credit Card A but not B. Credit Card company B charges a higher surcharge for having 'privelage' of using them.
So the moral of the story, only use 2-day if it's early in the week and you know your order will be processed AND shipped that day.
The tracking number is really meant to see where your package went, not where it's going to go.
The UPS man can arrive anywhere between early morning and as late as 6pm.
If the UPS man misses you it doesn't guarantee that you can go to the local distribution office and pick up your package.
Your package is 1 among millions of packages across the U.S/World being shipped that day.