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UPS Adds Drone Deliveries of COVID-19 Vaccines

UPS relies on Matternet M2 drones for rapid delivery of time and temperate sensitive COVID vaccines at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

UPS launched its Flight Forward subsidiary in 2019 focusing on healthcare deliveries by drones.  Using drones to deliver vaccines not only increases vaccine availability to rural areas but also decreases logistics costs.

Video Spotlight:  

This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, UPS delivers COVID-19 vaccines via temperature-controlled drone, by Matt Leonard, August 25, 2021; the Triad Business Journals article, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist begins delivering COVID-19 vaccines via drone with UPS Flight Forward, by Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, September 15, 2021; the Firstpost article, How drones delivering COVID-19 jabs will help take India’s vaccination drive to all corners of the country, by FP Staff, October 5, 2021; and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Flystock/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the use of drones improve UPS’s operational competitiveness?

Guidance: The use of drones enables UPS to be the leader in achieving timely and cost-effective vaccine deliveries in rural areas, improving its competitiveness in healthcare deliveries.

2. How do drone vaccine deliveries compare to ground deliveries for UPS in terms of its service design?

Guidance: Drone vaccine deliveries, though supplemental to ground deliveries, provide UPS with additional rapid delivery options in rural areas lacking good road infrastructure.  With enough frequency, drone deliveries can increase vaccine availability and decrease logistics costs over a wide range of settings.

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