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OM in the News: The Last Mile at UPS is by Golf Cart

November 21, 2015

upsWalking down the street today here in Winter Park, FL (temperature 83 degrees), I chatted with my local UPS driver. But, as you see in the photo, it is not a big brown truck he is driving–rather a golf cart. A large storage pod, next to my gym and about a mile away, is his supply depot and he makes several runs a day to replenish his cart and small trailer. It turns out that UPS uses pods throughout the state of Florida where it makes the most sense for golf cart deliveries.

Here are some of the advantages:

(1) Part-time employees are hired to help with this effort, creating jobs.  (2) The environmental benefit to the community includes reduced noise. (3) Customers and employees like the approach. (4) UPS reduces energy usage, fuel consumption and emissions while providing an economical way to conduct business. (5) Golf cart helpers provide earlier delivery times. The majority of golf cart deliveries are made prior to 4 p.m. During the holidays, residential deliveries made using a UPS package truck driver are generally made in the late evening due to the additional volume spikes. (5) Golf carts pose an environmentally friendly method of delivering packages–the average golf cart gets 20+ miles per gallon.

A local UPS manager said: “It’s a lot more effective. We can keep the big, noisy trucks away at night by making holiday deliveries during the day. Safety is the main reason why we do it. And with blended in savings of fuel costs, we figured why not?”

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. From an OM perspective, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the golf cart approach?
  2. Should they be used all year round–or just seasonally?


2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2015 1:13 am

    When I first saw a Vespa 3-wheeled tuk-tuk in UPS livery in India several years ago, I was amazed, and I never thought I’d see it in the US.

  2. December 4, 2015 1:19 am

    Maybe we are learning from India. Very efficient, very cheap, and very friendly way to deliver packages!

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