The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak has led to numerous interesting business experiments. In one that might have a big impact on logistics, CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) and UPS's (NYSE:UPS) UPS Flight Forward drone service are joining forces to fly prescription drugs to residents of a Florida retirement community.
This isn't quite store-to-door delivery. In the initial stages of this pilot program, slated for early May, the drone will land the merchandise at a designated pickup location near the facility. A UPS vehicle will then make the pickup, and complete the last stage of the delivery to the customer's residence. All deliveries will be sourced from a CVS store very close to the retirement community; the flight distance will be under half a mile.
That community, The Villages near the city of Orlando, is home to over 135,000 residents. According to UPS, The Villages is the largest retirement community in the country.
In a press release on the matter, UPS said that if successful, the program could widen to include two other CVS stores in the area.
UPS and CVS have been conducting drone delivery pilot programs since late last year. Their first deliveries brought medications from a Cary, North Carolina, outlet of the pharmacy chain. UPS Flight Forward was formally established in June 2019.
"In addition to our in-store pickup, free delivery services and drive through pickup, this drone delivery service provides an innovative method to reach some of our customers," CVS was quoted as saying in the UPS press release.
In late trading Monday, both the healthcare stock and the logistics company were up in late afternoon trading and exceeded the gains of the broader market.