Bala Ganesh has become perhaps one of UPS’ most visible executives. That’s because he’s helming the 112-year-old package giant’s foray into drone delivery — and managing to hit key milestones before techies like Amazon or Google and before FedEx, UPS’ classic rival.
UPS’ biggest advances into drone delivery haven’t come from moving your traditional brown-box packages, but medical assets. The Atlanta company made America’s first revenue-generating drone-delivery service of medical supplies last year, and has since expanded it with partners like CVS.
Ganesh says UPS’ drone program allows him to explore three of his favorite themes: improving the customer experience, new technology, and aviation. Before joining UPS in 2012, Ganesh, who holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering, held roles at MedAssets and McKinsey and was a pilot in the Indian Air Force.
There’s plenty of other technology Ganesh explores at UPS — developing autonomous robots for UPS’ warehouses, autonomous transportation, and new sensors to make sure the company’s ever-growing package volume gets where it needs to be.
But drones are emerging as more relevant than ever. Allowing hospitals and consumers to get necessary medical supplies has become all the more critical as the pandemic keeps some of the most at-risk Americans homebound.
“This could be a big, big life changer as we move forward with that,” Ganesh tells Business Insider. “Imagine you may be a really old person; it's dangerous for you to leave your home, but you still need your medication. Wouldn't that be a perfect fit for a drone as we move forward in time?”