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Holiday Logistics: Winter Storms in Minnesota Sparked Santa-Like Solution for UPS Deliveries

During this holiday season, Mother Nature delivered lots of snow to parts of the U.S. So much snow, that it impaired travel on roads and on airlines. In Minnesota, UPSers got creative and used sleds to help deliver packages to customers. The following story was originally written by Justin Luther, who is an Employee Communications Supervisor in Minnesota.

It was a snowstorm that essentially shut down the Twin Cities for a weekend.

One of the sleds used to deliver packages in Minnesota

Plows struggled to keep up with the near 20 inches of snowfall, and it took days to reach every street, which became substantially narrower than usual.

For UPS, the winter blast created challenges beyond it just being the busiest time of the year. Snowdrifts and the path of the plows left five-foot walls where walkways to houses used to be.

Northern Plains District Human Resources supervisor Sandi Brue joined a cast of management team members who were asked to don the brown uniform and report for duty to help get through the difficult conditions.

“I went to the center and they handed me a snow sled,” she said.

Sandi took the sled, got in her vehicle and followed a driver-helper team in a residential area in St. Paul, served by the Landmark Center. At her first stop, the driver gave her a street’s worth of deliveries.

 “I just kept stacking it higher and higher,” she said. “It was like the sled from ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ after a little while.”

Sandi pulled the sled up and down sidewalks and paths, reloading it with package after package, or until she delivered about 60 stops-worth.

“I was climbing through snow waist-high, occasionally sinking,” she said. “Sidewalks were shoveled, but not to the concrete, so the sleds made it so much easier and more efficient.”

Sandi had one of the 12 sleds the district purchased.

“It had been a few years since I had used a sled,” Sandi said. “Never thought that would be how I used one. But what a creative way to make sure we were getting packages to our customers.”

Category: Logistics
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