Warehouse Automation Using Drones
Supply chains face constant pressure to do more with less. According to survey, customer pricing pressure (51%), demands for faster response times (50%), and rising customer service expectations (49%) are the top three issues that supply chain leaders and professionals find very or extremely challenging. This is driving the need for supply chain executives to seek more innovative solutions.
As we know, Indoor Warehouse automation is one area which is being talked about among the top e-commerce giants mainly in order to meet the on-time delivery requirement. Drones is one of hottest emerging technologies that redefine the future of supply chains.
The top 3 use cases for drones are on-Site Transportation (Transportation within a campus/building), outbound Transportation, Inbound Transportation. Drones offer a number of key benefits over traditional manned vehicles, including:
• Lower costs. Drones are more efficient and cheaper to operate as they can optimize fuel and maintenance costs and may alleviate constrained demand for qualified truck drivers.
• Improved efficiency. Drones deliver goods to rural area can significant shorten the distance of merchant and consumer.
• Reduced stress. Drones enable people to focus on more important tasks.
SAP, as the No. 1 leader in the following WMS market segments, co-innovated with Chinese customers on warehouse automation using drone. In this PoC project, the drone can automatically scan warehouse and identify empty storage location. Warehouse space optimizer can recommend storage location for putaway. They are being integrated directly into SAP WMS systems and will work with little operator input.
In the future, Drone stock counting services will be on-call. They will come in with their equipment on a weekend, download your warehouse layout, scan all the items in your warehouse and give you a report on the Monday morning for doing your stock adjustments. Drones will eventually do other tasks like continuous inventory, searching for items, and once found, hover there or mark them with an inking device. New job descriptions will appear like “drone operator”, “drone service technician” and “drone integrator”.