July 20, 2018
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Supply Chain Logistics & Drones. Is the future here?


Since the dawn of time humans have had an affinity with flying machines depicted throughout the ages in science fiction story telling. The concepts put forth have long been considered as fanciful, maybe “one day” ideas however there has been a change. That change is that the future conceptualised in our past, has become a reality. With promising trials of drones transporting human cargo already completed there is still a lot of work to be done before drones can transport humans on a day to day basis. However drones impacts on warehouse logistics, supply chain and delivery of items is now a reality. Delivery drones supply a quick, convenient, efficient and environmentally friendly solution to product delivery. 


One of those tedious time consuming in some cases daily chores within the warehouse is always stock take. It can also be dangerous depending on the method adopted to reach bar codes such that hand held scanners can record the contents. If utilising a ladder then things become dangerous for staff who are working aloft and potentially exposing themselves to the very possible risk of a fall and injury. Today there are solutions on the market that mitigate against these risks ensuring there is no need for employees to lift one foot off the ground. According to DroneScan they have developed an airborne data collection system to provide large uniform warehouses with a robotic solution for stock take (inventory), providing live feedback and integration with Warehouse Management systems. Not only has this method been proven to save hundreds of man hours it has also made the process of stock take safer with staff not required to work aloft enhancing safety. With same day deliveries now considered standard accurate time efficient inventory control is critical.


The world really stood up and took notice of the fact that drone deliveries were being developed back in 2013 when the Amazon CEO announced that Amazon Prime was going to introduce a drone delivery system capable of carrying a payload of 2.25kg to a range of 16 kilometers. This form of delivery however has yet to hit the mainstream perhaps due to regulatory constraints enacted by regulators however further development continues.

Another huge player in the world of drone deliveries is Wing a subsidiary of Alphabet. Wing completed its first successful drone delivery in 2014. Wing have been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014, refining their aircraft and systems. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, coffee, household consumables and over the counter chemist products more than 3000 times in Australia. As of March 2019, Wing began delivering take-out food and beverages out of its state of the art facility in Mitchell, Canberra, Australia with full regulatory approval. In April 2019 Wing became the first drone delivery company to receive an Air operator’s certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration to allow it to operate as an airline in the USA.


Drones offer real and tangible environmental benefits  to companies by reducing dramatically there carbon footprint. Drones have the added benefit that they do not suffer from being stuck in traffic jams, don’t have to stop for red lights and can travel directly from A to B reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Electric drones also lower fuel costs to companies improving their bottom line.

Drones have already entered the warehouse logistics and supply chain ecosystem. This trend is set to increase as the benefits of drone technology are fully understood by corporations. In 2016, the White House estimated that drones and other UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles – could result in up to $82 billion worth of economic growth and generate 100,000 jobs by 2025 according to the FAA.

If looking to incorporate drone operations into your warehousing or supply chain work flow then please do not hesitate to contact Hover UAV for advice on the best path way forward in achieving such outcomes.

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