Drones are becoming increasingly popular. Beyond the recreational and military applications, drones are beginning to make waves in the business world as well, and not just as possible vehicles for delivering orders to customers. These Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are also showing up in warehouses, serving as technology-based co–workers that can enhance productivity.
Precisely how drones are used in a warehouse varies from one operation to the next. However, as the technology continues to get more affordable and robust, UAVs will become more common. If you are wondering about this emerging drone trend, here’s what you need to know.
How Drones Are Used in a Warehouse
Drones have the ability to streamline and accelerate a variety of common warehouse tasks, depending on how they are outfitted. In some cases, UAVs are being used to assess inventory levels, scanning shelves and counting items, particularly in hard–to–reach areas. Usually, this involves the drone’s camera and a companion application, giving it the ability to read labels or scan barcodes. You can even equip a drone with RFID sensors, allowing it to use that technology instead.
UAVs have the ability to retrieve items as well. In some cases, the process is manual, with an employee steering the drone and picking up the product. In others, the approach is very autonomous. The drone relies on the warehouse management system (WMS), floor maps and its optical system to find the right item, pick it up and carry it to the proper location.
The Benefits of Drones in the Warehouse
Since drones don’t always have to use standard walking paths and can rely on inventory location data to find items, they have the ability to accomplish certain tasks at a rate that is much faster than people. When it comes to inventory assessment, a UAV can be up to 50 times faster than a worker, making it an incredibly efficient alternative.
Additionally, the scanning technology is also incredibly accurate. As long as the labels or barcodes are clear, or the RFID tags are in an accessible location, inventory assessment error rates can diminish greatly.
UAVs can also be incredibly cost-effective. While the devices themselves aren’t cheap, they are substantially less costly than paying wages for specific tasks. Further, they can operate 24/7 as long as the system is autonomous. Then, you can direct your workforce to focus on tasks that genuinely need the human touch, resulting in higher collective productivity.
Ultimately, drones have the ability to revolutionize warehouse operations, particularly when it comes to inventory management and the retrieval of items from high shelves or hard–to–reach areas. However, the technology is still in its early stages, and some drones require skilled (and possibly licensed) operators to make them viable in the workplace. However, UAV tech is developing quickly, and will likely make its way into more warehouses every year.
If you’d like to know more about drone technology in the warehouse sector, the staff at PrideStaff can help.
Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our tech trends expertise can benefit you.