How Warehouse Drones are the Future for Inventory Management

If you happen to work in a warehouse environment, you’ll know that the industry is constantly changing and evolving. Gone are the days of overcrowded assembly lines, warehouse flooring littered with trip hazards and who knows what else. Instead, more and more warehouses are embracing modern technology and finding ways of becoming more automated, so that employees can focus on more meaningful, and important tasks.

Warehouses are vast spaces with more items of inventory than most people could ever imagine. If just one aspect of running a warehouse struggles however, the entire business could be compromised. This is where warehouse drones prove to be so useful.

Warehouse drones, or warehouse inventory drones, are very effective. They can not only assist with the management of your stock and inventory, they can also save time and enhance workplace efficiency.

But what exactly are warehouse drones and what are some of the main benefits that they provide? Well, let’s take a look, shall we? Here’s a look at how warehouse drones are the future of inventory management.

warehouse drones

Introduction to Warehouse Drones

To start us off today, we’re going to begin with a look at precisely what warehouse drones are.

Warehouse drones, or warehouse inventory drones, are often super intelligent battery powered devices which have benefitted from the application of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that can be operated via remote control, rather than via a pilot. They come in all shapes and sizes, though most commonly they are little larger than handheld. Drones are equipped with cameras as well as sensors and can be used to monitor and record things, including inventory.

Warehouse drones are much more sophisticated than the drones you see kids flying down at the local park, because they are designed with business in mind. They utilize deep machine learning techniques, coupled with optical systems and computerized sensors and features.

The primary objective of a warehouse inventory drone is to fly around a warehouse and basically count the inventory.

If a person were to take inventory in this manner, it would take them an age, and it would in fact require several people if the warehouse were especially large. With a warehouse drone, or drones in some instances, taking stock inventory can be streamlined rapidly.

Diverse Roles of Drones in Warehouse Operations

As mentioned, warehouse drones are designed primarily to count inventory, but they also do so much more than that.

Here’s a look at several common applications of drones in warehouses.

1. Inventory

The first, and more obvious use of a warehouse inventory drone (the clue is in the name) is for counting inventory.

These drones can fly around the warehouse, scanning various boxes, packages, or pallets, to provide an accurate and speedy inventory count.

2. Security

Another common use of drones in warehouse spaces is for safety and security.

The sad reality is that not everybody is trustworthy and honest, and there have been plenty of instances in the past where employees, or members of the general public, have entered a warehouse and have stolen items of stock.

A warehouse drone will be equipped with a camera and can offer an aerial bird’s eye view, often covering 360 degrees, of the entire warehouse floor. It is essentially a flying security camera, with the added bonus of being fully mobile.

3. Stock searching

Say for example, you need to check if a certain product is in stock, or count how many are in stock, a warehouse drone could do this in seconds.

Warehouse inventory drones can be used to check if items of stock are available, how many there are, and where they are.

Operating Principles of Inventory Management Drones

Inventory drones offer a wide range of different benefits to businesses with a warehouse environment, but how? Well, let’s take a more detailed look, shall we?

Warehouse drones, as mentioned, count thanks to deep machine learning techniques taught to them via AI technology. They feature sensors, cameras, and various other systems and features designed to help them take inventory counts, check availability, save time, save manpower, and much more besides.

Warehouse drones can fly around warehouses unaided, and unimpeded. This is because warehouses are so vast in size, and because they have high ceilings and large aisles for the drones to fly down, without bumping into things and crashing.

The space located within a warehouse is marked with either X, Y, or Z coordinates. The drones are able to check the packaging labels on each item found within the inventory, and can identify packages that are being counted, or being searched for. They can map the inventory via the known coordinates, making life much easier for the warehouse operatives on the ground floor.

Drones collect digital images and other info and will immediately analyse it to form a calculation. The count info is then checked alongside the warehouse management system records to ensure that it is accurate. Up next, an exception report is generated, which can be checked by the warehouse experts. The digital images and footage is checked and verified, and once the calculations are confirmed the warehouse management system can be updated.

It all sounds very complex, but basically the drones are able to scan the labels on the inventory thanks to their cameras and sensors, and identify what each item is, where it is, and how many of them there are.

Advantages of Warehouse Drones

 

As you can see, how warehouse inventory drones operate is fairly complex. Because of their advanced technology, they are able to offer businesses a wide range of different benefits and advantages, which we’ll cover now.

Here are several advantages of warehouse drones.

1. Save time

One of the main reasons why so many businesses with warehouses are utilizing warehouse drones is down to the fact that they can save so much time.

Drones are able to streamline inventory checks and help automate routine tasks that would take employees so much longer to do.

Not only do the drones quickly scan various packaging labels and barcodes, but they are also able to fly around the warehouse, rather than having to navigate up and down aisles to get from one location to the next, as would be the case with human employees.

Humans would need to walk from one location to the next, would have to set up a ladder, climb it, read the label, make a note, and then climb back down carefully. A drone can fly from one location to another, scan an item, make a visual recording, and store the necessary data in seconds.

2. Save money

Warehouse drones are also beneficial because they can help to save money.

While these drones of course cost money to purchase, when you consider the amount of time, manpower, and effort that they save, they will very quickly pay for themselves.

Drones save time so you can put your employees to work elsewhere, plus they also improve productivity so your business becomes more efficient. The more efficient it is, the more money it will likely make for you.

3. Improved safety

Warehouse drones are not only beneficial for saving money and improving workplace efficiency, they are also ideal when it comes to workplace safety.

Warehouses are dangerous places. There are heavy crates, boxes, and packages stored high up on shelves. There are ladders that need to be scaled, trip hazards, sharp edges, and various other hazards that could lead to human injury.

By having a drone check your inventory, there are far fewer risks because drones are machines and therefore cannot be injured.

Warehouse drones are also useful because they can be used for surveillance and can spot if an employee somewhere on the warehouse floor is injured.

4. Improved inventory counts

Finally, because of the tech these drones use, businesses can benefit from more accurate inventory counts and stock takes.

This is essential as it will help you keep tabs on your spending, you can do your budget, and you can ensure that your books balance.

Disadvantages of Warehouse Drones

While warehouse drones offer a wide range of different benefits, they do offer their drawbacks as well. Some possible disadvantages of warehouse drones include:

  • Can be expensive to purchase
  • They do still need to be manually operated
  • They can still potentially crash or malfunction
  • They require safe and effective battery solutions

The MANLY Advantage: Optimal Battery Solutions for Warehouse Drones

 

As we just looked at when going over the possible drawbacks of these drones, it’s vital to ensure that your drone is equipped with a safe and reliable battery from a trusted and reputable supplier. This is where MANLY Battery prove to be so effective.

MANLY Battery stock a vast selection of warehouse drone batteries, including their hugely popular LiFepo4 batteries.

Available in a variety of different sizes, specs, and powers, these batteries offer a wide range of benefits that you just wouldn’t get from other manufacturers.

As well as extended warranties, you can also benefit from long life cycles, slow discharge rates, rapid recharge rates, lightweight designs, eco-friendly designs, and a number of other safety features to ensure the drone functions as it should, and to ensure that the battery remains in top condition.

If you’re on the market for a warehouse drone, you need reliable and efficient batteries, so be sure to check out the various options available on the MANLY Battery website.