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Autonomous drones revolutionize inventory inspection

Fully-integrated inventory drones deliver data-driven intelligence, transforming the order fulfillment process.


The challenge

For businesses that utilize a warehouse facility to distribute their product, the task of accurately tracking their inventory can pose a real challenge. When processes aren’t automated, it’s not uncommon for mismatches to arise between the stock showing on the warehouse management system (WMS) and the stock physically available. What’s more, these inventory discrepancies tend to come to light at the very moment when the stock is needed most, prompting distribution delays and threatening customer satisfaction.

Relying on warehouse personnel to manually carry out inventory checks is not only time and labor intensive, but raises the potential for human error, too. When discrepancies inevitably arise, getting to the bottom of them can take hours of search time and even result in the temporary closure of a warehouse.

The challenge was to eliminate inventory inaccuracies within warehouses by automating the inventory tracking process.


Our idea

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How we implemented

During the project scoping phase, we:

  • Scoped potential technology partners
  • Sourced a number of fulfilled by merchant (FBM) facilities
  • Shipped and installed equipment to carry out test flights
  • Performed successful pilot tests in warehouse settings

During the proof-of-concept phase, we:

  • Partnered with—and made a strategic investment in—Verity, a global leader in autonomous drone systems founded by Raffaello D’Andrea on the heels of the success of his previous company, Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics)
  • Selected one FBM facility in Miami, FL
  • Integrated our application programming interface (API) with our WMS and web e-commerce (WebEC) platform using cloud-based and mobile-enabled software
  • Ran training sessions for warehouse teams to ask questions and provide input
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What we achieved

  • A system that tracks consistently up-to-date inventory records and quickly highlights any discrepancies between the data reflected on the WMS and reality
  • A successful launch phase, which saw drone system installed at Performance Team’s warehouse in Miami, FL
  • Creation of plans to roll out the system across the brand’s U.S. network of warehouses
  • Extensive analysis of impact on productivity and customer service calculated potential savings, with initial results highlighting a 90% reduction in warehouse personnel manually scanning and searching for items, a 50% reduction in management correcting errors, and significant financial savings

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