Logistics, Warehousing

How drones are changing logistics and warehousing

January 30, 2017

We all have been hearing about drones since a few years, been used at the start in negative ways (mainly by the military). But also in positive ways like filming or utilising it to checking out faraway pipeline for leaks and nowadays even kids in primary school are playing with drones. There are also some cases, where drones are been used in logistics or warehousing: delivery parcels, last mile distribution (concept) and inventory checks in warehouses. Lets first have a look at how drones are used in logistics and after that at warehousing.


1. After a lot of hype around Amazon and drones, after it was announced that they will be using drones to deliver parcels to its customers. In December last year, Amazon successfully managed to deliver the first ever parcel to a customer in Cambridge (UK).

2. This service will be expended in the future as Amazon has been granted a patent for the “flying warehouse” (302). In this concept drones (312) will be used to deliver parcels to the customers and smaller “airships” (350) will be used to replenish the bigger “flying warehouse” and also carry employees to/from the distribution centre (330).


3. Beside Amazon, Mercedes has unveiled a van with drones, which will be used for the last mile distribution. Here drones will be placed on the roof of the van, were today the driver has to deliver all the parcels himself, with this concept drones will help him to deliver parcels to customer as well to speed up the last mile distribution.




1. Drones equipped with barcode scanner are been used in warehouse for cycle counting, stock taking and checking the location of the handling units. These drones fly around the warehouse during non-working hours and evening, to do duties which almost all the warehouse employees hate doing (including me during my part time job when I was studying). This will mean that a warehouse supervisor does not need 10-15 of his employees to perform cycle counting and besides this pickers won’t be searching for handling units which have been lost.

2. Even in the yard drones equipped with RFID scanner, are been used for providing ERP systems with real life location data. These same RFID drones can be used inside the warehouse, as scanning a RFID tag can be done from a distance up to 100 meters. Whereas barcodes scanning can only be done within a few meters and won’t work in warehouses with pallet shuttle systems or gravity racking.

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  • Reply Ugur January 30, 2017 at 22:57

    Nice blog Mohammad! No doubt that this technology will be the future in logistics, but the question is how fast. The deployment in warehouses for counting will become mainstream soon I think. Video archiving is a nice ‘side effect’.


  • Reply Sravan April 29, 2017 at 07:54

    More companies are taking a closer look at implementing SAP Supply Chain Execution (SCE) Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) or SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Warehouse Management (WM) in their automated and/or conventional warehouses. It allows to unload,consolidate and load packages instead of products. Further enhancements introduce billing of warehouse services for both, logistics service providers as well as for shippers contracting warehouse services.

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