How will Drones Impact the Supply Chain?

How will Drones Impact the Supply Chain?

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

A study by consulting firm PwC found that the global market for drone deliveries will reach $127 billion in the next decade! Also, according to a report from Fortune, the commercial drone industry is expected to reach $127 billion by 2020.

The use of drones in the supply chain is one of the most innovative and exciting technological advancements of the 21st century.

Drones have the potential to revolutionize how goods and services are delivered, enabling organizations to reduce logistics costs, increase efficiency, and provide consumers with faster and more reliable delivery of goods.

Drone flying over a water body
Drones for Supply Chain!

This article will explore the potential impacts of drones on the supply chain, including how they can be used to streamline distribution, improve customer service, and ultimately create a more efficient and cost-effective supply chain.

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What are Drones?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). They are typically remotely controlled aircraft used for various purposes including surveillance, photography, search and rescue, and military operations.

Drones are powered by electric motors and typically feature four rotors for stability and maneuverability. They can capture aerial footage, take photographs, and even deliver packages.

Drones can fly autonomously using GPS, allowing the user to set a flight path and operate the device from a distance. They are becoming increasingly popular and are used by both hobbyists and professionals. Some of the advantages of drones include their flexibility and affordability, as well as their ability to reach areas that a human operator would be unable to access.

Owing to their numerous capabilities, drones have been considered a great utility in supply chain management. They could equip the companies with effective logistics and transportation solutions.

How are Drones Impacting the Supply Chain?

Due to their unmatched capabilities, drones could be the game changers in the supply chain. They have the potential to revolutionize the supply chain. They can be used to move goods, inspect inventories, and track shipments. They can also be used to collect data about the supply chain and provide real-time updates about the status of shipments.

Drones could reduce costs and improve the efficiency of the supply chain by allowing for faster delivery and reducing the need for human labor. Additionally, drones could enable companies to better monitor their shipments and detect potential problems before they become major issues.

The following sub-sections highlight the areas in SCM where drones can be immensely beneficial.

Improved Inventory Management

Drones can help streamline the process of managing inventory. They can be used to quickly scan barcodes and provide real-time updates on inventory levels, allowing for on-demand replenishment.

Drones can improve inventory management by providing an automated and efficient way to track and monitor inventory. Drones can be used to monitor warehouse locations, scan bar codes, and take pictures of inventory. They can also be used for delivery, allowing for faster and more efficient delivery of items.

Additionally, drones can be used to track and manage inventory remotely, reducing the need for manual labor and increasing the accuracy of the data.

Increased Efficiency

Drones can increase efficiency in SCM by streamlining the delivery process, reducing the cost of transportation, and allowing for better inventory management. Drones can quickly and safely deliver goods to their destination, reducing the time and cost of transportation.

By using drones for delivery, companies can better track their inventory in real time, providing them with more accurate data and allowing them to make more informed decisions. Additionally, drones can reduce the risk of theft and damage to goods by providing a more secure delivery method.

Drones can be used to deliver goods to their destination in a fraction of the time it would take for a traditional delivery truck. This drastically increases the efficiency of the supply chain and can save businesses money.

Improved Safety

Drones can improve safety in supply chain management in a number of ways.

  • They can be used to track and monitor shipments, ensuring that goods are delivered on time and in the right condition.
  • Drones can also be used to inspect storage facilities and transportation fleets to ensure that they meet safety standards and regulations.
  • Additionally, drones can be used to inspect hazardous areas, such as mining sites, to prevent accidents and fatalities.
  • Also, drones can be outfitted with sensors that can detect temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions. Thus, helping to ensure that goods are stored in the correct conditions.
  • They can be used to inspect warehouses and other storage facilities, reducing the risk of human error and helping to improve safety.

Automated Delivery

Autonomous drones can be used to deliver goods to their destination without the need for a human pilot. This means that supply chains can be streamlined and automated, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings.

They can be used to transport goods quickly and accurately to their destination, eliminating the need for manual labor and reducing the cost associated with traditional delivery methods. They can also be used to monitor goods in transit, providing real-time updates on their location, condition, and progress.

This can help to reduce delays, improve customer service and ensure that goods arrive on time and in good condition.

Challenges of Implementing Drones into the Supply Chain

There could be potential challenges to implementing drones into the supply chain. If you want to implement drones for your inventory, you must learn about the challenges it entails.

  1. Regulatory Compliance: Drone technology is still in its early stages, and many governments around the world have yet to create regulations to govern their use. This means that companies that want to integrate drones into their supply chain must ensure that they comply with all existing laws, as well as any new regulations that may be created in the future.
  2. Security Concerns: Drones can be used to access sensitive information, such as customer data and inventory levels, which could be vulnerable to attack. Companies must take steps to secure their drones and prevent unauthorized access to their data.
  3. Cost: Drones can be expensive to purchase and maintain, and the cost of training staff to operate them can be prohibitive. Companies must weigh the cost of implementing a drone-based supply chain against the potential benefits.
drone with camera and mobile phone
Battery life and cost could be potential challenges while utilizing drones

4. Battery Life: The batteries used in drones generally have a limited lifespan, and must be recharged or replaced regularly. This can be costly and time-consuming and may limit the efficiency of the drone-based supply chain.

5. Weather and Environmental Hazards: Drones can be impacted by severe weather and other environmental hazards, which can lead to delays or even damage to the drone itself. Companies must take steps to mitigate these risks and ensure that their drone-based supply chain remains reliable.


In conclusion, the use of drones has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency, cost, and speed of the supply chain. By providing improved visibility into inventory levels and allowing for faster delivery times, drones can help companies save time and money, while also providing customers with a better overall experience.

The future of the supply chain is likely to include drones and other innovative technology, and companies should begin preparing now to take advantage of the opportunities that these technologies present.

How can Deskera Help You?

Deskera offers a comprehensive inventory management solution that can help businesses manage their inventory more efficiently. It provides features such as stock tracking, stock alerts, order fulfillment, supplier management, and more. It also provides useful insights into inventory levels, helping businesses make informed decisions about purchasing and stocking.

Deskera Books is an online accounting software that helps small businesses manage their finances more effectively.

Other products from the house of Deskera are Deskera CRM and Deskera People.

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Key Takeaways

  • Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
  • They are typically remotely controlled aircraft used for various purposes including surveillance, photography, search and rescue, and military operations.
  • Drones could be the game changers in the supply chain due to their unmatched capabilities.
  • Core areas of SCM that drones assist with are inventory management, efficiency, enhancing safety, and automated delivery.
  • There could be certain challenges in the implementation of drones for SCM.
  • Regulatory compliance, security concerns, and battery life are among the challenges one may face with drone implementation.
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