As the world is adjusting in this post-pandemic era, businesses’ supply chains have seen a substantial shift to meet the demand and stay relevant in the market. The growing demand for exceptional customer experience has rooted the unwanted hassle of same-day or 10-minute delivery by businesses. The desire to arrive first in on-demand deliveries made sellers and logistics players think beyond the well-established vehicle-based logistics network and turn towards drone delivery to overcome the inefficiency in last-mile logistics.
Studies suggest that last-mile delivery is the most time-consuming and holds 50% of the total logistics costs. Moreover, numerous hurdles are there in the journey of a package from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. Drones are now being utilized for more significant purposes, like military activities, surveys, and warehouses. Let’s understand where we’re in the drone delivery system in logistics management.
What Is Drone Delivery? How Are Drones Used In Logistics?
Drones are known as unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs), flying robots that are remotely controlled or designed to fly on their own with the help of artificial intelligence, sensors, or GPS. Drones were first employed as weaponry for military purposes. Still, they were engaged in various capacities like surveillance, video and photography, search and rescue, and package delivery.
Logistics is undoubtedly the lifeblood of a business’s supply chain, but it is time-consuming and process-driven. Drone delivery in eCommerce will be a substantial leap of advancement in the industry. It can save businesses time and money by fulfilling last-mile delivery requests. In addition, the drone delivery system can control operational costs, overcome traffic hurdles, reduce vehicle emissions, and cut labor costs to nothing. The shares of drone usage in transportation worldwide in 2021: 48% in mapping & surveying, 34% in inspection, 7% in delivery, 6% in localization/detection, and 5% in others.
Several logistics stakeholders are plunging money into building a robust infrastructure for aerial delivery through drones. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global drone package delivery market is projected to grow from $1,522.4 million in 2021 to $31,188.7 million by 2028 at a CAGR of 53.94% in the forecast period.
To leverage this opportunity, eCommerce giants like Amazon have already started their drone delivery service “PrimeAir” in several areas of operation, and logistics players like UPS are also in the race. In India, government incentives encourage multiple industries, such as healthcare, agriculture, and e-commerce, to experiment with drones. Programs like “Drone Shakti”- are aimed at promoting drone startups, and the government of India is actively promoting ‘Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS)’.
Use Of Drones In Logistics
- Drones can be used for delivering orders to customers in urban areas with heavy traffic bottlenecks.
- Drones can be used for supplying medicines and relief packs to remote and rural areas.
- They can be used for inspecting infrastructure after a disaster for risk assessment purposes.
- Security surveillance for large warehouses and factories.
- Maintenance assessment of infrastructure integrity of warehouses and factories.
- Video and image collection in case of inventory audits.
Benefits of Drone Delivery
Through drone delivery systems, eCommerce sellers and logistics players can significantly reduce the time to deliver a product to customers. Quick last-mile delivery is the main reason drones are introduced in the logistics management system. UAVs are not required to follow land routes. Instead, they typically run straight in the air shortening the travel distance. Plus, no traffic disturbance in the air can hinder the speed of delivery.
Reduce Carbon Emission
Recent studies witness that with the rise of eCommerce, last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78% by 2030. In India, the transport sector solely contributes as the third most emitter of carbon dioxide, and road transport is responsible for 90% of that emission. Countering that, drone delivery technology will thoughtfully contribute to carbon emissions.
Increases Supply Chain Resilience
Technology is a blessing to humanity if utilized correctly. The company would experience efficiency in the supply chain when using an automated delivery system through drones. This would translate into cost-saving that usually goes into managing labor or delivery boys. Moreover, businesses can achieve supply chain resilience by transforming the whole delivery and stock-keeping process. Drones can also be used for stock keeping, inventory audits, and managing SKUs in warehouses.
Enhance Customer Experience
Today, our patience level is shorter than a goldfish. However, customers demand quick delivery, and the traditional logistics system still needs to improve this, irrespective of advancement. Drone delivery service would elevate the customer’s experience to a new level with faster and hassle-free delivery. Through drones, customers will receive their parcels more quickly at their doorstep.
Caters Delivery Challenges
Drones are an incredible tool for getting products that traditional delivery methods can’t reach. Drones are revolutionizing the way we move products in challenging conditions. Drones can be used to deliver goods to remote areas that are difficult for humans to access by road or any other traditional means. In these areas, drones can easily fly through rugged terrains like hills, mountains, or rainforests.
Eliminates Order Return Hassles
With drones, you can handle returns more quickly and efficiently than ever before. If something goes wrong with an order, you’ll have the goods back on your doorstep in no time at all. This is because drones can handle the return process while in transit. It means that your customers don’t have to wait for their item to be inspected by a customer service representative and then confirmed as being in the same condition it was when they sent it out. It also means that they can get their item back quickly, reducing the time they have to wait for the resolution of their claim.
Delivery boys responsible for enabling fast delivery are more prone to road accidents because they must deliver packages on time. They are also exploited by lousy weather conditions, traffic, long-distance deliveries, and poor road conditions. Drone delivery can completely change this scenario, ensuring human safety.
The advent of drones and the exponential growth of global trade provide a unique opportunity to improve global supply chain efficiencies. Studies have shown that two fully autonomous drones can do the job of 100 humans in an hour, 100 times more accurately. Multiply that across many warehouses and distribution centers all over the world, and you can see how this can improve supply chain systems.
In addition, drones also provide a cost-effective solution to several challenges faced by businesses today, such as increased demand for goods, advanced inventory management issues, and inefficient transportation solutions. They also help companies to streamline operations by minimizing labor costs and increasing efficiency through automated processes.
These benefits, coupled with their ability to operate autonomously, make drones a game changer for businesses across industries such as manufacturing, retailing, food delivery services, and more!
Drones are becoming a staple in the logistics industry. The use of drones has many applications, and their use is only going to increase in the years to come. Therefore, businesses will need to continue to engage with drone delivery initiatives and technological advancements if they want to achieve this potential fully.