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Automate Your Inventory Management and Improve Your Warehouse Efficiency

May 29, 2023

Problem overview

Multiple technological advancements have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in warehouse automation. Inefficient warehouse processes negatively impact customer satisfaction and it struggles with many costly issues that can hold companies back from achieving their true potential.

Supply chain leaders and managers have a mountain of responsibilities and oversee vast enterprises. Timeliness, speed, and order accuracy are some of the most in-demand aspects of today’s omnichannel world, but significant challenges still exist with inventory visibility. Failure to overcome these challenges leads to additional problems throughout the supply chain, resulting in poor customer service.

According to Reuters report warehouses, distribution centers, and order fulfillment operations employ an estimated 53.7% more workers than they did just 5 years ago

Maturing trends in omni-channel retailing, consignment inventory, and complex global supply chains put more pressure on the warehouse to increase throughput, cut costs, and reduce inventory cycles. As part of an overarching automation strategy, retailers that develop an end-to-end vision for the warehouse of the future have to identify the specific use cases and unlock value to increase its efficiency.

"According to a study investments from retailers in automation are poised to fuel significant industry growth: the warehouse-automation market is forecast to reach $51 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 23 percent."

The challenge

Reducing operational bottlenecks in a warehouse and increasing inventory management efficiency

Warehouse Automation Explained

Recent events about the problem

According to one study 27% of decision-makers from Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics, and other departments plan to utilize full automation by 2024.

The Ambient Monitoring group eliminated tens of thousands of dollars in wasted time and significantly improved its inventory process by implementing an inventory management solution, including, up to $30,000 per year of time saved that was formerly used searching for parts, over $6,000 per year of time saved that was formerly consumed by managing and replenishing the stockroom and better use of inventory dollars.

38% of companies in the U.S are planning to add more SKUs (scannable barcodes) and barcode scanners for inventory accuracy.

67% of the respondents in one study indicated that being out of stock after an order is placed or simply overselling as the top inventory mistakes lead to lost customers.

Why is this a serious problem

Increased customer demand

  • For a business to scale, it’s crucial to have visibility into inventory levels at all times, along with the ability to gain insights into how to better manage inventory to meet customer expectations.
  • The more inventory visibility a brand has, the easier it is to monitor stock levels across channels and maintain enough inventory to meet customer demand.

Uncertainty in demand

  • To be successful in order fulfillment over the long term, an operation needs to get good at predicting its inventory needs. How much of each product is typically needed over the course of a typical business cycle? When does a brand experience peak demand? Does the product experience any seasonality?
  • By ensuring accurate inventory visibility, an operation can constant reconcile current inventory level against expected demands, allowing for smarter replenishment and fewer stock outs. Without a clear sense of the inventory, it is much too easy to end up ordering too much or too little product, impairing your ability to fulfill orders.

Manual process

  • Manually tracking inventory is a time-consuming and tedious process —one that ultimately can cost a lot of money. This is especially true of operations that work within a complex supply chain where the product is regularly shipped between multiple warehouses, distribution centers, and stores. Manually tracking this inventory from node to node along the supply chain can add up to a lot of wasted man-hours, which is one reason that many retail operations don’t do it nearly enough.
  • With advances in technology like RFID and barcode scanners, inventory tracking can be much more automated than in the past, allowing for a more efficient use of time and capital.

The cost of inaction

Inventory visibility is key to customer satisfaction, which ultimately improves a company's chances to succeed. It lets businesses and their customers know what’s in stock, where and how much. This insight is critical for omnichannel retailers.

Increasing lead times and stock-outs

Without proper tracking or knowing when a brand requires stock, lead times increase and the orders get delayed. 62% of respondents reported human error from manual process management as the no.1 root cause of inventory fulfillment issues, which can be improved with a sound fleet management system. The damage caused by lost sales depends on the price of the item and the order quantity. Having a stock-out of a popular item during a peak buying season can be very costly.

Excessive warehousing costs

The process of storing inventory also costs money. It means paying rent on oversized warehouses. Excess inventory gets in the way of warehouse operations, or it uses up space that could be used for faster-moving items. Management of the excess inventory also has a labor cost. A study found that more than 75 percent of businesses lose sales as a result of problems in managing their inventory. Beyond having too little or too much inventory, poor inventory management causes inefficiencies because you don't have accurate real-time information on how much stock you have. This increases the risk of mistakes in reordering inventory from suppliers or of selling non-existent inventory. These mistakes can also result in lost sales and lost repeat customers or oversized inventory of the wrong SKUs.

Losing customers out to competitors

The mismanagement of inventory can lead potential customers to leave for other more organized eCommerce providers. A recent survey found that 70% of shoppers will go to a competitor rather than wait for an item that is out-of-stock; so in order to retain customers, a retailer must have stock on hand. On-time delivery of orders is the solution to 40% of respondents for making happy & lifelong customers. This can be achieved by implementing automated inventory solutions, automated storage, and retrieval systems, reducing human errors.

"According to one study reducing stock-outs and overstocks can lower inventory costs by 10%."


When conducting stocktake (inventory), staff are traditionally lifted up to the high shelves using a forklift, reach truck or scissor lift where they manually scan each barcode and pallet. This process is time consuming, costly, dangerous and energy inefficient. This can be done easily by brands through a revolutionary robotic solution that can scan products and pallets in warehouses. The drone allows for airborne capturing of data while the operator receives live feedback as it scans. Inspecting the condition of products or verifying the contents of pallets can be easily achieved as the drone is also fitted with a camera.

Inventory control

This is the most common use of drones in warehousing. Drones can be used to safely carry out inventory counts in warehouses. When inventories are carried out and managed manually, teams must walk round the warehouse, scanning and counting items. The process can be slow, labor-intensive, dangerous, expensive, and prone to inaccuracies.

Autonomous drones for inventory management, on the other hand, can increase inventory accuracy, while reducing abor costs and minimizing health and safety risks amongst the workforce.

Indoor intralogistics

Intralogistics is a catchall phrase that refers to the transportation of goods and parts within a warehouse or between a warehouse and an adjacent workshop or factory that works in coordination with a warehouse. Some examples of things that regularly need to be delivered between these locations are spare parts, lubricants, and tools. Automated drones have the potential to follow pre-established flight paths, carrying these kinds of items between different stakeholders in a warehouse operation to cut down on the time and energy it takes for a person to make the same delivery.

Inspection & Surveillance

Drones can be a viable alternative to replace manual inspection and surveillance operations in warehouses. In warehouses, drones can for example inspect roofs, racks, pallet placements, walls, and ceilings. The growth of warehouse operations and customer demand makes inspection processes expensive and difficult. Indoor inspection tasks often require skilled inspectors and sometimes work is obstructed during inspections. Indoor drones are a perfect fit for tasks that require monitoring and inspection in dangerous areas or high altitudes.

Improve Your Warehouse Efficiency

Case study

Before: The challenge

  • World’s largest furniture big-box retailer known for its modernist designs and eco-friendly simplicity. The company wanted to automate their warehouse inventory tracking system. They were not able to efficiently track their inventory which increased their lead times and affected customer satisfaction. The company wanted to optimize the inventory process leading to a more efficient and safe tracking in all the warehouses.


The company incorporated drone inventory tracking system through which they were:

  • Able to scan changed locations daily, avoiding accumulation of errors during the week.
  • When the stores are closed on Sunday, the system completes a full, wall-to-wall scan of the racking areas that gives a detailed overview of their inventory.
  • With accurate data on every pallet location and every empty slot, there are no more lost pallets, no more expedited deliveries, and no more customer service interruptions.

Key metrics

  • Inventory operations are optimized till 25%.
  • Sales calls to the warehouse to confirm inventory availability at customer checkout was reduced by 10%.