One hundred autonomous drones are now operational in Ikea stores – the latest in Ikea Zaventem, Belgium – with owner Ingka Group saying it is the first retailer to use such a solution for stock inventory.
Two years ago, Ingka Group and the Supply Chain Development Team at Inter Ikea Group, together with Verity, a provider of indoor drone systems, started developing a fully autonomous drone solution.
As a result, 100 drones are now at work during non-operational hours, with the aim of improving stock accuracy and securing availability of products for online or physical retailing. This means that co-workers no longer need to manually confirm each pallet.
“We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfilment and become true centres for omnichannel retailing,” says Tolga Öncu, Head of Retail at Ingka Group.
“Introducing drones and other advanced tools – such as, for example, robots for picking up goods – is a genuine win-win for everybody. It improves our co-workers’ wellbeing, lowers operational costs, and allows us to become more affordable and convenient for our customers.”
The first drone took off in Ikea Switzerland in 2021 and the aforementioned 100 are now stocking inventory in 16 different locations in Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
“Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value adding solutions is part of the Ikea heritage,” says Peter Ac, Head of Innovations in Logistics & Fulfilment, Supply Chain Development, Inter Ikea Group.
“We are always curious of learning from others and this project is a great example of how we have collaborated across Ikea and together with an external partner come up with a solution that we all benefit from.”