IKEA has deployed one hundred autonomous drones across various stores in Europe in an effort to automate its stock inventory processes, with Dutch furniture retailer Ingka Group claiming to be the first to use the technology at scale for this purpose.
Two years ago, Ingka Group and the supply chain development team at Inter IKEA Group, alongside autonomous indoor drone developer Verity, started developing a fully autonomous drone solution to track inventory and support the wellbeing of co-workers on the shop or warehouse floor.
The drones have been implemented during non-operational hours to improve the accuracy of stock operations and secure the availability of products for online or physical retailing.
The solution is intended to support a more ergonomic workplace for IKEA co-workers by reducing the need to manually confirm every pallet.
“Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value adding solutions is part of the IKEA heritage,” said Peter Ac, head of innovations in logistics and 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.”
The first of the drones were implemented in IKEA Switzerland in 2021; the 100 that are operational now are performing stock inventory in 16 different locations in Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.