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Drone plan – more questions than answers

[ July 29, 2016   //   ]

Deliveries by drone could be an exciting development but there are many questions to be asked about such a system would work, says supply chain technology experts, Kewill.

With online retailer Amazon and the UK Government announced trials for delivering goods by drones on 26 July, “questions are being raised around the logistical headaches surrounding this new method of delivery,” says Kewill.

Kewill’s president and chief operation officer, Jim Hoefflin, said that, on the plus side, it could end the disadvantage of rural areas for next-day delivery.

These parts of the country are slow to receive road-based same day delivery but the use of drones “is actually much more feasible outside of cities, as collision avoidance will be a much less daunting challenge for the devices than in built-up urban areas,” argues Jim Hoefflin.

But companies with outdated logistics processes could face “a supply chain nightmare…many organisations still rely on outdated legacy processes which would make the incorporation of drone delivery a very steep learning curve.”

Questions also need to be asked on how goods reach the supplier from the manufacturing line and whether their use would inundate organisations with a huge amount of real-time data not previously available.

Jim Hoefflin concluded: “Organisations need to ensure they have transport management systems in place that can automate logistical pain points (setting package weight limits, for example, or ensuring drones deliver safely to challenging destinations) rather than inputting each detail individually. Tighter integration between systems will also enable businesses to manage all the new data being delivered.
“Drone delivery is a key step forward for our new and exciting connected world – but organisations need flexibility and scalability in their supply chain in order to be prepared for innovative delivery methods of the future.”

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