IKEA is transforming its stock inventory system by introducing autonomous drones in its stores. With one hundred drones now in operation across sixteen locations in Europe, IKEA is using advanced technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of its stock management process.
The new drone system has been developed in collaboration with Verity, a provider of indoor drone systems, and the Supply Chain Development Team at Inter IKEA Group. The fully autonomous drone solution has been designed to track inventory, improve the wellbeing of co-workers, and create a better experience for customers across channels.
The drones operate during non-operational hours to improve stock accuracy and secure the availability of products for online and physical retailing. The solution also supports a more ergonomic workplace for IKEA co-workers, who no longer need to manually confirm each pallet. By automating the stock inventory process, IKEA is able to lower operational costs and become more affordable and convenient for customers.
Tolga Öncu, Head of Retail at Ingka Group (IKEA), said, “We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfillment and become true centers for omnichannel retailing. Introducing drones and other advanced tools 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 was launched in IKEA Switzerland in 2021, and the one hundred drones now in operation are stocking inventory in locations across Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Peter Ac, Head of Innovations in Logistics & Fulfilment, Supply Chain Development, Inter IKEA Group, said, “Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value-adding solutions is part of the IKEA heritage. We are always curious about learning from others, and this project is a great example of how we have collaborated across IKEA and with an external partner to come up with a solution that we all benefit from.”
The drones are part of IKEA’s efforts to revamp its stores and improve their handling capacities. With the introduction of new technology, IKEA is enabling its stores to ship online orders in a fast, sustainable, and affordable way.