IKEA deploying 100 autonomous drones to monitor inventory
Furniture retailer IKEA has deployed 100 autonomous drones to monitor inventory across 16 stores in different countries, including Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands
“We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfilment and become true centres for omnichannel retailing,” said Tolga Öncü, retail operations manager of Ingka Group, IKEA’s parent company.
According to the Netherlands-based Ingka, IKEA is the first retailer to successfully implement this solution at scale for stock monitoring. The program began two years ago in Switzerland with the assistance of Zurich-based startup Verity.
These drones operate during non-operational hours — between 10:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. — to enhance stock accuracy and inform real-time product availability for physical retail and e-commerce.
Öncü explained that the innovation benefits IKEA employees. For example, workers no longer have to manually take inventory, which can take up to three months to complete. The tech also lowers operational costs, allowing the retailer to offer customers better pricing and high-quality service.
“Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value adding solutions is part of the IKEA heritage.”Peter Ac, Head of Innovations – Supply Chain at IKEA
IKEA head of innovations – supply chain Peter Ac said that “being at the forefront” of innovative solutions is a part of the company’s value. For example, in February, IKEA collaborated with tech giant Meta to offer an interactive augmented reality (AR) for visitors to select stores across Sweden.
Verity raises €29.9m to provide inventory solutions
IKEA’s partner Verity has recently raised US$32 million (approximately €29.9 million) in Series B funding to help companies solve their inventory issues. Verity said the fund would catalyse its growing backlog of product deployments.
Verity offers a zero-error inventory management solution powered by indoor “self-flying” drones. The warehouse drones travel from pallet to pallet and then send the data to the company’s existing warehouse management system (WMS).
The drones do not need human interaction to operate as they are equipped with smart features like obstacle avoidance, auto-charging and independent navigation.
In addition to Ingka, Verity provides inventory management aid to the US-based Performance Team, Danish transport and logistics firm DSV and IT services provider Samsung SDS.
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