IKEA Soars to New Heights with Drones for Inventory Management


IKEA Expands Use of Drones for Inventory Management

Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value adding solutions is part of the IKEA heritage. 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

Peter Ac, Head of Innovations in Logistics & Fulfilment, Supply Chain Development, Inter IKEA Group

The Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, has recently expanded its use of drone technology for inventory management in 50 of its largest warehouses worldwide, marking a significant step towards more sustainable and efficient operations. This move aligns with the company’s long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and its goals of reducing its carbon footprint.

The use of drones for inventory management is not new to IKEA. In fact, the company has been experimenting with drone technology in its warehouses since 2018. However, IKEAs strategic partnership with the Swiss drone technology company Verity will supply advanced and customized drone systems for this ambitious expansion. Verity, a renowned provider of autonomous indoor drone solutions, has developed a tailor-made solution specifically for warehouse inventory management that includes state-of-the-art features like scanning, imaging, and navigation capabilities.

The collaboration between IKEA and Verity has resulted in a seamless integration of drone technology within IKEA’s existing warehouse management systems. Verity’s drones are designed to work in conjunction with IKEA’s inventory management software, ensuring a smooth and efficient workflow that maximizes the benefits of this cutting-edge technology.

IKEA’s innovative drone-based inventory management system is designed to improve efficiency, cut costs, and minimize the environmental impact of its warehouse operations. The use of drones within IKEA’s warehouses allows for more accurate and faster inventory tracking, reducing the need for manual labor and the use of gas-powered vehicles to transport goods within the facility.

A Verity drone in use for warehouse inventory management. Image: Ingka

Drones provided by Verity are equipped with advanced scanning and imaging technology that enables them to quickly identify and locate items in the warehouse. The drones can easily navigate through the vast storage spaces, reaching heights and locations that are difficult or time-consuming for employees to access. This development has significantly improved IKEA’s inventory accuracy, ensuring that the correct items are picked, packed, and shipped to customers, reducing the likelihood of returns and associated waste.

IKEA’s drone initiative also aligns with the company’s sustainability efforts, as it seeks to minimize its environmental impact throughout the supply chain. By reducing the reliance on traditional transportation methods, such as forklifts, the company can significantly decrease its greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the use of drones has the potential to save energy by streamlining the inventory management process and reducing the need for extensive lighting systems in the warehouse.

The expansion of drone use is not only an environmental win for IKEA; it also offers significant cost savings. As labor costs continue to rise, the incorporation of drone technology into warehouse operations can help the company cut back on staffing expenses without compromising productivity or efficiency. Furthermore, as the technology continues to evolve, the potential for further cost reductions and operational improvements is expected to increase.

IKEAs strategic partnership with Verity will supply advanced and customized drone systems. Image: Ingka

IKEA’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in the various initiatives it has undertaken over the years, including the use of renewable energy, promoting sustainable sourcing, and implementing waste reduction programs. The company’s decision to incorporate drone technology into its inventory management system, in partnership with Verity, is yet another example of its dedication to minimizing its environmental impact and remaining at the forefront of sustainable innovation in the retail industry.

As IKEA continues to expand its drone-based inventory management system, other major retailers are likely to follow suit, recognizing the benefits of embracing technology to improve both efficiency and sustainability. By leading the way in this innovative approach, IKEA is solidifying its position as a pioneer in the retail industry and a champion for environmental stewardship.

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