The agricultural industry is growing rapidly as farmers begin to find new ways to grow their crops. However, some farmers are beginning to find flaws in the traditional ways of doing things, especially as some of these new technologies open up new possibilities for agriculture management.
One of the biggest changes that the agricultural industry is going through is the rise of drones. While some may be hesitant to embrace these machines, many have realized their benefits and have begun to implement them.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, have gained a lot of traction in the last decade. UAVs are being used widely in the agricultural industry. With applications ranging from sowing, irrigation, monitoring, or crop health assessment, drones effectively maximize yields and minimize the cost. Another area in agriculture that uses drone technology is inventory management.
What is Inventory Management?
Inventory refers to the accounting of raw materials and goods that are ready to sell. These stocks are considered agricultural assets. A vast inventory carries the risk of damage, theft, and demand fluctuations. Therefore, managing assets with the proper techniques increase the return of investment (ROI).
The ultimate goal of using drones in inventory management is sales and utilization at the right time without wastage. In addition to these, it would help reduce product loss, storage space for products, and transportation costs.
Inventory management is the process of monitoring, assessing, storing, and selling products and materials produced by the growers. Inventory assessment practices are crucial in the agricultural as well as the commercial sector to ensure enough stocks are reserved in case of shortages and famines.
Earlier, inventory management was done manually. Practices like monitoring and manual assessment are less precise, making the whole process time-consuming and inefficient. Large warehouses required more labor to manage inventories.
Using drones to manage agricultural assets and plan inventory bridges the gap that can occur due to human errors. Errors are eliminated, the process is faster, the analysis is more accurate, and ROI is increased.
Working of Drones in Inventory Warehouses
Conventional inventory management used techniques to scan and count inventories physically. Traditional counting methods were slow, labor-intensive, and ambiguous. Drones added value by optimizing these conventional techniques. The capabilities to fly, hover, monitor, scan, and capture images make drones highly valuable for managing warehouse inventory.
Using drones to hover over inventories in succession, scanning and capturing them, and then periodic audits of the assets enhanced inventory management. Audits include information like inventory counts, damage checks, and assets’ locations. The data gathered is then utilized to manage inventories according to requirements.
Benefits of Using Drones in Inventory Management
1. Crucial in Crisis
Appropriate inventory management secures adequate amounts of assets. These reserves are helpful in case of sudden demand or a crisis.
2. Reduce Wastage
Periodic drone monitoring ensures damage control and reduces wastage of inventory, easing the management of goods.
3. Reduces Workload
Aviation drones can perform period cycles and reach remote areas in the warehouses at any altitude. This reduces manual workload and danger to a human worker.
4. Easy and Better Management
Drone inventory monitoring makes it easier to spot specific assets. Knowing the amount of stock reserved, decision-making on selling and storing becomes easier.
5. High Speed and Productive
Drones can more accurately audit inventory at a high speed than manual audits, making them more productive than humans.
6. Saves Revenue
The use of UAVs for inventory keeping reduces manual work and avoids wastage, which leads to reduced expenditure.
7. Increase Safety in the Workplace
The UAV operator controls it from a specific region of drone visibility, reducing direct interventions of people in the workplace. This accounts for the increased safety of people.
Challenges in Asset Management Using Drones
Major problems faced during inventory management system are: –
1. Damage Risk
Malfunctioning of drones may lead them to crash over the inventories, and this may damage them or even break fire in case of flammable goods.
2. Feasibility and Expenses
Complex controls and a high initial investment of drones are major reasons they are still not widely used and considered infeasible in asset management.
3. Inaccurate Labeling
Damage due to inconsistency in printing and inaccurate labeling may obstruct the scanning process of drones. This generates inadequate data disrupting the inventory assessment.
4. Unorganized Inventory
Monitoring unorganized inventory in large storage houses is a task. Even drones are incapable of scanning and capturing accurate images, resulting in ambiguity in data. Hence following the proper protocol of keeping labels and organizing warehouses is crucial for inventory management.
Inventory management plays a crucial role in managing agricultural assets. Drone technology has enabled producers to manage their resources in a well-organized way that helps them save time and keep everything streamlined. The evolution of technology will produce drones with autonomous software controls. The future holds even greater possibilities with UAVs such as conveyors, sorters, product delivery, and longer flight time. Despite certain challenges, indications show that drones will have a promising future in inventory management.