Swedish furniture retailer IKEA has announced that it has introduced one hundred autonomous drones that are now flying in IKEA stores – the latest in IKEA Zaventem, Belgium – with Ingka Group being the first retailer to use such a solution for stock inventory.
Two years ago, Ingka Group and the Supply Chain Development Team at Inter IKEA Group, together with Verity, a provider of indoor drone systems, started developing a fully autonomous drone solution to track inventory and improve the wellbeing of its co-workers on the floor.
As a result, one hundred drones are now at work during non-operational hours to improve stock accuracy and secure availability of products for online or physical retailing. This solution supports a more ergonomic workplace for IKEA co-workers as they no longer need to manually confirm each pallet.
“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 – such as, for example, robots for picking up goods – 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,” says Tolga Öncu, Head of Retail at Ingka Group (IKEA).
The first drone took off in IKEA Switzerland in 2021 and the 100 that are operational now are stocking inventory in 16 different locations in Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
“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,” says Peter Ac, Head of Innovations in Logistics & Fulfilment, Supply Chain Development, Inter IKEA Group.