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How Langham Logistics Propels Inventory Management Advancements with Drone Technology

Roll back a few years—the idea of drone deliveries was making headlines worldwide. Though most of us have not had drones drop anything on our doorstep yet, the technology has been busy creating a supply chain revolution—one pallet at a time.

Step inside Langham’s warehouses and you will see drones buzzing around. But instead of delivering inventory, they are counting it. The seemingly small job is making a big difference when it comes to warehouse visibility and inventory tracking. Greater accuracy achieved more efficiently is a game-changer for customers relying on real-time inventory numbers to manage their business.

Grab your safety vest. Here is an inside look at Langham’s high-flying technology transforming inventory management.

Mission Critical: How Drones Impact Warehouse Inventory

Langham Logistics takes a systematic approach to drone-enabled inventory management. The team uploads the current inventory file and determines which rows to count daily. The decision criteria vary, such as alphabetical order, location within the warehouse, or specific customer needs.

The team then “runs the mission.” This involves positioning the drone in the correct aisle to begin counting inventory. The process repeats until all designated areas are covered. Each drone can address about 3,500 locations within a workday.

Once the drone completes the mission, the team reviews the collected data on a dashboard. The drone flags any inventory exceptions. The team compares the drone-captured images, which include the LPN and item information, with the inventory management system to identify true exceptions. The software’s map view shows the exact locations of any potential problems. A team member then visits the physical location of the inventory to fix the issue. The detailed verification process ensures that all inventory is accurately stored, tracked, and managed across every warehouse.

Taking Inventory Management to New Heights

Langham’s drones are far more than flying calculators. The technology has generated numerous operational benefits, including speed, accuracy, and safety.

  • Increased Efficiency

Prior to implementing drones, staff manually counted all locations and pallets. The process involved printing reports and physically checking more than 20,000 locations within each warehouse. The labor-intensive task required special equipment and a substantial amount of work. By the time the count was complete, the numbers often had changed. Drones reduce physical counting to exceptions only, which is less than 50 locations for any mission.

  • Improved Accuracy and Reliability

Before adding drones to the inventory team, Langham experienced what we call “pallet fire drills.” These are instances where pallets were incorrectly marked or placed in the wrong location within the warehouse. Finding these issues manually could take hours, or even days. Drones can spot the errors quickly and flag the exception for immediate resolution. As a result, Langham’s inventory accuracy jumped from 97% to over 99% within a few months of implementation.

  • Enhanced Productivity

Drones enable the inventory management team to accomplish more with less. The team, half its size before drones, now processes more inventory daily. Drones help inventory managers discover issues and resolve them faster. Drone images serve as proof that warehouse staff staged the inventory correctly, adding a layer of accountability and transparency to the process.

  • Cost Savings

Gather AI, the warehouse drone supplier, projected a return on investment of a little over a year. Langham realized the ROI in about six months. The project allowed the team to reallocate half of the inventory staff to other operational areas. With the need for physical counts nearly eliminated, we save around $3,000 per month in equipment rentals for order pickers and reach trucks.

  • Safety Improvements

Safety in a warehouse is paramount. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slip and fall accidents comprise 25% of all injury claims and 15% of all accidental deaths. Drones lessen these risks by reducing the need for Langham staff to conduct physical inventory counts on scissor lifts or turret trucks. Plus, using drones frees up space for forklifts and other equipment to navigate the aisles safely on the ground.

Customer Convenience with Every Flight

When it comes to drone-enabled inventory management, Langham is not the only one who wins. The technology is helping our company better meet the needs of customers and their increasingly complex supply chains.

Inventory distortion from overstocks, out-of-stocks, and shrinkage costs companies an estimated $1.77 trillion worldwide. Shippers need accurate, real-time inventory numbers—something physical counting cannot supply. Drones enhance customer confidence by providing reliable inventory data faster.

Langham customers can request ad hoc inventory counts—complete with in-depth reporting and picture verifications—at any time. With drones, the inventory management team supplies the data within hours rather than days. In addition, drones can conduct regular cycle counts for quick accuracy checks. The rapid response provides customers with immediate inventory verification.

These capabilities are especially important for pharmaceutical and life science companies managing temperature-sensitive and perishable products. Drones are invaluable for quickly addressing product recalls by providing physical confirmation of a material’s location and condition. Immediate cycle counts for newly inventoried lots also validate product quantity and condition to meet strict quality requirements.

We find drone-enabled inventory counts so valuable, that we include it standard in our service-level agreement. While many logistics companies charge extra, Langham leverages the technology to create total inventory transparency for customers.

Achieve Liftoff with Langham

Langham Logistics’ integration of drone technology into our inventory management processes shows how innovation can drive significant operational improvements. Better efficiency, accuracy, and reliability translate to superior service for our clients. Langham sets a high standard for inventory management and warehousing operations. Drones take our commitment to best-in-class logistics even higher. Learn more and schedule a warehouse visit at https://www.elangham.com/contact/.

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