Drone Deliveries to Shake up Supply Chains?
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By Rebecca Langdon
The advent of technology has disrupted supply chains in a multitude of ways. The job of the Supply Chain Manager is to exploit the trends and advances which will improve the efficiency, speed, and cost of getting products and services to customers.
Drones are unmanned aircraft which have been spoken of with increased frequency over recent years, predominantly for the purposes of surveillance, military operations, and even delivery of medical supplies to rural areas.
Drones offer possibilities to be used in supply chains, and giants like Google and Amazon are considering their use in their own operations. Last week Amazon received approval to begin testing drone deliveries in the UK. If drone deliveries were to be approved for use, supply chains would be transformed as the need for a fleet of vehicles and drivers, and the resultant issues such as traffic, would be removed.
As it stands the drones currently in use are not appropriate for what Amazon are trying to do. The drones are either very small, or large military aircraft. Therefore a drone able to transport small goods will need to be designed and manufactured specifically for that purpose. In addition, there are a number of technological and legal barriers to drones delivering our packages anytime soon. Consideration would also need to be given to where the drones actually drop off. For many reasons it would not be possible to drop off directly to customers houses. Rather, the drones would more likely land at various approved drop points.
It is a really interesting time to work within a Supply Chain role at the moment and I expect for years to come. Technology is transforming supply chains, and making the role about strategic improvements by using new innovations such as drones. If you are interested in this profession as a career choice, a formal accreditation is advisable, and you might consider undertaking the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) program.