Drones have become ubiquitous in many different communities as a means to eliminate friction, optimize delivery times, and improve the entire customer experience. No longer are drones just used for military operations. Yes, the Predator and Grim Reaper drones provided immeasurable service in military operations. Now, drones are being researched and looked at in the context of logistics and supply chain, whether its replacing postmen to deliver the mail, or as a solution for same day delivery, to get that package from point A to point B without delay.
Drones in the context of logistics
Its no secret that the major corporations with complex supply chains see the upside in using drone technology. Fedex initially decided on Memphis, TN because of its proximity on a central point in the USA, the fact that it was in the central time zone, and the fact that its supply chain could easily distribute product and packages around the USA from one central point. This article provides more insight to that decision: Your text to link...
Now, as technology has gotten to a more mature level, Federal Express and its close cousin, UPS are actively researching ways to assimilate drone technology into their supply chain. At this point, it would be premature to say drones will take over for the big, brown trucks that are synonymous with the company, but rather they will serve as a suitable complement, kind of a synonymous with a SWAT team, or special forces component. Stay tuned as both of these companies research, work with municipal, state, and federal governments as far as law and regulations go, to see what transpires.
Which brings us to the big boy, AMZN
Amazon has long been the leader in many different verticals. They pretty much ignore Wall Street, glossing over quarterly metric guidance, ignore profit and instead reinvest for the long-term. The stock has finally started to respond, and it has more than doubled in the last few years. Why? New technologies and the opening of doors to entrepreneurs. Consider this scenario: The number of entrepreneurs using the FBA service grew 50% in 2015, and 65% in 2014. This article will substantiate and provide more context into those figures: Your text
As the ecosystem for AMZN continues to grow, they are faced with a bigger and bigger supply chain issue. How do we get these packages in the hands of the purchaser, fast. More and more people are buying into the Prime program, and they expect their packages on time, and in some cases, in advance. Further, the envelope is being pushed with the concept of sam day delivery. Same day delivery manifests itself in pushing the envelope right to the max. The concept of the on-demand economy stops and starts here.
The advantageous thing about drones, on demand economy, and package delivery is that there is no company with bigger pockets than Jeff Bezos's baby. Jeff is known as a thought leader, somebody who shifts paradigm, defies the norm, and keeps the pedal pressed to the floor. He even takes a personal interest in the vertical, with a personal rocket company, doing flight and aerospace research at his ranch in West Texas. Expect him to continue to lead to the push, taking the feedback loop from concept to test, to early adopter, all the way thru complete user adoption.
As you can imagine, pushing thru a radically new idea, even a radically new subset of an industry, whether it is logistics, or supply chain, is not easy.
The first needle in the side that comes to mind is regulation and law. Dealing with the FAA is paramount. The FAA is trying to solve their own problems. They are typically understaffed, they have to fight for budget, and their computer systems and infrastructure is old. They are dealing with identifying, upgrading, and normalizing systems, and cannot move as fast as a slim, streamlined technology company. Then, couple that with the fact that air traffic controllers as a class are rapidly reaching retirement age, and new works are not being hired quick enough to full that gap. What happens when drones fill the skies, and there is that much more to contend with. The answer is, it wont happen. Not until there is a meeting of the minds, and all of these concerns are rationalized.
That being said, drones as a futuristic enterprise, and a revolutionary concept is a given. What has come this far with the military, hobbyists and individuals alike, is just making its way into the mainstream. Sit back and enjoy the ride!