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MHI Annual Conference: Drone Applications in Supply Chain Beyond Package Delivery

Rafael Granato
by Rafael Granato on Oct 25, 2016 2:36:45 PM
Use of drones for package delivery has received a lot of attention ever since Jeff Bezos unveiled a video of an Amazon drone dropping off a package via drone on a 60 Minutes broadcast in 2012, but other applications in the supply chain are likely to emerge first. That was a part of the message during a couple of drone related presentations at last week's MHI Annual Conference near Tucson, AZ. -- SCDigest Editorial Staff

I recently got back from sunny Tucson in Arizona where the MHI Annual Conference took place. During 2 days, I attended several sessions, talked to numerous people, and learned a lot. Some of the key topics discussed during the MHI conference this year were  what companies are doing to prepare the next wave of leaders and to recruit and retain talent with the boomers aging and starting to retire, and how material and supply chain technology innovations, including robotics, drones, wearables, and other disruptive technologies, are impacting the industry as a whole. 

Technology disruption in the supply chain has been a hot topic over the industry conferences this year. It wasn't different at the MHI Annual. There were two presentations dedicated to aerial robots or drones and how this new technology is changing the way supply chain and logistics organizations operate. 

On Monday, Jonathan Evans, CEO and X, CTO of Skyward, a leading provider of a software management platform for drones and the pilots, took the stage and gave an overview about the current state of drone industry for commercial applications. In particular, the supply chain and logistics. Jonathan emphasized the huge surge in drone pilots in the US since the FAA changed its qualification rules in late August with Part 107. The ease of qualifying has already led to the certification of some 13,000 drone operators since the start of September. X talked about different use cases for drones and said that the most promising short term applications for drones in logistics are related to distribution center operations.

X, CTO of Skyward

Those opportunities were discussed in more detail during another MHI session on Tuesday morning on disruptive supply chain technologies that included a presentation by our CEO, Matt Yearling.

Matt Yearling, CEO of PINC

Matt talked about PINC's 4 key use cases for drone technology in the supply chain and logistics industries: trailer tracking in yards, finished vehicle tracking for automotive manufacturers, high-value assets in laydown yards, and autonomous inventory checks inside of warehouses. Executives and participants were very excited to learn that there are other and more tangible uses for drones in the short-term other than the last mile delivery. 

Dan Gilmore, Chief Editor for SCDigest, wrote an article recaping the key points discussed during the two presentations.

"Commercial Drone Interest is Exploding, While Applications Inside and Outside the DC Are Here Now, before Package Delivery"

You can read the full article here.

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Rafael Granato
Written by Rafael Granato
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