Drones And Distribution

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but listen when people are talking about drones being the future of package delivery. It reminds me of the Jetsons and their flying cars. Who knows? Maybe those aren’t too far behind. This topic inevitably brings to mind FedEx, UPS and Amazon using this technology to deliver retail products to customers, but what can easily be overlooked is how this technology will affect distributors.

UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have already impacted the agricultural industry in a big way, making the job of spraying pesticides, planting seeds and scanning the soil much easier. Previously the job of aerial applicators or other third parties, it’s now possible for farmers to take a DIY approach to these tasks. Likewise, it’s only a matter of time until every industry figures out how to put drones to work. Here’s an example: UPS – in collaboration with Matternet, a leader in autonomous drone technology – broke new ground this year by being FAA approved to perform regular commercial flights carrying medical samples and supplies across the WakeMed campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. Read more on it here.

How will distributors use this technology? The options are endless, but it seems like a foregone conclusion that at some point in the near future an industrious distributor will use drones to well, distribute. Consider the potential of same-day delivery via drone – faster, less expensive and almost certainly safer. Other distributors may expand their offerings to include valuable services like aerial inspections.  

Currently, FAA regulations prohibit self-flying drones for commercial use, but the tides are changing quickly. Companies, such as Amazon and UPS are already receiving approval to test drone deliveries.

Don’t be afraid of what the future brings. Instead, invest some time figuring out how this new technology could benefit your company and your customers.