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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Transport drones in production logistics: Is there a use case?

Authors: Stephan L. K. Freichel, Christoph S. Zoller, Johannes K. Wörtge, Wladimir Rempel

Published in: Supply Management Research

Publisher: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden


Increasingly complex and dynamic supply chains require flexible and autonomously operating supply systems, especially for time‐critical components in space‐sensitive production environments. Transport drones, using the third dimension for material supply, may contribute to logistics efficiency in production facilities with limited space for logistics activities. However, practical use has so far been limited to pilot trials. By means of an exploratory study, the reasons for the low application are investigated. It is questionable what argues for and against the use of drones in production logistics, what challenges are associated with their utilization and, of course, where application potentials lie. By means of semi‐structured interviews with experts from industries, these aspects are examined and brought together. The results indicate that the use of transport drones is limited to a few material flows and will be used alongside other transport systems. The implementation in practice depends especially on economic and safety considerations, as well as on a fast and comfortable ramp‐up phase. The findings can be used as a basis for further research in the field of the production logistics use of transport drones. This can be achieved by methods such as quantitative simulation models, theoretical frameworks or first design approaches in practice.

Transport drones in production logistics: Is there a use case?
Stephan L. K. Freichel
Christoph S. Zoller
Johannes K. Wörtge
Wladimir Rempel
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