Your browser is out of date, for the best web viewing experience visit Browse Happy to upgrade your browser today.

warehouse insider


By Craig Dowley

Cycle count automation could not have come at a better time for warehouses.  A shrinking labor market has made it challenging to recruit and retain labor to support some of the most routine warehouse tasks such as cycle counting.  Automation has come in several different forms including warehouse drones.  Some warehouse drone providers make some very bold statements including the amount of scanning that can be performed in a single hour.  Let’s benchmark these claims against the real-world performance of StorTRACK

StorTRACK cycle count automation

1 StorTRACK Unit vs. 3+ Warehouse Drones

Gather AI and other drone providers need 3 or more drones to offer continuous cycle counting
While time consuming pallet auditing saves warehouses money and improves customer service

Drone companies report cycle counting up to 900 locations an hour.  That’s an impressive amount of coverage, but they don’t sell drones that can fly for an hour.  The battery charge life for these drones is 10-20 minutes, so to sustain continuous cycle counting, warehouses need to purchase and operate AT LEAST 3-4 drones

  • Operating one drone for 20 minutes is easy enough, but will require some hands-on pilot training 
  • Operating two drones and switching batteries keeping at least one drone in the air is a little more challenging. 
  • Operating three and swapping batteries and keeping at least one drone in the air is going to require precise coordination and extra sets of hands. 

One drone is expensive enough, the expectation to purchase and operate 3-4 drones hampers a warehouse’s ability to recoup an ROI in a realistic time period. Alternatively, StorTRACK has a battery that lasts up to 8 hours, works with one existing forklift and one existing operator who requires less than 10 minutes of training, And the average ROI for StorTRACK warehouses is 6 months (many achieve an ROI in less than 6 months). 

Cycle Counting 1,000 Warehouse Locations

StorTRACK scans warehouse shelves as fast as your fastest forklift can lift and lower its forks.  Along with the fast inventory scanning, StorTRACK also possesses a wide four-foot field of view, ensuring that it captures a pallet and all its contents in 1-2 seconds (again as fast as the forklift moves the forks).  Scanning on the way up and down, StorTRACK captures inventory from the floor to your highest shelf in under 30 seconds.  Combining the fast speed and wide field of view, StorTRACK can scan up to and over 1,000 inventory locations in an hour using only ONE StorTRACK unit on ONE existing forklift operated by ONE worker without leaving the MHE cab.   WATCH: StorTRACK Operational Demonstration Video

Gather AI warehouse drone field of view

StorTRACK’s 4-foot Field of View and 8-Hour Battery Charge vs. Warehouse Drones

Cycle Counting 10,000 Warehouse Cases

Warehouse Drones cannot Gather Cases as Fast as StorTRACK

Ignoring the fact that drone batteries drain in 10-20 minutes, capturing single pallet labels is within their capabilities.  But when it comes to scanning and capturing densely stored items, drones reach their limits.  Possessing only one camera and a limited light source, drones need to hover in place for extended periods of time to adequately scan and capture individual cases.  This extensive hovering happens at the expense of the drone battery.  Adequately scanning and capturing dozens of cases in a single rack depletes the battery, requiring a battery swap, recharge and/or additional drone deployment.

It does not matter how many items are in a rack, StorTRACK scans 50 items as fast as it scans one.  StorTRACK includes LED lights that evenly illuminate inventory, ensuring fast and consistent capture regardless of how many items need to be scanned.  Using its long-lasting battery charge, StorTRACK easily scans and captures thousands of items an hour.  In fact, regardless of the number of cases, a single StorTRACK scans a 300’x30’ warehouse rack in under 35 minutes.   

Scanning high density goods
Analyzing inventory data with high resolution images and reports

Warehouses have several options for viewing and analyzing inventory data captured by StorTRACK.  All Vimaan solutions include ViewDECK, a web application that provides actionable insights, discrepancies, location reports and high resolutions images of every item on your shelves creating the equivalent of a Google Street view of your warehouse racks.  Vimaan also integrates with existing WMS systems, delivering the inventory truth to your system of record. 

Contact the StorTRACK Team to receive a custom product demonstration and readiness assessment of your warehouse.

Related Warehouse Cycle Counting Resources

Warehouse Drones FAQStorTRACK Operational Demo VideoWarehouse Drones vs. StorTRACK