COUNTBOT®, the inventory drone solution

Developed in close collaboration with the logistics group GEODIS, the COUNTBOT® solution improves the reliability of your stocks by simplifying the inventory stage! A major ally in warehouse quality management, COUNTBOT® combines ground robot and aerial drone technologies to carry out fast, accurate and automated inventories. It eliminates time constraints as well as the risks of human errors and accidents in physical inventory, thus limiting the time of interruption of activity on the sites to a minimum. With its automated navigation system and 14 cameras, the COUNTBOT® solution locates and identifies complete pallets, regardless of your site configuration. The result is that your warehouse management system (WMS) can be updated with verified data.

Time saving

Fully automated solution

Security

Accidents and injuries avoided

Flexibility

Optimisation of time and resources, as inventories can be carried out at any time

Reliability

Identical repetition of operations and reduced risk of error through automation

Watch the COUNTBOT® video

Operation of automatic inventory by robot / drone

Intelligent algorithms

COUNTBOT® is programmed to detect and scan barcodes in real time using its various cameras.

Geolocation of pallets in warehouses

COUNTBOT® detects pallets in your storage area without the need for additional labels.

Detection of empty slots

COUNTBOT® identifies the empty slots.

Orthophoto generation

The orthophotos give the possibility to check and control the locations and pallets by the stock manager without having to go to the cells.

Full logistical follow-up

Edition of mission reports and identification of doubtful locations, source of potential stock errors.

Safety in operation

The system can identify potential obstacles in its path and interrupts its progress without external intervention.

Mapping software adapted to all warehouses

Intelligent algorithms

COUNTBOT® is programmed to detect and scan barcodes in real time using its various cameras.

Geolocation of pallets in warehouses

COUNTBOT® detects pallets in your storage area without the need for additional labels.

Detection of empty slots

COUNTBOT® identifies the empty slots.

Orthophoto generation

The orthophotos give the possibility to check and control the locations and pallets by the stock manager without having to go to the cells.

Full logistical follow-up

Edition of mission reports and identification of doubtful locations, source of potential stock errors.

Safety in operation

The system can identify potential obstacles in its path and interrupts its progress without external intervention.

Mapping software adapted to all warehouses

Key features

Autonomy

Complete your entire inventory in one go with the COUNTBOT® solution thanks to its 8-hour autonomy.

“Follow me” function

Sensors allow the COUNTBOT® to move quickly while following the operator.

High-speed barcode scanning

Scan barcodes at a rate of 1 pallet/second.

Simplified interface

The interface with quick start process allows you to program the mapping of any type of warehouse, to launch a scan, to compare the data of the automated inventory with the WMS and to consult the mission reports.

Use case

Automated warehouse inventory: all you need to know

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What is an inventory?

Every logistics company is legally obliged to carry out an accounting inventory, but also an annual physical inventory. Supervised by the Supply Chain Manager or the Logistics Manager, the physical or “manual” inventory consists of taking stock of all the products in stock by interrupting the activity of the storage area and by instructing operators to “scan” each product one by one, using a radio frequency terminal (RF scanner). This operation makes it possible to analyse the reliability of stockkeeping by comparing the references in the warehouse management software (also called WMS) with the actual count from the inventory. Essential, this operation detects anomalies concerning the keeping of your stocks so that you can subsequently rectify any errors in referencing, picking, addressing, classification, etc.

What are the different types of physical inventory management?

There are three types of physical inventory management from which you can choose, taking care to carry out at least one inventory per year (all types). You can focus on the inventory of all your products in stock or you can list only certain classes of items on an periodic basis or permanent basis.

1.  The annual inventory

This type of inventory is carried out once a year to verify the results of the accounting inventory.

This is a tedious and time-consuming task that requires the mobilisation of your teams, who should be trained beforehand. An annual inventory can last up to several days and slow down your logistics if your warehouse has many product references in stock.

2. The rotating inventory

The rotating inventory consists of counting only a part of your stocks and repeating the inventory several times a year on other segments of your references. These periodic or planned counts are easier to organise and require fewer financial and human resources than the other two types of inventory (annual and perpetual). More frequent, rotating inventory prevents stock shortages by providing a more up-to-date view of available stocks.

3. The perpetual inventory

This method of stocktaking, sometimes also referred to as “computerised stocktaking”, works in synergy with your warehouse management software (the WMS) to give you an instantaneous global view of your stocks. With perpetual inventory, your count of available product references is updated in the software each time an item enters or leaves your warehouse. This type of physical inventory is more resource intensive and more difficult to implement, especially if you have frequent inventory turnover. On the other hand, it provides the logistics company with greater accuracy and convenience in maintaining inventory by providing a real-time count of the products in the warehouse.

How to manage your merchandise stocks?

To prepare for this inventory stage and to ensure the proper logistics management of your company, you will first need to use warehouse management software (also known as WMS for Warehouse Management System) and proceed with the proper referencing of items during the labelling stage. The addressing method is also essential in tracking the flow of goods, as it consists of assigning pallets of products to storage locations using a code composed of alphanumeric characters. Your goods must then be classified in a typological manner into families and sub-families of articles. Once this preparatory work has been completed, it is possible to program accounting or physical inventories among the existing types: perpetual inventory or periodic inventory.

 

What is a WMS?

The digitalisation of your logistics management cannot be achieved without the appropriate IT tools. In order to ensure reliable and daily stock keeping, the use of a WMS (Warehouse Management System) software is essential. Whatever the configuration of your storage space (automated, semi-automated or fully manual), it allows companies to facilitate and computerise the management of common logistics operations such as product reception, physical inventory, stock management or even the monitoring and planning of customer orders. In addition, the use of warehouse management software allows the logistics manager to optimise the supply chain in a quality approach: organisation of the work of the teams, customer satisfaction, optimisation of the use of resources, vision of the distribution of tasks among the various employees, stock traceability, etc.

How can you automate an inventory?

Physical stocktaking, a time-consuming and repetitive task when carried out by human teams, can now be automated thanks to the COUNTBOT® solution. This device consists of a “hardware” part, a robot coupled to a stabilising drone, and a “software” part. This interface with the machine is also essential to the automation of the inventory, as it allows the warehouse to be mapped by producing a 3D representation of the racks, but also to set up the robot’s trajectories and to launch the scanning of the references in the aisles. Once all the references have been scanned, your WMS can be updated with verified data from mission reports edited by COUNTBOT®.

How does automatic inventory by drone work?

Thanks to the COUNTBOT® solution, the counting of products and the monitoring of stocks is carried out automatically in several steps:

1. Site visit and feasibility study

2. Mapping the storage area:

  • 2D warehouse scan to study robot trajectories
  • Manual measurement for 3D representation of racks and warehouse locations.

3. The actual inventory mission: COUNTBOT® goes through all the aisles to scan the pallets of goods.

4. Review: The drone inventory currently detects over 85% of locations fully automatically. The remaining gap is then filled, directly through the COUNTBOT® system’s interface, through a brief corrective input step by the logistics operators.

What are the advantages of drones for automatic warehouse inventory management?

The use of drones and machines to automate warehouse inventory may evoke its share of biases, straight out of a fantasy novel. But the truth is quite different! With COUNTBOT®, drones combine with robotics to form a state-of-the-art machine to support humans in the tedious and accident-prone task of annual stocktaking. The COUNTBOT® solution is not only capable of scanning barcodes at high speed simultaneously on multiple levels, but also of combating the risk of counting errors and accidents within your teams. Avoiding accidents also means avoiding disruption to a storage site and ensuring the continuity of the company’s logistics activity. By mobilising fewer resources, COUNTBOT® also prevents the slowdown in activity usually experienced by a storage site during a manual physical inventory. Drone technology for automatic stocktaking is a guarantee of continued profitability for the company. The Supply Chain Manager can therefore rely on this automated inventory solution to save time, maximise reliability and ensure optimum security