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How Large Retailers Use Drones for Preventive Maintenance

In the hyper competitive landscape of modern retail, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are key to achieving better margins. National and global retailers and big box stores are constantly seeking innovative solutions to optimize labor and operations, prioritize maintenance, and ensure seamless customer experiences. 

One area where technology is making significant strides is in preventive maintenance. In the past decade, the entire Zeitview team has seen drones become a maintenance game-changer for a variety of higher-margin industries — and now we’re seeing major retailers begin to catch up.

In this article, I’ll show how major retailers and other property owners are harnessing drones and AI-powered analytics to improve preventive maintenance schedules while optimizing labor and minimizing risks.

Drones Are the Key to Unlocking Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is the practice of regularly inspecting and servicing equipment to prevent breakdowns and prolong a building’s lifespan. Traditionally, this process has involved manual inspections by maintenance personnel, which can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and potentially hazardous. However, with advancements in drone technology, major retailers and big box stores are reimagining how preventive maintenance is conducted.

By employing drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors, retailers can conduct comprehensive inspections of facilities with unprecedented speed and accuracy. At Zeitview, our vast pilot network of 70,000+ qualified drone pilots are ready to deploy to inspect our customers’ properties, usually within a few days, a further reduction in overhead. Drones can access hard-to-reach areas such as rooftops, HVAC systems, and exterior facades, providing maintenance teams with real-time insights into the condition of critical infrastructure. This proactive approach allows retailers to identify potential issues before they escalate into costly repairs or operational disruptions.

Drones Enhance On-the-Job Safety for Major Retailers

One of the key benefits of using drones for preventive maintenance is the reduction of safety risks. Traditionally, maintenance personnel may need to climb ladders or scaffolding to inspect equipment at height, exposing them to potential falls or other accidents. With drones, these risks are mitigated, as inspections can be conducted remotely without the need for personnel to physically access hazardous areas. This not only improves worker safety but also enhances overall operational efficiency by minimizing downtime due to injuries or accidents.

Frequent and Consistent Inspections

Moreover, drones enable companies to conduct preventive maintenance activities with greater frequency and consistency. Traditional inspections may only occur on a periodic basis due to logistical constraints and resource limitations. However, drones can be deployed more frequently, allowing retailers to monitor equipment and facilities on a regular basis. This proactive approach helps identify issues early on, allowing for timely intervention and minimizing the likelihood of unexpected failures or breakdowns due to things like water ingress on a roof or inefficient HVAC.

Another advantage of using drones for preventive maintenance is the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data. For some companies, this isn’t actually an advantage. They may have literally millions of images on their servers with no way to take action on the information. At Zeitview, we do things a bit differently. First, drones equipped with advanced sensors capture detailed information about the condition of a building, such as temperature and ponding. This data is then processed using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and trends indicative of potential problems. By leveraging data-driven insights, we can show our customers the areas that most need attention, allowing them to allocate labor and financial resources more effectively.

Streamlining Preventive Maintenance with Drones

Furthermore, drones offer cost savings opportunities for big box stores by streamlining preventive maintenance operations. Traditional methods may require significant investments in manpower, equipment, and logistical support. In contrast, drones offer a more efficient and scalable solution that can reduce labor costs, minimize downtime, and extend the lifespan of critical assets. Additionally, by identifying issues early and proactively addressing them, retailers can avoid costly repairs and unplanned downtime, ultimately maximizing operational efficiency and profitability.

Drones are revolutionizing the way major retailers approach preventive maintenance. By leveraging drone technology, they can conduct more frequent, accurate, and cost-effective inspections of its facilities while minimizing safety risks and operational disruptions. With the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data, drones enable facilities managers to make data-driven decisions, optimize maintenance schedules, and allocate resources more effectively. As technology continues to advance, the potential for drones to transform preventive maintenance practices will only continue to grow, helping companies run better, safer, and more efficient operations.

Tags: Aerial Inspection Commercial Real Estate Property Management Advanced Inspection Software
Nick LaBounty
Nick LaBounty

Nick is a Sr. Account Executive at Zeitview, focused on the real estate and property management verticals. He joined the company in 2016, and has extensive experience working in the drone and advanced inspection industry. Nick holds an economics degree from UCLA.


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