What Every Business Should Understand About Robotics-as-a-Service

Applied Tech Review | Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Robotics-as-a-service” is a paradigm in which clients acquire automation on an “as-needed” basis. This could be monthly price or usage-based pricing. Upfront expenditures are often minor or non-existent.

FREMONT, CA: "Robotics-as-a-service"(RaaS) is a business concept in which clients acquire automation "as-needed." This could be a monthly fee or a usage-based fee. Typically, upfront costs are low or non-existent. Contract durations are adjustable, allowing businesses to utilize the technology for as long as they require it. Throughout the contract, the provider is responsible for servicing and upgrades.

The advantages of this strategy include increased flexibility, immediate scalability, zero risks, and complete predictability of operational expenses at the bottom line. Perhaps most crucially, RaaS can save money from day one, in contrast to significant capital investments, which might take years to get a good return on investment.

The RaaS concept is critical as manufacturers scramble to automate essential processes in response to historic labor scarcity, rising wages, and increased global competitiveness. Automation is no longer a "nice to have," but a "need to have" for many manufacturers.

Automation will play a significant role in American reshoring initiatives. Still, for all parts of the manufacturing market to benefit, the implementation process must be made more accessible and more flexible than it is today.

What manufacturing industry difficulties is RaaS addressing?

There are five primary hurdles to automation that manufacturers repeatedly cite:

  • Capital: manufacturers typically lack the funds necessary for substantial capital expenditures.
  • Time: Manufacturers do not have the time to manage the complex process of purchasing and deploying automation technology.
  • Expertise: No amount of in-house expertise can convince manufacturers to forego automation.
  • Uncertainty: it's difficult for manufacturers to justify automation equipment purchases without a multi-year forecast of their production processes and requirements.
  • Risk: Owning automation equipment entails a risk of failure, which can include unexpected maintenance costs or, worse, a robot that becomes inoperable owing to a change in production processes.

The conventional approach to procuring and installing automation works rather well for significant enterprises with a wealth of in-house expertise and capital.

When smaller and mid-sized manufacturers consider automating, they often encounter one or more of the aforementioned barriers to entry.

What qualifies a business as a suitable fit for RaaS?

RaaS is an excellent fit for businesses that exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Struggling to recruit and retain qualified staff
  • Have insufficient funds on hand to invest in automation advances (or, perhaps capital is available, but budgeting for large outlays is too lengthy a process)
  • Lack of in-house knowledge in robotics
  • Time is of the essence
  • Want to reduce OpEx costs
  • Lack of clarity around future production requirements and desire flexibility
  • Risk-averse and seeking complete transparency and assurance on their bottom line


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