How to Ensure the Success of Robotic Automation for your Business

Many manufacturers are still hesitant to adopt robotic automation, because it's expensive and risky. Luckily there are steps you can take that guarantee success, starting with picking the right partner.

September 11th, 2023 7 min read

If you’re skeptical about introducing automation in your plant, we get it. Even for tasks as simple as case erecting or palletizing, traditional approaches to automation come with a number of challenges that can make it difficult or impossible to ensure success:

  • Upfront costs are steep, averaging more than $250,000 per implementation.

  • Even an in-house automation team may not have the bandwidth they need to deploy at the speed and scale your business requires.

  • Lead times are too long, with hardware on constant backorder. Many systems integrators are booking projects more than a year in advance.

There’s a way to avoid the pitfalls that lead to the failure of an automation project. It all depends on picking the right partner. But how do you find the right partner?

Photo collage, showing two people in suits shaking hands, superimposed over several robots with welding attachments. There are also computer graphics with sparks flying out of them.

What to look for in an automation provider


A midwestern contract injection molding firm serving the automotive industry purchased a half dozen robots and hired a systems integrator to install them. Unfortunately, after only 9 months, the product the robots had been installed to work on was discontinued. In order to keep using their robots, the company needed to re-hire their systems integrator to reprogram and redeploy the robots. It would have meant months of disruption to their operation, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional spend. It was cheaper to just move the robots out of the way and go back to using human labor.

Several industrial robots sitting unused in a factory storage area.

Robotics as a Service (RaaS) providers like Rapid Robotics are interested in your long-term success, not just selling you a robot. They’ll work with you to understand your pain points and discover your goals so that they deliver a solution that addresses those needs. They will also stick with you for the long term, ensuring that your robots continue to deliver the results you need - and stepping in to help find a solution if your needs change. 


A big part of that partnership is service. Any robotics provider will deliver and install hardware. After that, however, you are on your own to maintain and service your robots.

A great partner will also provide maintenance and service for your robots. Maintaining robots requires expertise that is in short supply. Even if you have robotics experts on staff, their time is probably better spent on value-add projects rather than servicing robots. 

Look for a provider that offers maintenance and repair services as part of their contract with you. An ongoing service arrangement removes the risk from robotics, and ensures that you’ll get a solution that delivers value.


When considering financing, you can choose between equipment ownership or Robotics as a Service (RaaS). There are advantages to each. 

Robotics ownership is a capital expenditure (CapEx) that comes with some tax benefits. Because you own the equipment, you will have greater control of your robots. In the long term, your equipment costs may be lower, but your timeline to ROI will be much longer. 

It’s important to weigh economic factors that go beyond equipment costs. Consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). With robotic ownership, you may need to factor in programming expenses and service costs. Other risks of owning the equipment include:

  • Extended downtime: If you don’t have robotics experts on staff, or a service agreement with a third party, getting someone to repair a broken robot can be difficult. Even if you do have the expertise needed, parts may be on backorder, or other issues may prevent a quick fix.

  • Changing needs: If your needs change, you will need to reprogram and/or move your robots. This can tax your automation team or incur another high-cost implementation if you hire an integrator.

Robotics as a Service offers low upfront costs, fast ROI, worry-free lifetime maintenance and repair, operational consulting, and comprehensive software and hardware support. True, you don’t get the tax benefits of owning the hardware, but RaaS removes the other robotics risks.

 Time to deploy

That same midwestern plastics manufacturer spent nearly two years working on the robotics deployment that ultimately ended with a collection of robots gathering dust in storage. Meanwhile, Rapid Robotics customers average about six weeks from concept to implementation.

When you calculate automation costs, you need to factor in the time it will take to program a robot and deploy it. With many systems integrators booking more than a year in advance, the traditional route inevitably means lead times of 18 months or more. Taking the DIY approach and relying exclusively on your staff automation engineers can save money and time, but your team can only do so much. Do you really want them to spend weeks implementing a robotic palletizer when their time might be better used on a more complex project? 

One of the many advantages of RaaS is the short time to deployment. RaaS providers like Rapid don’t get paid until your robot is up and running, so they work fast. When you work with a provider who has specialized in a single task like palletizing, lead times can be as short as just a few days.

Opportunity cost

Not only will long deployment times delay your return on investment, but you could also miss out on winning new business or keeping the business you have. Did you know that 64% of light industrial businesses had to forgo 25% or more of their total revenue due to labor shortages in 2022? Moreover, manual packing & palletizing lead to mistakes that can cause injuries or product damage during shipping. Palletizing related injuries are the #1 cause of workers comp claims in manufacturing and logistics.

All of this adds up to an enormous invisible drain on your revenue and profitability. Quickly implementing robotic palletizing can make a big difference to your bottom line.

Guaranteed results

The right partner will guarantee your robots perform as expected. They’ll also work with you to ensure that any implementation will meet your needs in the long term.

2 male-presenting people and 2 female-presenting people in safety gear standing in front of a robot arm, doing a fist pump.

Remember that midwestern injection molder with the robot graveyard? RaaS providers will often work with their customers to reprogram or redeploy robots for free or for the cost of a change order. Rapid, for instance, has never had a robot come out of service - when our customers have changing needs, we work with them to find a solution. 

Where to start with robotics

Regardless of whether you choose RaaS or equipment ownership, it makes sense to start in an area where robots can have an outsized impact on your business. End-of-line automation has the potential to transform your operations.

Your workers hate case erecting, case packing and palletizing. It’s hot, dangerous, boring work. Choosing a partner that specializes in end-of-line applications like Rapid Robotics ensures a quick win. You can deploy a workcell fast, demonstrate results instantly, and show that robotic automation can work for your business. It all depends on the robotics partner you choose.

Choose your automation provider wisely

Ready to try affordable robotic automation that meets your business needs? Get in touch to learn more about guaranteed results and flexible pricing.

A Yaskawa industrial arm on the Rapid modular base, holding an electronics component on a suction gripper

We're a group of diverse humans who tell anyone who'll listen how Rapid Robotics can make it easy, fast and affordable for manufacturers to start automating. And while we believe in the power of automation and AI, we're real peeps who write every word ourselves!

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