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.
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.
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.