Since the pandemic began years ago, virtually every industry has had to learn to adapt. Global tensions, labor shortages, and supply chain issues that simply refuse to resolve have forced businesses worldwide to create new ways of solving problems and connecting with customers.
Warehousing is no different. With average wages continuing to rise, along with the rapid pace of innovation in the field of robotics today, it gets increasingly difficult for new faces to the fulfillment game to get off the ground. High costs of new hardware, combined with the ever- changing landscape of software, make the CapEx necessary to purchase and own a robot, let alone the latest model, too high of a bar for many.
Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS), paired with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), offers a solution to this problem. Below, we look at how RaaS and SaaS allow you to use your OpEx, rather than overhead CapEx, to access the smart robotics your warehouse operations need.
RaaS is a gamechanger for the warehousing industry. Essentially, the program allows warehouse managers to rent robots from a designated vendor, rather than buy them outright. This means that smaller warehouses do not need to provide as much money upfront to access the robotic systems that they need to stay relevant.
With the fast pace of discovery and invention prevalent in robotics development, it may only be a few years before the robot that a warehouse has selected starts to become outdated or obsolete. With RaaS, a manager could choose which robots to replace with newer models from the provider and, often, on their own timeline.
Critically, the vendor is ultimately responsible for repairs and upkeep on all its robots, not the warehousing operations that rent them. This removes yet another barrier that smaller companies may need to overcome to utilize robots. The absence of responsibility for the maintenance of robots, combined with a pay-as-you-go financial agreement with the vendor, allows smaller warehouses to scale faster using their OpEx, instead of taking a large portion out of the annual CapEx budget.
In much the same way as RaaS, SaaS is built upon a rental system. In SaaS, software is lent out for a low price each month, making it more accessible to clients with a limited amount of automation in their warehouses, and autonomous mobile robots on their floors.
As with RaaS, SaaS vendors remain obligated to update and debug their software, making it that much simpler for warehouses with lower overhead to take advantage of the latest artificial intelligence programs, or find other automated solutions that can free up their control systems quickly. SaaS also greatly reduces integration challenges as the software is updated centrally and has no onsite customization, making life for IT a lot easier.
RaaS and SaaS are decisive innovations in the realm of robotic automation. With them, more operations can actively take advantage of their OpEx to access the robotic solutions that will optimize their outputs. These systems are vital to keeping warehouses running smoothly and getting consumers the products they need faster than ever before.