A leaked internal memo from a major online retailer indicates that the company can’t find enough people to staff its warehouses. The news media tells us that workers for a leading delivery service threaten to strike. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of warehouse job openings is on the rise, as is the number of workers actively quitting their jobs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that companies of all kinds are forced to either implement automation or increase their current investment in these systems.
But that’s just a small part of the total picture. No one wants a robot to take anyone’s job, but statistics show that they don’t. Automation makes companies more successful, which means they’re actually able to hire more workers. And better yet, those workers as well as the legacy employees are left with better jobs. They get to learn new skills, can give the dull, repetitive tasks to their new electro-mechanical friends, and because the company becomes more efficient, the chances of long-term, fulfilling employment becomes greater.
Nowhere is this more true than in the warehouse and logistics space, which helps explain why Plus One Robotics, a leading provider of AI vision perception software and solutions for robotic parcel handling, fields plenty of questions on automated handling systems. Chief among these is, “How quickly can I gain my ROI?”
However, comparing manual labor against an investment in automation is not just a simple black and white scenario about cost. You might think you know your exact expenses from labor each year, but along with the hourly rates come training, sick days, PTO, turnover, etc. along with basic physical limitations. Plus, these rates and affiliated expenses are not fixed costs, but rather outlays that are bound to increase as time goes on.
Now, suppose you look into switching to a fully automated system where there is a set cost for the system based upon your needs – a cost that, once the purchase order is signed, should not increase with inflation. However, what intimidates some companies from this investment is that even though robots can work continuously to improve throughput and lower PPH, the up-front expenditure involved may certainly require a year or more to recoup ROI.
Good news is that there is an alternative – the Robots as a Service (RaaS) model, where there is no requirement to put money down, so payback is immediate. Think of it as being similar to leasing a vehicle; you sign a five-year contract and pay a consistent monthly rate based upon that agreement. This provides immediate access to the solution without a large capital investment that not only keeps money in your pocket, but provides productivity gains that can add up to cost savings.
For more on the ROI potential of automaton in your warehouse, call +1 (210)899-5078.