When automated manufacturing first became widespread, there was well-founded concern that smaller businesses wouldn’t be able to compete because of difficulty in making the large capital investments required to automate. Now, it seems that the sharing economy may have found a solution for this problem as well: robotics as a service.
Increasingly, smaller manufacturers are able to access automated manufacturing solutions thanks to programs not unlike the software as a service revolution of the past decade. Robotics manufacturers have created services to rent robots by the hour, unit or acre, and small businesses in agriculture and manufacturing alike are taking advantage of these new business models to catch up to their larger competition. The unified data platform of an ERP system can provide significant assistance here as well, as it’s important for a company using contract robotics to have robust automation procedures that are ready to plug-and-play with any robotics system.