Finding robotics providers is a key challenge
The need for automation and robotics is growing fast – highlighting the key adoption challenges that businesses must overcome. A major one is finding adequate robotics providers, a 2022 survey from McKinsey among industry executives shows.
42% of business leaders say it’s a challenge finding “holistic, end-to-end solution providers across geographies for the scope of robotics technologies of interest to them”, the survey found.
In other words: Even though the robotics technology to solve a particular problem exists, business leaders struggle with finding providers who can implement it in their businesses and support them along the way.
If robotics were a plug-and-play solution that businesses could implement themselves, this might not be a huge issue. However, as automation and robotics solutions are often custom-engineered to the end user's needs, finding the right implementation and support partner is essential.
For the fewer, typically larger businesses that have the in-house expertise to implement robotics solutions, this challenge would likely be smaller. But for the millions of manufacturers and other businesses worldwide that are relatively new to robotics, finding the right external partners is key. Indeed, lacking knowledge of how to implement systems was among the top three challenges to automation adoption highlighted by business leaders in the survey. It is also among the key reasons we see a growing number of businesses lean on HowToRobot’s platform to find robotics providers: This year alone, HowToRobot has seen a 59% increase in automation projects in need of robotics providers on its platform.
Lacking market overview can lead to missed opportunities
It is not surprising that businesses often need help to get an overview of the robotics market and find providers. In any fast-growing market such as robotics, it can be difficult to keep track of the technologies, solutions, and businesses providing them – as well as knowing what a solution should cost.
This can lead to missed opportunities. Even though a business has a problem that robotics technology could solve, it will not matter if the right solution is too hard to find. In this case, either the business could decide not to pursue further or risk investing in a solution that doesn’t work as intended. Both would lead to the conclusion that the technology isn’t ready – which is another of the top three adoption challenges cited by business leaders in the survey.
Similarly, without a market overview, it can be hard to establish the going rate for a given automation solution. Automation solutions are often tailored to each customer, which can make it challenging – but not impossible – to find a benchmark price. Not checking the price of one solution against others can easily lead to the conclusion that automation is too expensive compared to the benefits. Indeed, the business leaders surveyed also mention cost as one of the three major challenges to automation adoption.
How to find the right robotics provider?
Just because it can be challenging to find robotics providers with the right capabilities doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Through HowToRobot’s ongoing efforts to map out the world of robotics, we have already identified over 16,000 suppliers worldwide – from robot manufacturers to integrators, component suppliers, distributors, and advisors. Collectively, their automation expertise covers every major industry and application. Finding the right ones often involves:
- Identifying several providers with capabilities matching the application to be automated and the industry. Other important factors are the robotics providers’ track record with similar clients and their proximity to the site (most automation buyers prefer to work with vendors located within a few hours’ distance to ensure short incident response times).
- Specifying the project. By specifying the needs, goals, and functional requirements for the job – and not the robot – the customer allows for the broadest possible number of automation providers to propose a solution.
- Gathering, comparing, and assessing proposals. Getting a range of proposals with somewhat similar types of solutions and prices is often a good sign: The providers understand the job and agree on the cost – which often means they have done it before. If the proposed prices and solutions vary significantly, it could mean that the project scope is unclear, their experience with automating the task is limited, or both.
While some businesses have the resources internally to follow these steps, it is often beneficial to get external support from a robotics marketplace or independent advisor. They both specialize in having updated knowledge about the robotics market and relevant technologies, solutions, and providers. Businesses can – anonymously and free of charge – post their automation projects to HowToRobot’s platform and receive a range of solution proposals from vetted providers.
Getting help with finding robotics providers can lead to unforeseen automation opportunities. What seems unfeasible and unrealistic at first can – with the right providers – turn out to be a great investment.