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It’s Not too Late to Automate: Robots may be the answer for your business to stay competitive

Robots may be the answer for your business to stay competitive

Businesses are increasingly investing in automation, including robots, to facilitate growth and control costs. And robots are becoming more commonplace in an ever-widening range of businesses. According to the International Federation of Robotics, the operational stock of industrial robots has grown by double digits in each of the past five years, hitting a new record of about 3 million units worldwide in 2021.1 Further, the pace of growth appears to be accelerating. Robot orders in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2021 were up 35% over the same period in 2020. More than half of the new orders came from outside the automotive sector, which has traditionally been at the vanguard of robot usage.2

There are several factors converging to make the next several years a perfect storm for robot expansion:

  • Labor shortages in the post-pandemic period have led companies to explore alternatives to get the job done. As a result, robotic solutions are becoming prevalent in industries beyond line manufacturing, including delivery and logistics, construction, agriculture, and even service industries.
  • Robots are becoming easier to set up and use. The trend toward user interfaces that allow for icon-driven programming and manual guidance dramatically reduce the effort, time, and the cost of getting robots online and keeping them running.
  • Robots are becoming more capable. Developments in AI and machine learning have made robots smarter and more adaptable to new tasks, and improvements in sensor technology, both visual and tactile, are contributing to significantly enhanced robot manipulation and flexibility.
  • Finally, the new trend towards Robots as a Service (RaaS) makes it easier and more affordable for small- and mid-size businesses to afford robotic solutions and to achieve the flexibility in their use necessary to employ them effectively as businesses grow.

The evolution of robots is proceeding apace, widening their application and dramatically increasing their value. If you are in a business that can benefit from increased automation, now may be the time to explore the new wave in robotic solutions. And when you do, remember that your Washington Trust Relationship Manager is available to help in all your efforts to accelerate the growth and profitability of your business.

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