The Risks of ‘Just Buy a Robot’ 

‘Just Buy a Robot’

At DEVELOP LLC, we understand that there are multiple market pressures to ‘just buy a robot’. Maybe your competitor is touting their new futuristic production facility. Maybe an irresponsible person told you that integrating industrial automation can improve safety, morale, throughput, consistency, quality, and worker morale just by bolting a generic machine to your warehouse floor. Maybe you are reacting out of reflex to an accident, change in government regulations, market instability, or stagnant growth. 

DEVELOP LLC’s engineers, manufacturing experts, and project managers stand by our requirement for our targeted Automation Assessment. We have been privileged to not only guide responsible automation integrations of first-time adopters, but also course correct customers with incomplete, inefficient, or improperly scoped automation integration plans leftover from independent attempts or from competitor automation integrators. A professional Automation Assessment is the first fiduciary responsibility when considering industrial automation for your business. 


Common Risks of Improperly Scoped Automation Integrations


Over the years we have seen a lot of independent or improperly scoped automation integrations. Here are some reasons why you need a professional automation integration before purchasing your first robot: 


Return on investment


A robotic integration can easily hit six figures. For any business, this is a significant capital expenditure. Customers see those dollar signs and understandably start prioritizing cost. A responsible automation assessment prioritizes return on investment. A swift and steady return on investment plan will not only set clear timelines on when your gains exceed your costs, it will maximize your future gains. DEVELOP LLC can customize your automation integration to the specific goals and needs of your company while factoring in the swiftest path to return. We have had customers working off an independent plan not realizing that they were six years from a return on investment. By assessing and understanding these customer’s business, we understood they needed a more flexible machine. By increasing some initial costs, we were able to reduce that return on investment timeline to two years with a better risk to return ratio. Try for yourself! Click here to use our Return on Investment Calculator to simulate cost/benefit estimates. 


Value focused integration


There are general use robots that tout simple programming and multi-purpose functions, but scoping return on investment targets means targeting value-added tasks. You want your robotic machine to do the work of multiple operators, through multiple shifts, with higher speeds, with superior quality, and measurably more consistent quantity. The ideal targets for automation are high volume, low variation, repetitive, growth promoting tasks. An automation for a process that involved one operator for one shift, doesn’t demand higher volume, doesn’t increase throughput, and requires inconsistent inputs and variations is not adding enough value to justify replacing your manual operation.  




A responsible automation integration will include provisions for increased capacity and scale. Floor size, budget, safety, and growth goals all must be part of your integration plan. The ideal integration plan anticipates that this is the first robot, not the last, and builds on the previous integration. We manage your integration production floor for efficient use of space. We integrate our machines with convenient travel paths. We marry appreciation for the industrial machine today with planning for inevitable growth. 


Workforce communication


Preparing your workforce for an automation integration requires early adoption of plans to convert manual workers into operators, clearly communicated visions from the top to the bottom of your enterprise, and an honest respect for how industrial automation changes the routines of your employees. We stepped in on the aftermath for ‘just buy a robot’ customers to find an expensive and advanced piece of equipment covered in dust or used for a fraction of its intended purpose. Educating your workforce on the operation of your machines, adding additional competencies, addressing concerns about job security, communicating the improvements to the work environment, and championing opportunities for employees to develop their skills invests your employees in the successful integration of your robot. Any change without investment can engender resentment, faulty assumptions, unproductive conclusions, and have downstream impacts on adoption, stability, and retention. Operators are great at getting equipment to fail when they don’t understand it or were not trusted to be a part of the process. 


Custom automation integration


One of the reasons Develop LLC uses the term ‘Automation Integration’ instead of ‘sell a robot’ is because we understand that there are no one size fits all solutions. Every business has different products, employment structures, goals, and available resources. Even making minor changes to the implementation of your machine can have exponential downstream returns on your investment. We make custom engineering, robotics, software, and control systems tailored to your individual use. An off the shelf robot will have functions you don’t need, can’t use, or abilities that will require you to make drastic changes to your production to use. Do it yourself companies hit a roadblock at singulation, orientation and processing supplied components like bowl feeders, tapers, labelers, vision, custom controls, and more. With the upfront investment costs of your production, you shouldn’t settle for less than customized automation integration. 


Non-Integration improvements


One of the things we at DEVELOP LLC pride ourselves on is an appreciation that every solution doesn’t have to be about robots. Our automation assessment team has years of experience improving production processes.  We evaluate your current production processes and consider it our fiduciary responsibility to inform you if there is an overlooked improvement that can be achieved. We have told customers when the return on investment does not make sense, and we are experts at scoping different opportunities to add dollars to the bottom line. While we stand by the quality of our custom integrations, we are not trying to ‘just sell a robot’. 

DEVELOP LLC has a proven track record for transforming integration obstacles into automation solutions. We partner with our customers to educate beyond our competitors and stimulate the swiftest return on investment. Tell us more about your project, schedule a virtual meeting, or call (262)-622-6104 to learn more about how we can help you automate your production today.  

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