Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS), A New Way for Manufacturers to Live a Nomadic Lifestyle

What if there was an Uber/Lyft app for manufacturing companies to outsource their operations to independent contractors?

Ever since COVID made working remotely a necessity, it feels like employees working in high-touch working environments got left behind.

That's the way it was for my family. As lifelong employees in the biotech manufacturing sector, seeing their office-worker colleagues work 100% remotely frustrated them as they stayed behind in the lab.

This will not need to be the case anymore. As robotics and computer vision advance, employees at mid-tier manufacturers will rearrange their working relationships to become contractors and employ their own robotics to perform standard processes in their place.

For more sensitive procedures, they will control their machines remotely with VR. Machine learning will take over for the low-risk procedures once the controller trains his/her machine well enough.

As feedback mechanisms kick in, the app will be able to document SOP's for manufacturers so as to avoid any disconnect between what Quality Controllers (QC's) think happens on the ground and how manufacturers actually get the job done.

The SaaS will also need to be a robotics-leasing company for its users. It will hold an inventory of robots to lend to users who need them on-demand, similar to the way Lyft sells or lets its contractors rent out vehicles.

Of course, this is all speculation. There are some manufacturing verticals that are highly specialized and would require their own set of robotics and specialized controller talent to get products out the door.

There's a great deal of knowledge about OSHA requirements and working in highly sterile environments that only some users of the app would be qualified to take on. Such a constraint will need the app to vet contractors with very specific requirements in order to prevent employers from taking on talent that would compromise their entire operations.

This app may not be a right fit for all manufacturing companies, especially at the beginning. It would need to start out with forward-looking companies looking to transition to asynchronous manufacturing processes.

Disclaimer: This is not the right idea for any fledgling bootstrapper to start with! 😂. I thought this was a cool idea for the highly adventurous entrepreneur. This idea may need to sit on the backburner for a number of years before it actually becomes feasible.

  1. 2

    Hey AJ, nice write-up. A few of our customers are in the robotics & manufacturing space and I just wanted to double down / reinforce this trend. It seems the customers I've spoken with are all trying to move in this direction but do so themselves. I would agree that there is space for someone to come in and build the underlying infrastructure for Robos as a Service...Safety & training definitely seem to be the hardest nut to crack! Cheers

    1. 2

      Hi, John. Thanks for the kind words! This is definitely a big task. My brother did VR training at the biotech he works at recently, but a lot of manufacturers, esp. the larger bio-tech firms here in SoCal, are really behind in terms of basic automation. It's good to hear that your customers are moving in the right direction on this.

      Even Elon Musk is in on this: https://twitter.com/CNET/status/1439439936487297032?s=20

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