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Leased Robots Help at Holidays

As worker shortages persist, companies looking for extra holiday help are getting it from an unusual source: robots, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s going on: “Leased robots, which have grown in popularity across the industry in recent years, can be added to existing fleets of warehouse, distribution and fulfillment center robots at any time to support an anticipated jump in demand, robot vendors say.”

  • Increasingly, these robots are being used to receive, unload and sort packages, move heavy loads and replenish shelves.

A growing market: “Spending in the global logistics robotics market, which was valued at roughly $2.6 billion in 2020, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.94%, reaching an estimated $10.97 billion by 2027, according to data analysis firm Research and Markets.”

  • Under the “robots-as-a-service” model, companies are charged a subscription by robotics firms, with fees varying depending on processing volume, tasks being done and types of packages being handled.

Help, with a caveat: Renting spares companies the high costs of robot ownership and maintenance. But for programming purposes, orders for leased robots must be “made well in advance of an anticipated upturn in demand—which can be hard to predict in an uncertain economy.”

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