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Warehouse automation is a powerful, effective way to streamline your warehouse operations and augment your existing workforce in a tight labor market. But the elusive question remains: how much does warehouse automation cost? The answer varies greatly based on a number of factors, such as the type of system being implemented, the size and complexity of the warehouse, and the warehouse’s specific operational needs.

On average, small-scale warehouse automation costs range anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000, while larger, more comprehensive systems can cost upwards of several million dollars. But what differentiates a $50,000 warehouse automation system from a multi-million-dollar one? Here are six key factors that affect the cost of warehouse automation.

1. Type of equipment

Not all warehouse automation systems are created equally, and the type of equipment you choose to implement will impact the cost. Conveyor systems, robotic arms, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)—you’ll need to audit your warehouse needs to identify the automation solutions that will improve operational efficiency. Remember: the more advanced the technology, the more expensive the up-front cost will be.

2. Integration with existing systems

As you evaluate warehouse automation costs, consider how new technologies will integrate with your existing warehouse infrastructure and software. The complexity of the integration will ultimately factor into the cost of warehouse automation.

3. Warehouse size and layout

The warehouse automation systems you implement need to be appropriate for the size and layout of your warehouse. Larger facilities will naturally require more equipment, as will more difficult floor plans. But the upside is that automated warehouses require less floor space overall, allowing you to take advantage of vertical storage and making it easier to navigate tight storage areas.

4. Customization of the system

Warehouse automation systems are not one size fits all—they need to be customized to work for your unique space and operational requirements. The level of customization your facility needs will affect how much warehouse automation costs.

5. Cost of labor

The cost of labor is another important factor to consider when evaluating warehouse automation costs. Automation systems can significantly reduce the number of workers needed to operate a warehouse, which can result in significant labor cost savings over time. However, the initial cost of implementing an automation system can be high, and it may take several years for these cost savings to be realized, so you’ll need to determine whether the initial cost of warehouse automation makes sense for your business.

6. Return on investment

Lastly, return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important elements that affect warehouse automation costs. Automation systems can improve warehouse efficiency, reduce errors, improve accuracy, and increase the speed of operations. These benefits can lead to increased productivity and revenue, which can help offset the initial cost of automation.

Robots as a Service through Vecna Robotics

Fortunately, with Vecna Robotics, implementing automation at your warehouse can be fast, easy, and cost-effective. Our Robotics as a Service (Raas) solutions come with no up-front costs—just one all-inclusive, annual fee that covers subscription to the software platform, deployment (shipping, IT integration, and facility mapping), training and support (including 24/7/365 remote monitoring and support), and maintenance.

Our RaaS model offers immediate, tangible benefits, from instant cash flow improvements and fast implementation, to easy-to-scale, agile workflows that evolve as your needs do. It’s all part of building operational resiliency to take your facility into the future. To dive deeply in your the “Return on Robotics” of your particular operation check out Vecna’s ROR Calculator.

Ready to get started? Contact us today for an initial assessment with a Vecna Robotics automation expert.