Robots as a service could be next step for logistics property

Labour shortages are one of the potential hindrances to the continued meteoric growth of logistics activities.

These challenges could provide a different perspective for the case for increasing automation and robotisation according to Rene Buck, CEO of BCI Global.

Talking to Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts he described a hypothetical situation: “Previously you might have said ‘okay I have here a robot and the robot cost me €2 million but the robot replaces six people who are doing the task the robot is going to do’. Then you had a kind of discussion between capex and opex,” he explained. The €2 million might then be measured against the salaries of the six people, but if six people are not available because of labour shortages, it becomes a different discussion.  

Buck said that it may instead be a case of spending the €2 million in order to be able to deploy six people somewhere else in the operation.

“It’s also an interesting challenge for logistics real estate investors because they could develop robots as a service so that you include in the rent of the buildings their capital investments.”

He said that the labour market challenges will have a substantial impact on the whole logistics real estate market over the next few years. “The recovery is coming fast,” Buck added.

Click on the video to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.