Usually, when a company creates a breakthrough product, process, or technology, it seeks to make a profit from it. But The Raymond Corporation, a Greene, New York, warehouse equipment manufacturer and solutions provider, has been known to take their innovation-driven patents and donate them back to their industry. Their goal is to encourage innovation and forward-thinking ideas that can fuel change and growth.
When Raymond patented the first double-sided wooden pallet in 1939, the invention was a game-changer in stacking products and optimizing storage space. The company allowed others to use the design free of charge, benefitting the entire industry, says CEO Mike Field. Raymond also recently developed and patented a standard for energy storage systems. Now, other logistics companies may use that innovation to create a universal standard for the lithium-ion batteries used in forklifts.
CHANNELING CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT
Weaving together equipment, technology, and expertise, Raymond’s success is due, in part, to its ability to develop unexpected warehouse improvements. The intralogistics solutions provider is No. 10 on Fast Company’s 2019 Most Innovative Companies list in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Companies category. Its Virtual Reality Simulator is a realistic and game-like solution that helps companies attract new lift truck operators and educate them quickly and efficiently. Online learning tools, such as Safety on the Move™, also support employee development.
Raymond’s other innovations include applying technology to its iconic forklifts to turn them into data centers. The iWAREHOUSE telematics solution provides deep insight into everything from a vehicle’s utilization to maintenance needs. Using the warehouse’s own data, Raymond’s expert team simplifies and streamlines operations.
“We first need to clearly understand how the warehouse needs to work, as well as the next generation of process flow needed,” Field says. Then, the team uses Lean process management approaches to improve work flow, automate tasks, and help warehouses run more efficiently.
FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE
Innovation doesn’t grow without nurturing, however. “Constant improvement” is an organizational mantra, which has led to several award-winning initiatives. The company has received the prestigious Frost and Sullivan Manufacturing and Leadership Award for Operational Excellence multiple times, as well as an Edison Award for its virtual reality simulator. The Raymond Virtual Reality Simulator also is a finalist for an International Forklift of the Year award. And their game-changing iWAREHOUSE also won a leadership award. “People want to work in a winning environment,” Field says.
Raymond works with some of the biggest companies in the world but prides itself on being a global leader with long-standing family values. Field says the company prioritizes education and training, so employees are prepared for an ever-changing industry landscape.
And the company continues to contribute to that change. Field’s team has contributed to the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0. The initiative taps the expertise of leaders in transportation and logistics to look at how the industry is changing. In addition, Raymond is expanding its virtual reality training. Soon, iWAREHOUSE will transform from a telematics platform to a true intralogistics technology solution, enabling the next generation of connected warehouses.
Innovation, quality, and service have been in Raymond’s DNA since the beginning and are the pillars of their business.
Raymond has a deep commitment to innovation, quality, and service. The company’s goals are to maximize customers’ intralogistics performance and create insights to keep them moving well beyond the warehouse. “We were never just about the forklifts,” Field says.