Raymond moves beyond trucks

The lift truck industry is looking beyond products to solutions
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
December 10, 2010 - MMH Editorial

This morning, Chuck Pascarelli, president of The Raymond Corporation, told me a story. During a recent visit, his customer explained how a Raymond technician solved a warehousing problem while working on one of the customer’s trucks.

“The customer has fans in the warehouse. They were afraid that if there was a fire, the fans would continue to spin and fan the flames,” Pascarelli said. “Our technician overheard them and came up with a solution to turn the fan off. My lift truck guy was helping a customer with their fans.”

“That’s the kind of thing we should be doing for our customers,” Pascarelli added.

Earlier this week, Raymond announced a new program called CustomCare that the company says is designed to help customers optimize their warehouse operations and achieve greater throughput, productivity and uptime.

Reading through the bullet points, I saw the range of services and products you would expect to see from a lift truck provider, like fleet optimization and management services, financing, lift truck operating training programs and, of course, trucks.

But what caught my attention was the bullets touting Raymond’s ability to consult on broader materials handling issues, like warehouse design. One of the things I’ve noticed across all materials handling lines in recent years is that we are increasingly moving beyond selling a product – a lift truck, a conveyor, rack – to selling a broader materials handling solution. I asked Pascarelli what this new program says about Raymond’s strategy.

“Our dealers have provided solutions beyond the truck for years,” he said. “What we wanted to do is take a new approach to the market and ratify what we’ve been doing informally for a long time.”

The idea is that when you look across Raymond’s network, you’ll find dealers who also provide the gamut of materials handling products and services, such as rack, conveyors and warehouse layout and design. And where one dealer may not have all of the pieces of a solution, another dealer may be able to contribute. “If we have a dealer in Florida who doesn’t have someone who is knowledgeable on conveyors, we may be able to partner them with a dealer in New England who does to provide that portion of a solution,” said Pascarelli. “Our goal is to provide the right solution for the customer and that should be a solution that extends beyond trucks.”

Pascarelli agreed that Raymond’s move reflects a broader trend in the materials handling industry. It’s beholden to the lift truck industry, as well as others, to get on board. “Our industry is going to be different ten years from now than it is today,” he said. “Customers are going to expect more from their suppliers and it’s going to come down to who executes better. At Raymond, we want to lead that change.” 



About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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