Raymond Corporation Machinery Moves Forward

Since 1922, the Southern Tier-based Raymond Corporation has been in the business of heavy lifting — building industrial forklifts and lift trucks used to move products for warehousing and distribution. The company has built its reputation on innovation, with founder George Raymond’s 1939 patent for the first double-faced wooden pallet that “became the cornerstone of modern material handling,” says CEO Michael Field, explaining that pallet was a game-changing design for warehouse density.

The Raymond Corporation has continued to innovate in the decades since, offering a range of products and services to optimize warehouse and distribution operations, and incorporating energy efficiency into its equipment design. There’s a constant “deep dive to improve things,” Field adds, citing “hydrogen-fuel cell forklifts, and lithium ion powered forklifts” aimed at improving energy efficiency and productivity.

The company’s also adapting to the different delivery systems required in an era of e-commerce and big data, offering optimization services like iWAREHOUSE that help streamline equipment use and warehouse operations. The Greene, New York, location also uses its recently opened training center for customers and technicians nationwide — courses entail product specific classes for dealer technicians, as well as orientation for new employees and Safety on the Move forklift operator training.

In 2015, Raymond expanded its Greene headquarters by 47,000 square feet to accommodate its growing workforce and new technologies. The expansion included team rooms, more office space for operations and a fitness center. The company also operates a parts distribution center in Syracuse. There are more than 1,700 employees at the Greene location, which distributes its products throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and globally.

In addition to its Southern Tier base of operations, Raymond works with a network of more than 100 Sales and Service Center locations across North America. “Sales and Service Centers are an extended family if you will,” Field explains. “We have an ownership position in most of those businesses,” so that Raymond customers can purchase equipment or find additional support, such as forklift operator training programs, closer to home but with the same –level of service everywhere.

“One of the key things is being always ‘on’,” Field says, whether through technological advances that benefit customers or through continuing education that helps Raymond employees advance in their careers. “We always go that extra mile,” he adds — a mentality Raymond applies to its commitments in the Southern Tier and New York State.

Talent Growth in Greene

In addition to its strong commitment to supporting customers, Raymond is also focused on regional growth. Raymond Corp is also a member of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), which helps develop sustainable battery and energy storage technology. The company also supports local schools and students through recruiting and educational efforts. Raymond has “50-100 job openings at any point; we add new talent in Greene or in our parts distribution center in Syracuse,” Field says.

As “a learning organization,” Raymond offers courses for employees, offering courses to employees both in-house and at nearby schools. Courses include “all facets of the business, from basic math skills to English skills to reading blueprints and production process development,” Field adds.

Raymond also participates in several co-operative programs, which bring university students in from various regions to learn about the manufacturing industry. Raymond’s focus on growth in STEM and on developing tomorrow’s workforce includes collaborations with the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, a SUNY school.

Raymond’s also active in a youth apprenticeship program through Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), which pairs companies with local high school districts and technical programs.

Raymond has also maintained a partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), located in the Finger Lakes region, since the 1950s. That partnership has yielded dedicated employees: a graduate of one of the earliest RIT co-ops worked at Raymond for more than 40 years. The company also hosts an annual National Manufacturing Day in Greene, where area high school students can learn more about the company and about industrial manufacturing. “We try to make sure we are very contemporary with the academic world and where it is going — to create a good work environment for new bright minds,” Field says.

Giving Back to the Southern Tier

In addition to its educational outreach, Raymond looks for ways for its employees to give back to the community. “Most interesting,” from Field’s perspective, is that volunteer work “is not driven from the top down,” he says. Employees are encouraged to find and pursue volunteer opportunities. “We look to be able to support that,” Field says. “We like people to be more engaged.”

Raymond’s philanthropic efforts range from work with disaster relief to volunteer efforts for the American Cancer Society. Raymond utilizes its robust network of Sales and Service Centers to offer forklifts, donations or other services to areas that have been affected by a natural disaster through the American Red Cross. Raymond and its employees have also been involved with ACS fundraising events including a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in October 2016 for which Raymond’s Ray of Hope team raised $4,800.

From a community perspective, Field says that the Southern Tier, with its rich higher-education offerings and quality of life, is a bonus for Raymond employees. From both a regional and industry landscape Field believes that "things are moving in a positive direction." After nearly a century investing in the Southern Tier business community and beyond, Raymond Corp. is as dedicated as ever to lifting industrial manufacturing into a robust future.