The world on a lift truck: Everything has been touched by the supply chain

For 28 years, I worked in the automated electronics assembly equipment industry. It was an exciting career because I was working in a high-tech industry that continuously incorporated cutting-edge positioning, sensory and machine vision technologies. However, this industry was also very cyclic. During the low periods, downsizing is bound to happen with manufacturing being cut due to decreasing equipment sales. It was during one of these down times that I found The Raymond Corporation, an industry-leading supply chain provider. While interviewing to work there, the vice president of sales said to me: “Everything you are wearing, everything in this office, all the computer equipment — was at one time touched by a lift truck.” It was then that I truly realized how stable the supply chain and material handling industry could be for my next career.

Because the material handling industry touches everything, Raymond’s large presence in the Southern Tier of New York state is very impactful. Raymond® lift trucks can be found in local industries, food markets, retail stores and local sports arenas as well as most everywhere I travel for business. This brings a large amount of income back to the local area. The company also supports the area in many other ways. As one of the largest machine shops in the Northeast, Raymond has the time and talent to donate. Raymond welders have repaired heavy industrial equipment and plows for the local community, and many events are sponsored by volunteer employees who live in the surrounding area.

I enjoy assisting with and volunteering at these events, especially those that invite students from local colleges and high schools to come to Raymond to learn about the supply chain. Sometimes, showing students that logistics and supply chain management is becoming as progressive and high-tech as other industries interests them enough to join our Raymond family. When I speak to students about how this can be a great career option, I feel I am contributing to the industry’s future.

As other industries move forward in technology, so does ours. We have seen increased use of sensor technology in automobiles and farm equipment, and supply chain management is moving in the same direction with telematics systems that I work with at Raymond called iWAREHOUSE®. iWAREHOUSE provides vital data and analytics to warehouse managers, allowing them to promote operator accountability and monitor compliance, risk management and metrics for their industrial vehicle fleet, operators and batteries. Evolving industry communication standards will also aid in warehouses that have mixed fleets — such as a mix of Raymond, Crown and Hyster forklifts. The key is not to be concerned as much with what collected the data. Instead it is more valuable to be able to liberate the data from each system to then leverage and compare the information for a broader system view. By promoting these standards and contributing to industry publications, I believe I am helping contribute to both manufacturing’s and the supply chain’s continuous improvement efforts.

I am honored to have been recognized for my work in the supply chain industry when I won the 2017 Food Logistics: Rock Stars of the Supply Chain award. I have contributed insights based on my industry knowledge in numerous trade publications, and I am a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. Representing an industry I care about, and one that benefits the community I live in, is a privilege. I am excited to see how the supply chain continues to embrace and lead more innovative technologies.

Creating efficiency at work and at home

While pursuing an electrical engineering major with an emphasis in business, I became very interested in both manufacturing and supply chain business operations in college. After graduating with my Master of Business Administration in sales, I worked for a semi-conductor manufacturing company that had a large stake in the U.S. market. One of its main initiatives was to establish a world-class supply chain to match its high-end manufacturing operation. As a sales person with an interest in the supply chain, I wanted to be involved in these efforts and learn how I could assist my team and customers in receiving high-quality products on time.

Today, as a part of the iWAREHOUSE team at The Raymond Corporation, I can still apply this interest and my experience in the supply chain to work with our large clients across North America. I help explain how iWAREHOUSE, our fleet management and warehouse optimization system, can shape and change their supply chain businesses, reducing cost and increasing efficiencies. Through my work, I enjoy changing the way people and their companies regard supply chain operations.

The insights I’ve gained through my career in the supply chain have shaped my personal life, including decreasing my wait time at the gym and cutting down the time I spend on at-home chores. This is proof that what I do influences every aspect of my life and the way I think, as I am keenly aware of the waste that can result from inefficiencies. At the gym, I’ve noticed that many people have a workout routine: their arms on Mondays, chest on Tuesdays, etc. With that knowledge, I now plan my workouts so I use the machines opposite everyone else. This helps me save the time I would have spent waiting for my turn with the equipment. Another example involves my four horses. Feeding them can be a time-consuming process, so I have learned to first lure my “leader horse” into the stall with food — the other horses will follow. The process used to take me 40 minutes, and now I can do it in 15.

My career in the supply chain has not only impacted my professional and personal life but also has enabled me to positively impact those I work with. I meet with some of the world’s largest companies and have in-depth conversations about their supply chain efforts for material handling and product execution. Although each operation has some similarities and some vast differences, I enjoy knowing that, no matter what, I can help change the way companies are operating — through new product and system enablement, and discussions about their specific operational needs. Knowing I personally had a hand in helping each company’s supply chain efficiencies is important to me.

Jack Kaumo