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Material Handling Best Practices, Tips, Information and More from Toyota
RK Logistics chooses Toyota as its forklift provider, seeing a perfect alignment in cultures and values.
When CEO Rod Kalune founded RK Logistics in 1983, he sought to honor his Hawaiian heritage. “For the past 34 years, we’ve observed the spirit of ohana, which means we strive to treat employees and clients like family.”
That level of commitment, coupled with a mission to exceed customer expectations, has meant a legacy of continued expansion and enhancement of services over the years. “We grew from simple distribution services for manufacturing lines of industry-leaders such as IBM and Fujitsu, to offering full-spectrum, customized supply chain solutions,” Kalune adds.
Today, RK Logistics Group’s mission is to redefine third-party logistics, with its trademark 3PL+ service level. “This means RK Logistics goes far beyond typical warehousing and transportation to encompass everything from assembly, testing, sourcing, finished goods, and even cleanroom services for the pharma-medical industries to complex operations for high-tech companies,” explains Landon Spring, RK’s senior director of business development & marketing.
Company President Rock Magnan maintains that RK is the best combination of local ownership’s quick responsiveness and decision-making, with global experience and reach. “Our 3PL+ standard sets a new benchmark in the supply chain industry, and we chose to partner with Toyota because they have a similar value in the culture of their ‘Toyota Way,’ to have respect for people, which makes them a well-aligned partner.”
RK Vice President Kip Shepard first worked with Toyota when he began his logistics career over 25 years ago. “I’ve used them ever since, because I’ve been impressed with their technological advancements through the years. RK looks to bring value to our customers, through technology and productivity improvements; these are the same qualities we found in Toyota.”
With enhanced features such as Northern California’s only general purpose Foreign Trade Zone, ISO 9001 certification, and a cleanroom certified by the California Board of Pharmacy, RK Logistics Group’s services are all based on an exacting process-driven systems approach.
Those standardization details extend to their material handling equipment as well, which RK fulfills with Toyota’s lease-to-own program for a fleet of forklifts, order pickers, and reach trucks. Laura McCrary, senior director of human resources, says standardizing improves workforce productivity, especially for new employees. “And it improves morale, since employees know that RK is investing in equipment for them.”
WHY A REACH TRUCK?
Cindy Traver, RK’s senior director of operations, says the company chose Toyota’s reach truck for its exclusive features such as an easy-to-use interface that gives drivers better visibility and lift control, and a tilting cab, which reduces driver strain. “We’re all about increasing the accuracy of load handling and increasing safety, and Toyota’s stability system makes it the safest forklift in the industry, according to an independent study.
“We also strive to increase our efficiency environmentally,” she adds. “So we like it that Toyota’s forklifts give us improved energy efficiency with zero emissions, as well as easy battery replacement and longer operation times.”
Another key factor in choosing Toyota for RK’s material handling needs was the expertise their local Toyota dealer could provide.
“The Toyota Material Handling Northern California team differentiated themselves with their committed on-site support capability, providing both responsive customer support and dedicated mechanical service and repair,” says Spring.
RK Logistics’ partnership with Toyota is ultimately based on a shared vision. “Our focus is on leveraging innovative technology to improve productivity and safety, while exceeding customers’ expectations,” explains Magnan. “Toyota helps us accomplish that mission.”
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