President, RMH Systems, Inc.

Ryan is the 3rd generation of Howard family leadership at RMH. Based in the Minneapolis office, he leads strategic planning, growth initiatives, and marketing for RMH. 

Simon Sinek said, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”  I just discovered the quote this week, but it resonated well with me.  RMH Systems has grown 10-fold since the early nineties.  The company has evolved tremendously over the last three decades, We have added new technologies, product offerings, and engineering expertise. But the growth has been fueled by the same formula for 30 years: an open, progressive, trusting culture. Our team is empowered to make decisions, take risks, and foster customer relationships. That goes for everyone on the team – sales, engineering, technicians, and administration.  Our power is in our people.

In 2019, RMH started the journey with our newest business unit: our Robotics Division.  We had a strong market presence and expertise in material handling, packaging, and scales, but our customer base continued to ask about robotics automation.  We occasionally dipped a toe in the water by partnering with other robotics houses.  After a few years of trialing that approach, we returned to our core fundamental philosophy – take care of the customer. Our evolution as a company has always been driven by customer demand for innovation.  We want to be the “one-stop-shop” for our customer base.  The answer became clear: we need our own robotics offering.  The Robotics Team became the next natural extension of the progressive culture that defines us.

There was a risk in starting a new division. There is certainly risk in every venture we take on.  A project consisting of a transport conveyor traveling through sortation atop a mezzanine, to multiple palletizing cells that then feed automated pallet labelers and stretch wrappers is not easy.  As a small company, we accept significant risks when working with a global company on a complicated project.  We have to deliver.  But with this risk comes tremendous opportunity – if you have confidence in your team to execute. To sustain a culture of innovation, it’s important to value and reward risk while actively managing it.

In 2 years, we have several robots operating across the Midwest in food production, general manufacturing, and chemical plants.  In this short time, we have identified our niche in this marketplace: a total portfolio of expertise for system design and execution.  Most robotics cells have material handling or packaging equipment on the infeed or outfeed ends of the process.  RMH can bring experts from each area to the design table.  The integration of these processes is complicated, so having one source to rely on is a major benefit to our customers.

Our clients’ trust and our shared investment in their success, are what makes us good at what we do.  Fueled by customers’ challenges and their trust in us to solve through innovation, the RMH robotics business is projected to double in 2021. We’ve turned the reigns over to our talented sales and engineering team, who will continue to develop and lead new robotics and technological advancements.  While we continue to add to our technology portfolio – we introduced AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robotics – think AGV) and VLMs (vertical lift modules – automated vertical storage) in 2020, our approach remains the same. A company’s performance more often comes down to a cultural challenge, rather than simply a technical one.  Our culture remains the rock.

RMH customers will continue to push us to innovate, we welcome the challenge.  At the end of the day, we know that trailblazing is in our blood.  We will continue to evolve, to innovate, and our culture will lead the way.


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