Fluid change Featured

7:08am EDT August 31, 2004
Thomas Koly started his career with RAF Automation when it was still called RAF Fluid Power., working in shipping and sales to support himself while he went to night school.

Today, he holds the titles of president and co-owner.

RAF has gone through some changes, shifting from being a typical fluid components distributor into its niche of being a problem-solving resource for manufacturers in Northern Ohio.

"By the early 1990s, we recognized that our existing business model of providing a narrow range of components was becoming less beneficial to our customer base," says Koly.

The evolution focused on product offerings, services and partnership.

In the past, RAF's customers had the time to evaluate and choose products that fit their needs and base their decisions on the merits of each product. Today, with the competitive nature of the manufacturing industry and the fact that it plays out on a global stage, the purchasing and automation processes have been streamlined.

Now, RAF facilitates its relationship with customers by responding to specific requests and needs and by creating a fitting, one-of-a-kind solution.

Providing results that meet customer needs has meant marrying products from different disciplines to create an effective delivery strategy.

"We developed the ability to understand a manufacturing task and present a solution that takes advantage of electronic, hydraulic, mechanical, pneumatic and robotic technologies. Today, we can provide individual components manufactured by companies that are global leaders in their field, packaged solutions, software support, engineering documentation, training and ROI calculations," says Koly.

The service portion of RAF's business used to be fairly simple, and involved having good products, a competitive price and a good delivery system. Now, RAF focuses on reacting to the specific needs of its customers. Its clients build their businesses around their strengths and look to their suppliers for support in areas that are not cost-effective for them to support, says Bill Frissell, co-owner and treasurer of RAF.

By changing the company's focus, Koly and his team have altered the way RAF views other organizations and the relationship it has with them, which has translated into higher profitability for its customers .

HOW TO REACH: RAF Automation, (440) 498-8465 or www.raffluidpower.com