Ray's desire for data extends to Ray Products' annual survey of industrial designers and other key stakeholders. The company started the survey three years ago, and it has had the added benefit of providing a touch point with customers and leads on new projects.
“If they are not thinking thermoforming, why not? We want to know. Are we not reaching those customers in the right space or the right avenue?” He added that more brands used to have in-house design teams. “Now, there are third-party industrial designers. You might have a great relationship with a customer, but the designer doesn't know thermoforming.”
Ray has grown into his role as president, focusing on technology, outreach and knowing which jobs to turn down.
“Nineteen years ago, we would take every purchase order,” he said, pointing out that now he'll tell a customer when injection molding might be a better option, hoping that the customer will appreciate the honesty and could very well come back to Ray Products in the future.
Ray admits there are a handful of things that keep him up at night, but one stands out.
“I think it's going be communication. Am I communicating correctly with our employees and our customers? Communication is such a simple word. Are we sharing with everybody what our challenges are, what are successes are, what are overall updates of our business are?
“I think that we forget how important it is to go to a trade show and shake hands and look someone in the eye and listen to them — good, bad or indifferent. I think technology gets in the way sometimes. Emails, voicemails. We don't take the time to do what we used to do because we're so busy. I think when we run into trouble, we can trace it back to a couple of things. But if we're not communicating and we're not asking the right questions and we're not listening to the answers, we can find ourselves getting off our path.
“I want to make sure we're transparent. That we're taking care of the people that are here from all different angles. That they're getting the education and training they need, making sure the wages are there, that the insurance is there. Then you want to make sure you take care of our customers. And you don't say ‘yes' to everybody. If a reject comes back, I take it personal. At the end of the day, our job is to do what we said we were going to do and execute it.”