RICO Manufacturing: Defense Material Handling Equipment Experts

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RICO Manufacturing is an industry-leading, custom engineered material handling equipment manufacturer. The company builds highly specialized lift trucks, pallet trucks and mobile forklifts for numerous manufacturing industries, including the US Army, Navy, and Air Force. RICO serves defense manufacturers by making products for the armed services directly, as well as through approved contractors. The company engineers and manufactures forklifts directly for the US Navy, as well as some of the world’s largest shipbuilders, certified for use on the ship to handle ammunitions below deck. RICO also manufactures pallet trucks that move the Air Force 463L cargo pallets and the tire lift carriers to handle spare tires, featuring a patented device for up-armored vehicles for the US Army. Dave Mueller, CEO of RICO Manufacturing, remarks, “The products we manufacture are unique, as they are all custom designed and built for the specific customer and application by our own in-house engineers.”

RICO understands one of the major challenges the defense industry faces is cost reduction. The company works collaboratively with clients to develop quality, customizable commercial solutions designed to lower ownership cost. RICO partners with the customer to precisely capture a clear picture of the specific needs has been defined.  They work closely with the customer regarding unique requirements such as operating environment and load capacity to ensure each solution is custom engineered perfectly for the customer’s needs. Mueller explains, “Sometimes the clients have an idea for complex solution, which can be expensive to build. We work with them to simplify the idea-to-product process, thereby reducing cost of ownership of the equipment and maximizing operational efficiency.”  

Mueller further elaborates on this process. “We reach the customer’s location, inspect the material to be moved, and observe how they are currently doing the job. We then provide improvements and suggestions and get to work.” With some defense customers, it might be a brand-new ship that is still in the design phase and has not been built yet. In such cases, RICO reviews the drawings and other mechanical designs with the engineers at the ship builder’s location. Most of the time, RICO reaches out to a project about three to five years before construction begins on a ship in the shipyard.  This closely aligned partnership, throughout the project, allows RICO to help clients write, or review, a specification and identify improvements and efficiencies.

RICO Manufacturing has over four decades of experience developing custom material handling equipment, which sets the company apart from its competitors. With such rich industry expertise, the company offers quick turnaround time and accelerates its customers’ overall process. Such a capability is highly crucial in the market. The client may take years in the design phase to agree upon a specification, which may result in an urgency for delivery once a design is finalized. This expertise enables RICO to efficiently manage the project from the completion of engineering to customer delivery in a matter of months as opposed to years. Mueller notes, “We have a very rapid manufacturing process for the custom-designed pieces of equipment and prototyping. It is our efficiency of the process that allows us to go through the first article testing, meet the requirements at a rapid rate and deliver the truck or the equipment to the customer in a short time.”

Along with technical expertise, RICO also has a strong company culture with very low turnover. Mueller boasts, “We have specifically been working with the department of Defense for over three decades.” Speaking of the future, RICO plans to double down on the relationships within the DOD and prime contractors, which has been one of the company’s strengths.

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Article originally posted by Aerospace & Defense Review