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RH Brown: Industry-Leading Material Handling Solutions in the Pacific Northwest

Bailey Ludlam | 9 February 2022

RH Brown Company, an independent integrator with a deep history in the Pacific Northwest is widely recognized as one of the country’s premier material handling system integration companies. It was founded in 1911 selling bicycles and miscellaneous industrial equipment, but as the business evolved, it included a wide variety of industrial supplies and material handling equipment.

In 2021, Bastian Solutions announced that RH Brown Co., a fourth-generation family-owned material handling solution provider, became the newest Toyota member company.

We talked to RH Brown Co. President Scott Larsen, who launched system integration and automation offerings after taking the helm as the fourth-generation leader.

“With the evolution of the company, our primary focus on our customers hasn’t changed. Our primary focus today is working closely with our customers to identify specific project objectives that are most impactful to the success of their business,” says Scott Larsen.


Q: What are some of the general supply chain trends that you are seeing in the Pacific Northwest right now?

This year is looking a lot like 2021 and we expect the trends to continue well beyond 2022. The combination of supply chain constraints and workforce shortages are top challenges facing our customers. This means that they are more frequently looking at increasing automation of manual tasks and repetitive work, complete integration of MHE (material handling equipment) Systems and complex software interfaces with their ERP systems. Here in the PNW our key vertical is food manufacturing and processing, distribution, and manufacturing, but we’re seeing these automation trends across industries.


Q: RH Brown has a deep history in the Pacific Northwest. Initially starting as a business selling bicycles, what are RH Brown’s primary focus areas today?

RH Brown Co., when it started as Washington Cycle and Supply, was founded to sell bicycles and various industrial equipment. In 1948 that changed. The company became known as RH Brown Company and we were able to expand its presence in the material handling industry. Starting initially with nonpowered material handling goods like hand trucks, casters and dollies, over time systems integration became a bigger part of the business – ultimately to where we are at today – turnkey solutions including conveyor systems, automated storage systems and palletizing systems, as well as services like project consultation, design engineering, project management, installation, software and control integration, and after sale service. 

With the evolution of the company, our primary focus on our customers hasn’t changed. Our primary focus today is working closely with our customers to identify specific project objectives that are most impactful to the success of their business. We have extensive experience helping companies transition from manual operations to complete automation.


Q: As an independent systems integrator, what technology and system changes are you seeing with today’s evolving market and COVID-19 impact?

As a systems integrator we’re seeing increased interest in advanced automation and scalable systems – palletizing, conveyance, AGVs, AMRs, goods to person picking, ASRS – but really it comes down to systems that meet a company’s production goals and workforce, and a system that can also increase capacity as the business grows. 

When we propose a solution to our customers, they receive a turnkey solution that has been developed by understanding the total business landscape and strategic goals. We are not beholden to any one technology as if we were a supplier. This means that our solutions are tailored to the specific need of our customers and we can plan systems with future considerations in mind. We are seeing increasing confidence and trust in this approach. We build our reputation with each customer and project.


Q: It was announced in late 2021 that you are now a Toyota member company. What does the alliance with Bastian Solutions and Toyota Industries mean for current and future customers?

Advanced technologies are evolving at a more rapid pace than ever. Solutions are becoming more complex and larger in scale. We see the need to continue to expand our services and capabilities to provide industry leading solutions. The foundation of our success is our community of people; that includes our staff, customers, vendor partners and industry peers.  We recognized that the opportunity to align with Bastian and Toyota was one to better serve our community. This partnership will allow RHB to accelerate our growth, provide industry leading technologies, improve our ability to service across the country, and continue meeting customer demands into the future.

Author: Bailey Ludlam

Bailey is the Brand Marketing Manager at Bastian Solutions, based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a bachelor’s degree from Washington College and 10 years experience working in marketing and journalism. Outside of work, Bailey enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and can usually be found hiking, running or creating with LEGO bricks. 


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