Rope manufacturer Ravenox has optimized their remote team members by using an Ohmni telepresence robot.
In their own words, the people at Ravenox are, “Rope experts. And we’re kind of obsessed.” Founded in 2012 by Master Gunnery Sergeant Sean Brownlee, Ravenox specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of high-quality rope, cordage, and webbing products. They offer a wide range of products that are suitable for a variety of applications, including boating, camping, agriculture, construction, and more.
Since the beginning, they’ve manufactured all of their products at their factory in North Carolina. But as the world moved into the era of remote work, they wanted to embrace the change and allow for team members to be dispersed while still contributing to the company.
On top of that, they began to experience issues with finding new hires, a problem that has plagued many companies in recent times. As Brownlee says, “Getting someone to show up physically is becoming more difficult.” So he set out to explore what potential solutions may be available. After a bit of searching, he came across the Ohmni telepresence robot, and after chatting with a sales member — which included a live tour of OhmniLabs headquarters using one of the robots — he was sold; Brownlee said, “Let’s get the Terminator in here” and quickly procured one for the Ravenox team.
Using a Telepresence Robot at Ravenox
The benefits of telepresence quickly became apparent, as communication across teams quickly improved, and for good reason — as Brownlee says, “It’s very simple to use. Very easy.”
While the robot is available for all employees, it’s proven particularly beneficial for VP of Operations, Allison Contic, who uses it daily to communicate with the rest of the team. The team also notes that they appreciate being able to save pictures from the built-in camera, allowing them to make closer examinations of materials, barcodes, and other areas of the business. The robot has been such a hit that the Ravenox team has even given it an apt, punny nickname: RopeBot.
To better facilitate team members using the bot, Ravenox made some changes around the factory — most notably, they removed doors and replaced them with fabric flaps that allow the robot to traverse between rooms without needing anyone to open a door. But the modifications weren’t limited to the factory itself, as Brownlee, not averse to the occasional late-night quality check of the facilities, installed a motion-activated light to the robot that flicks on and allows for navigation through the dark hallways and storage areas. He’s also especially fond of the built-in LIDAR feature, which provides collision avoidance should the driver encounter any unexpected obstacles.
While the benefits of using telepresence for those within the company are clear, it’s proven to be a bit of an advantageous talking point with those outside as well. Once while having coffee with a couple of vendors, the topic of telepresence came up, and Brownlee whipped out his phone and called into the robot. The vendors were impressed with the unique experience of getting to tour the factory while they enjoyed a cup of Joe. “The mobile version is great,” Brownlee says. “It’s plug and play.”
The Future of Work (not just at Ravenox)
The name itself, Ravenox, is a combination of exactly what it sounds like – a raven and an ox. As stated on the company website, “The balance between the raven and the ox is a balance between wit and strength. Bringing the smartest and most durable product selections to market is at the foundation for all that we do.” The fact that Brownlee built the foundation of his company on this equilibrium of smarts and functionality shows exactly why an Ohmni telepresence robot was the perfect addition to their business. “I can see us having more of these in the future, as this is the future. I’m happy to work with OhmniLabs.”