How a small lift truck manufacturer can be your best means to procuring the right tool for the job.

By Matt Wavrek

Engineering Director

As the Engineering Director of Big Joe Forklifts, I am often asked “What’s the right lift truck for my business?”  If the application is a straightforward store and pick operation with standard width aisles and uniform racking in a modern warehouse on the sunny side of the street, I or any of my competitors, can hand you a glossy brochure with the Perfect truck’s specifications.  If your facility is not located in downtown Utopia, the question you should be asking is “Who is the right lift truck MANUFACTURER for my business.” 

Every warehouse runs a little bit differently and every material handling operation has its own unique needs.  We understand that and don’t subscribe to the one size fits all philosophy to lift truck manufacturing.  Just as your business has its own advantages and selling points that separate you from your competitors, so does every player in the lift truck industry.  Big Joe’s is application driven design.  You’ll hear the major manufacturers talk about it, but they’re mostly concentrating their efforts on the large market segments with high volume orders.  They are more than happy to adapt a fleet of trucks for a national retailer or other power user, but a one-off custom unit?  Most brands won’t bother with it, or if they do, they will charge an extreme amount for it.  In most cases, they will try to force a bigger, more expensive unit into your application - the proverbial square peg into the round hole and tell you it’s a perfect fit.  At Big Joe, we are always willing to add an unusual attachment or create a unique option for a customer if it will make the truck a successful component in their operation.

Flexibility is what makes us different.

Big Joe has developed the broadest, most imaginative product offerings in the class 3 segment to deliver the best match for your company’s specific needs, no matter what they are. We can take any of our trucks and adapt it to your application to create the right size unit for the duty and cycle you need.  We have modified an existing truck platform, changing up to ½ of it from the mast to the chassis to make sure it met our customer’s application.  How many manufacturers can say that?  Big Joe isn’t focused on how many units you need, we’re focused on getting you the best solution to perform at the best price.  Don’t think of a truck in terms of more or less expensive in its relation to value or quality, though.  We build rugged and robust units that are properly sized to the task without over engineering or over accessorizing them.  That is our major distinction.

We will build the truck you need, not the truck we want to sell you.

Our application driven design is based on total customer communication.  We will evaluate 30 models and ask you general questions about your application, the what where and whys of your facility.  From there we will refine our applicable models based on your facility’s general size, aisle size limitations and operation environment, as well as the load size and type.  Typically we will have narrowed our model selection to five to ten models at this point.  Going further, we will look at the capacity needed, your rack / storage height, and the duty cycle.  This will pare the possible choices to three or five models.  The next step is looking at special attachments and options requested, but also the tradeoffs of customization versus a very capable standard unit.  Now we’re at 2 or 3 models.  Going further, the cost, lead-time and efficiency issues are addressed and we’ve arrived at the one or two best choices for your application.  Finally, at the pinnacle of our design process is the one truck which strikes the best balance of need and capability and is assured to deliver customer satisfaction.



The Big Joe Selection Pyramid.

  1. Start broad and ask general questions
  2. Eliminate outliers and poor fits to need
  3. Understand application and flow
  4. Understand loads and limitations
  5. Get specific and offer multiple options
  6. Help the customer make an informed decision that best benefits their business and operation

Because we offer so many choices in the class 3 segment, we are often able to arrive at simple, elegant solutions to a particular material handling need.  This keeps our costs lower and our lead-times shorter, which of course, keeps your bottom line lower.  There has been a trend in the industry to push high tech features into a truck when it is not needed by 90% of the market, all this does is run up the cost and complexity of the unit.

We will not over design your truck to make it more profitable for us.  

Some solutions however, do require a lot of complexity because of their nature and that’s OK.  We have the engineering expertise to tackle the truly unique and the manufacturing capability to build it in a cost effective manner.  By taking the initiative to supply the right size truck with special attachments or a completely custom design we will make it work for your application.  The result is a successful truck that directly impacts the productivity of your facility and drives down the cost of doing business. 

The properly sized truck with thoughtful adaptations will make your employees more productive and safer because they are using the right tool for the job.  This productivity gain is the real value that a Big Joe truck offers.  If a Big Joe Walkie can efficiently perform the tasks necessary in your facility, you can greatly reduce your upfront cost versus a comparably rated rider.  You may also see a reduction injuries and accidents because a walkie can only travel at human foot speed, and that could lower your insurance costs throughout the warehouse.  Another key benefit to choosing the right sized truck is reduced energy consumption.  If your business is material handling and our solution is more efficient or lets you do more, why wouldn’t you choose Big Joe?

We always think about supporting our end user because your success is our success.

We know of no other lift truck manufacturer who will go to greater lengths to build the truck your need.  We will support you through the design and decision making process and back our trucks with the best support in the industry. We can be the main line guy, we can be the custom guy and we can be somewhere in-between to hit the mark you need.