How the Joey is Changing the Way Companies Think About Warehousing

How the Joey is Changing the Way Companies Think About Warehousing

No matter how your business has evolved, it’s probably safe to say your warehousing operations do not look like they did even ten years ago.  Amazon, eBay, and other e-commerce businesses have shaken up the retail landscape with online ordering and innovative delivery techniques.  Warehouses everywhere have had to make meaningful shifts in how they organize and fulfill product orders to make their distribution more efficient and responsive.  These actions have leveled the warehousing and distribution playing field for many, and those taking advantage are winning the game against competitors that are slow to embrace change. 

Thanks to better technology, many solutions now exist to bring small, medium, and large businesses into competition with each other if they can adopt and execute new strategies that cater to their customer’s needs.  I have seen these changes first hand during the twenty years that I have been in the material handling industry.  Along the way, Big Joe products have been part of this evolution and in my role on the Big Joe team, I regularly advise warehouse operators on what they can do to improve both their efficiency, flexibility and safety. 

One piece of equipment in particular - the Joey TSV – which excels at piece picking and cycle counting common to e-commerce operations, is helping change warehouse operations across the country.  In the following paragraphs, I will break down some of the possible areas where a Joey can be used that will be helpful to current customers and new prospects alike. 

Vertical Maximization

Rolling ladders have been used for a long time for individual picks, but they are increasingly viewed as an unsafe and inefficient option in the warehouse.  Not to mention that their footprint takes up valuable floor space.  Replacing rolling ladders with a Joey TSV allows small warehouses to stock inventory higher than most ladders will go increasing the number of vertical pick locations.  With the J1-192 model, warehouses can have effective pick locations as high as 240”.  What this means is that more items can be stored in the same or often times less area then they’re using now.  Typically, average aisle width for a rolling ladder is about 6 feet to allow for the ladder and enough room for people to get around them, and most aisles have more than one ladder in them at a time.  With a Joey TSV, that same aisle can be condensed down to as little as 4 feet providing much needed additional warehouse space.

Some warehouses with 25 - 30 foot high ceilings are only using 6’ high shelves for small items and parts.  If these companies took advantage of the “unused” empty space above, they could increase their warehouse space exponentially.  I have seen companies consider moving their operations due to lack of space all the while not making use of what they already have up above; they need to make use of what I call ‘Vertical Maximization’.  By expanding pick locations vertically rather than horizontally, a broader selection of product can be carried in the same space, all you often need is the right tool for the job and good management of inventory in many cases. 

The J1 Joey allows a company focused on piece picking, which is more and more these days - to get the best vertical maximization in their warehouse.  The Joey’s ability to drive while elevated, turn around in its own footprint, carry a 300 lb. operator and up to 500 lbs. on the load, platform makes it the best in class solution for small pick operations.  It can even tow 2500 lbs. with the optional tow hitch, providing for flexible strategies to handle specific material flows unlike any other machine available.  Really, there just isn’t anything else like it!

Augmenting the Warehouse Workforce

With labor being one of the highest expenses within a warehouse, an increasing number of businesses are looking for ways to minimize those costs while improving productivity in their storage areas.  Sometimes finding individuals who can operate a lift truck, don’t have a fear of heights, or want higher compensation for doing so can be a challenge.  Some warehouses also experience peak seasons for their products or services and must add to their workforce to gear up for those times.  It’s simply getting harder to find and train and workers, especially if you only need them a few months a year.

By augmenting workforces with a Joey TSV, companies can create more efficient picking systems without necessarily having to spend more on staffing.  Since the truck was designed to be extremely intuitive to operate, the learning curve for new staff is low which is a big advantage in the current labor environment.  Just like any industrial vehicle - operators training is mandatory, but the Joey TSV is so simple to use that even novice operators become comfortable and productive quickly compared to other equipment types.


ANSI & OSHA compliant, the design of the Joey TSV puts a high premium on operator safety.  The Joey comes with front and rear red strobe lights standard, with blue light LED’s, audible travel, backup alarm and even an optional tether and harness kit available.  The Joey’s operator platform eliminates needing to climb a rolling ladder and the front platform on to which you retrieve, and store items keeps your hands free.  Plenty of warehouses still use ladders, and that means people are carrying boxes up and down those ladders.  Imagine going up and down a ladder multiple times per hour, carrying boxes, parts, or components, with you each time, and then having to push the ladder to the next location to do it again.  By the end of the day, the average worker is exhausted, and this can lead to mistakes; everything from dropping and damaging products, to a fall and becoming seriously injured.  These shortcomings all cost money in the form of lost profits, insurance claims, and workers compensation. 

Reduce Legal Liability and Insurance Costs

Insurance companies have approached some of our clients and tell them they should replace their rolling ladders because of the fall liability posed by them.  The Joey offers a safer and more efficient solution than any ladder ever could.  The US Department of Labor puts the cost for the average fall from a ladder at $40,000.00 per occurrence, with 700 occupational deaths per year.

Barcode Scanner and Fleet Management Software Friendly

Picking efficiency: Warehouse operations can pick much faster with scanner technology and voice-based systems that integrate with their WMS – warehouse management systems.  These technological tools help users organize their warehouses more efficiently and enable more efficient working practices to be followed especially when it comes to pick rates, tracking and optimization. The Joey TSV uses common components that make compatibility with such technologies much more straightforward than vehicles using proprietary systems.  The Joey is so friendly, it even has an optional auxiliary outlet to provide power to peripherals.

Aids Quality Control

When products arrive at a shipping or pack station, those items must be verified before they are processed.  When problems are identified, like an incorrect product delivered to the shipping station, the Joey can be utilized to return the item to the appropriate location immediately.  Same goes for incoming returns or other replenishment duties in some cases. 

Having a Joey means you can think differently in many cases.  Do things really need to be a mess and piled up for batched activities?  Or are there some things that a small nimble machine can do on the fly which make more sense to keep valuable workflows moving.

Making Picking Faster  

The Joey’s ability to quickly drive down an aisle, go up to the correct location and pick items without the need for a ladder or cart to carry those items makes your warehouse picks faster.  Customers tell us they have increased their pick speed by triple what it was before they had the Joey TSV.  Increased pick speed has also been attributed to a reduction in workforce, especially with temporary and seasonal workers.

Using the Joey to Handle Small Orders

With shipping times shrinking and customers’ requirements constantly changing, a lot of warehouses are thinking about high volume storage.  Next day delivery forces warehouses to keep a higher number of different items on the shelves to fulfil the needs of the customer, fill those requests quickly and be close to their customers.  This often means needing small urban warehouses rather than big distribution centers as people expect what they want tomorrow regardless of order size.

With the Joey TSV people are changing how they think about warehousing and delivering.


By Jeff Mull