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Retailers face tremendous pressure to remain profitable, with restocking operations, inventory rotations and item access consuming tremendous amounts of worker time and effort.  Traditional tools including the rolling ladder and manual pallet jack present far too many opportunities for slips, trips, falls and repetitive stress injuries.  Replacing these outmoded items with innovative powered lift / access systems and powered pallet trucks can greatly reduce the incidence of employee injuries and worker’s comp claims, resulting in higher store profitability.

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Risk Management experts and insurance companies have been looking for ways to replace the number one cause of pedestrian fatalities in the workplace, the riding forklift, for years.  Walkie stackers have long been considered an alternative, but were often dismissed due to the difficulties of turning a heavy load with manual steering.  The addition of miniaturized componentry and electronics commonly called “fly-by-wire” technology along with modern direct driven servo motors have revolutionized power steering systems for walkie stackers.  They are now truly viable systems that offer real performance advantages, while giving employees the benefit of dramatically improved workplace safety. 

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Sometimes thinking big can cost you big, without delivering the real advantages your company needs in order to compete.   There is an industry trend to implement a bigger more complex and sexier solution to a problem when there may be a simpler, less expensive and uncomplicated answer available right off the shelf.   Two prime examples are automated parts carousels for inventory access and riding forklifts in mid-sized facilities.  In the right application, both can be incredibly powerful tools to help a business succeed, but in many applications the extra costs and complexities may not payoff in the short or even long term.

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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.

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Forklift, Joey, warehouse -

The biggest changes going on that I see is a huge transformation of warehousing related to how they replenish retail stores and pick low quantity high SKU count orders to support the fulfillment of e-commerce. Retail distribution centers are now sending smaller more varied pallet loads to retailers not once a week, but often three times a week to support maximum product selection with limited just in time inventory at the store level. 

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