Big Joe Announces New Autonomous Division

The New Venture, Focused on End-user Goals, Will Be Led by Nick Malewicki

October 24, 2022 09:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Big Joe Forklifts announced the creation of its autonomous division. As robotics is set to progressively play a larger role at each step of the supply chain, Big Joe recognized the need to develop an autonomous division to serve its customers as warehouse and manufacturing environments look to adopt new technologies in response to labor shortages and other operations challenges. As a milestone in this venture, Big Joe has begun building a team with several recent new hires, including industry expert Nick Malewicki who will serve as general manager.

The strategy behind the new division is a distinctively different approach to the market than what the industry is seeing from competitors. This introduction is turning the traditional automation mindset in material handling somewhat on its head. Instead of developing highly rigid, expensive and resource intensive implementations, the Big Joe approach looks to empower users with simple machines that can be set up and deliver positive ROI beginning on day one.

“Big Joe is known for making small utilitarian lift trucks matched to a task, and what we are preparing for customers is so well aligned with what we have done for over 70 years. It is just hugely exciting for everyone involved with the brand,” said Bill Pedriana, Chief Marketing Officer at Big Joe.

Pedriana has been highly involved in the development of the company’s initial autonomous products and strategy over the past few years, which has focused on developing ‘User Directed’ cobots, like the BUD prototype unveiled at MODEX in Atlanta earlier this year.

“A lot of what we do at Big Joe is, at its core, really about empowering people,” continued Pedriana. “That follows through not just to the how and the what, but the who. Having Nick lead our new division speaks volumes as to how we are uniquely looking at developing automation solutions for customers from their perspective, not from a software, engineering, or tech heavy philosophy.”

Nick Malewicki comes to Big Joe from Pactiv Evergreen, the leading manufacturer of fresh food and beverage packaging in North America. Nick’s 25-year career in the distribution, manufacturing and packaging industries progressed from operations, engineering and automation, to leading teams to enhance profitability through cost savings initiatives. In his most recent role at Pactiv Evergreen, Nick was responsible for providing the strategic initiatives for over $100M of capital projects for a business unit, including implementation of automation solutions, warehouse facilities improvements, and managing over 1,500 leased material handling assets.

As general manager for the new Big Joe autonomous division, Nick will be drawing from his considerable end-user expertise to focus the new divisions’ efforts on making automation easy and practical for customers to understand, deploy and support.

“My intense immediate focus is on commercialization and preventing scope creep temptations as we move into 2023. Our upcoming autonomous products are on track to be simpler and lower priced than traditional offerings that our distribution partners and potential customers will simply be amazed,” said Malewicki. “Our big differentiation is that we will be able to quickly and successfully deploy autonomous products that actually work, every day, and exceed end-user expectations. As a former end user, I couldn’t be happier to be building a team and leading our efforts to deliver on that promise for our customers."

Big Joe Forklifts plans to announce additional details on automation products and technology partnerships during Q1 2023, with a formal product introduction at ProMat 2023 which runs March 20-23 in Chicago.

About Big Joe

For more than 70 years, Big Joe electric forklifts have been the standard of quality in factories, warehouses, DCs, and storerooms across the USA and around the world. Big Joe’s walkie stackers, pallet trucks and access vehicles are well known for their rugged, easy-to-use designs that provide a low-cost alternative to traditional forklifts. The company’s lithium-ion powered forklifts provide excellent solutions for running continuously without the need for down time. For more information, visit or follow us on social media.


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