HOJ Engineering and Sales

Henning Hoj founded HOJ Engineering and Sales Inc. on one main premise. “His philosophy was to focus on the customer first, and he felt everything else should fall into place if you did that,” says his son, Peter Hoj, president of the Salt Lake City-based company. Established in 1964, the firm is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

A native of Denmark who immigrated to the United States with his wife and children in 1960, Henning Hoj drew on his background in mechanical engineering and expertise in productivity to sell overhead cranes to manufacturers and warehouse operators. “Designing and engineering the best solutions for clients was always his goal,” says Tim Hoj, Peter’s brother and the company’s CEO.

With its founder’s customer service focus and engineering background, the company rapidly branched out from its origins as a one-person company. Today, HOJ employs 150 people and offers material-handling solutions and products including:

    Forklifts 
    Conveyors 
    Cranes
    Matting
    Work stations
    Carts
    Safety netting
    Racking systems
    Shelving 
    Process controls

 

HOJ’s customer base includes  manufacturers and warehouse operators. The company’s services include logistics consulting and forklift, conveyor and aerial work platform training.

“Being a traditional material-handling company but having that engineering basis made all the difference for us,” Tim Hoj says. “Henning’s focus on designing and engineering the best possible solutions for people really differentiated us, has carried us through the years and is the backbone of our future.”

Henning Hoj, now 83, retired from the company in March 2012, but his legacy remains strong among HOJ Engineering’s employees and customers. “I run into people every week who ask how he’s doing and have memories of working with him 30 to 40 years ago,” Peter Hoj says.

Peter Hoj joined the company in 1987 and oversees the service side of the business, while Tim Hoj – who joined the company in 1992 – leads sales efforts. The brothers are just two of several long-tenured staff members. 

“One of our vice presidents is 85 years old, and he still comes in every day and works weekends, because he loves what he does,” Peter Hoj says.

Adding Value

HOJ Engineering works with clients throughout its home state as well as throughout the United States and internationally. “Utah isn’t enormous, but is a strong market with a lot of diversity,” Tim Hoj says. “We take in a little bit of every sector including distribution, industrial, mining, government and defense.”

The company’s largest client base is in service distribution and online order fulfillment. HOJ Engineering also provides systems and services to  third-party logistics providers who maintain warehouses and distribution centers for manufacturers. 

HOJ Engineering sells equipment from a number of different vendors including Nissan Forklifts and Hytrol Conveyor Co., each of which the company has worked with for decades.

“I am proud of the value we place on end-users and our manufacturing partners,” Tim Hoj adds. “We want to bring the best value to our customers while working hard to maintain marketshare for manufacturing partners.”

HOJ Engineering provides planning, service, installation and integration services in addition to equipment sales. “We provide installation and service all in-house, instead of outsourcing it,” Peter Hoj says, noting the company has a dedicated contracting division of more than 60 employees. “Some of our installers have been with us since the mid-1980s and have a wealth of experience.”

The company examines client transactional data such as shipping, storing and receiving volumes as well as available space and technology before recommending a solution specific to a customer’s needs.

“We work with clients who are building new facilities or are uncomfortable in their current space and want to improve their processes,” Tim Hoj says. 

HOJ Engineering applies lean manufacturing principles such as just-in-time and Six Sigma to its consulting work with clients as well as its own operations. 

The company’s recent internal efficiency investments include connecting its sales and accounting processes within its ERP system to avoid data entry duplication and increase reporting visibility, he adds.

All of the company’s offerings are geared toward retaining a strong customer base. “We feel fortunate to get the first order, but place more value on getting the second, third or fourth order,” Peter Hoj says. “A long-term relationship with each customer is ideally our goal.”

HOJ continues to evolve its services to keep up with customer needs. The company recently applied for a patent on an iPad and mobile tablet app that integrates all aspects of inventory and shipping management  into one device. 

“We saw that many of our customers needed better inventory and scanning controls but found the cost of typical warehouse management software to be too prohibitive,” Tim Hoj says. 

The company’s system replaces conventional RF scanning guns with the tablet devices themselves, which can transmit information to printers or computers via Bluetooth or wireless connections. 

In addition to offering smaller companies an affordable system, the scanning technology can also be paired with existing warehouse management systems. 

“This technology really differentiates us as a material-handling company,” Peter Hoj says. “Through this system we’ve really stepped up vertically to offer a turnkey package and solution that most other companies don’t.”

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