From Factory Floor to Award Ceremony: How Bringing the Destuff-it™ to Market in the US Earned Gorbel® One of the Highest Local Business Awards

Sarah Weise
| Dec 12, 2023
In late August, members of the Greater Rochester Quality Council visited the Destuff-it™ factory in Henrietta. They were following up on our application for the Performance Excellence Awards, which annually celebrate the highest achievements and innovations of local businesses. The foundation of our application was the Destuff-it™ Implementation Project, a colossal effort that included acquiring the product from Canada’s Engineered Lifting Systems (ELS) and rapidly expanding production capacity into the United States.  

Gorbel® collided with the Destuff-it™ during the COVID-19 pandemic. While our company had been approved for continued operation as an essential business by the New York State government, many of our dealers and clients were not. We had lifting solutions available, but forecasted demand during a pandemic was a huge unknown. Our CEO, Brian Reh, knew that more was needed to sustain the company through such unprecedented times. With a workforce of nearly six hundred employees, too much was at stake. He realized that Gorbel® could serve as a contract manager for companies that could no longer fulfill orders, and he had the perfect company in mind.  

ELS was a Canadian manufacturer of industrial cranes and equipment that had invented a novel conveyor system in the early 2010s. This conveyor system was called the Destuff-it™ and it was positioned to transform the warehousing industry by making it easier and safer for workers to load and unload trucks. Many large companies were preparing to place substantial orders, but ELS did not have the manufacturing capacity to match the demand.

Destuff-it™ in Manufacturing Facility  

Understanding how significant the Destuff-it™ was during a period where people were relying on deliveries and e-commerce more than ever, Brian called the owners of ELS. To his surprise, they offered to sell the business completely. A deal was struck, and Gorbel® prepared to take its first step into the warehousing industry.  

Since the Destuff-it™ was now a permanent part of the Gorbel® product line, it was decided that a new factory would need to be established. A team of hardworking and courageous individuals from across the company was formed to oversee this project, which was to be completed in just six months. While six months was an aggressive and maybe even impossible timeline, the Destuff-it™ Implementation Project Team recognized that the pandemic was far from over and new revenue needed to be generated.  

At an unprecedented speed, a US location for a factory was selected and hiring began. Suppliers were acquired despite the incredible scarcity of materials, and unfamiliar technology like video calling was used to overcome travel restrictions so that our engineers could learn about the Destuff-it™ machine from their new Canadian colleagues.  

The first US-made Destuff-it™ was completed and shipped in October 2020 and the six-month project timeline was realized. Today, Gobel® has ample capacity to manufacture Destuff-it™ units as well as a pipeline of future warehousing products that are under development.  

Three years later, in October 2023, the Greater Rochester Quality Council held its annual awards ceremony. The atmosphere was electric with anticipation. Those in attendance who went through the Council’s in-depth assessment process knew just being there was an honor. Regardless of the outcome, we were proud to be a candidate and confident that the journey Gorbel® undertook with the Destuff-it™ was a testament to the unwavering dedication of our incredible team. 

The Greater Rochester Quality Council awards are typically divided into gold, silver, and bronze categories – with a rare platinum reserved for organizations that surpass the most stringent criteria. With awe, our team learned that the Destuff-it™ Implementation Project had won platinum in the Team Excellence category. An already incredible evening transformed into one of the most significant milestones in our company’s history.  

Dave Pritchard Celebrates Award

Team Gorbel® Poses with Award

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to every Gorbel® team member, past and present, who contributed to this achievement. As we look to the future, our resolve remains unwavering. Our restless commitment to growth coupled with world class innovation, quality, and excellence forms the foundation of our company. The Gorbel® family has achieved something truly special, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Together, we have proven that when faced with adversity, we emerge stronger.  

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