Back in the day, we knew a banker in a Midwestern town. Vice President of This and That, he would lick each stamp and envelope of his voluminous holiday cards he sent to family and friends. We asked him why; surely there are self-sealing envelopes and peel-off stamps. His answer: "Whatever it takes to get the job done."
We know a driver who simply doesn't like left turns. And so, whenever possible, she instead makes three right turns to get to where she wanted. Whatever it takes.
We know a guy named John Henry, who used his hammer and muscle to compete against a steam-powered rock drilling machine. And he won. Though he died soon after. But point taken.
We knew a guy named Neo who used his special set of skills to take down the Matrix of artificial intelligence machines controlling the planet.
And now we know a farm operation in Wisconsin that uses two mules to help offload what looks like either bales of seed or bedsheets and get them to the barn.
Which is as good a time as any to remind you that we buy, rent, and sell new and used mobile yard ramps and stationary dock ramps all across the United States.
As an added bonus . . . with our industry-disrupting Turnkey Services, we can help you with the delivery, off-load, and installation of your ramp (via mule by special request only, depending on availability).
Our ramps never need feeding or watering.
This week our man McCoy Fields has his own mule story? Of course, he does. He's McCoy.
We think it's a great point. Why have a "cap" of solid steel at either end? Why not let moisture and debris have an escape route all along the ramp?
Our original answer:
"In both design and function, there needs to be a smooth transition from ground-to-ramp, from break point of incline to level-off, and from ramp to truck/dock/platform.
"Steel grating cannot accomplish this. Grating at that junction would leave a sharp 2” - 3” ridge because the grating cannot be beveled. Without the smooth transition that the flat steel decking affords, forklift tires would be subject to significant wear and tear."
While that remains accurate, there is, always, more to the story.
We turned to Bryan Boes, a key contact in Business Development at Bluff Manufacturing, one of our highly-trusted, highly-valued creators of quality yard ramps. Bryan has tremendous knowledge of all things related to ramps. And forklifts. And tires. He's an industrial equipment Renaissance man, and his ability to explain complex things with a simple clarity always astounds us.
Bryan confirmed our original information and then took it it step further. Focusing on the lower point of contact, he described solid diamond plate steel as protecting both the ground and the forklift.
First, the ground:
"If you had grating on the bottom," he said, "the minute the forklift hit that, the grating would dig down into the pavement."
Those who work in warehouses located in hotter climates ⏤ which is much of the nation in summer months ⏤ know how hot concrete and asphalt get.
And we all know the irritation and damage that come as a result of driving our cars over potholes on the road. (If you haven't experienced potholes, we want to move to you neighborhood.)
The average weight of a yard ramp is about twice that of your average car. Heavy stuff. They construct the end of the yard ramp with solid diamond plate to mitigate such gouging effect on concrete and, especially, on asphalt.
Then, the forklift:
Bryan's correction to our original comment is that there are "standard" warehouse forklifts. Yes, there are varieties of these, though they all share a common characteristic: designed to roll across level surfaces, with relatively inexpensive wheels that are not meant to travel up and down ramps.
The other forklifts are fitted with solid pneumatic tires designed to roll outside and up and down inclines.
Bryan fields the occasional call from customers complaining that the ramp is eating up their tires. In most every situation, they discover that they're using a forklift with tires that are not designed for use on yard ramps. That preventable scenario resides in a clear conversation between forklift dealer and potential customer.
As our friends at MHI define it, Material handling is "the movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption and disposal."
From experience (and from continued robust sales and rentals), our mobile yard ramps and stationary loading dock ramps are essential to those operations without permanent inclines at their bay doors.
And yet, our inventory is part of much more than getting your inventory from Point A to Point B.
MHI lists three applications of material handling as Forecasting, Resource allocation, and Production planning. Those are readily grasped in light of the curious status of strawberry Pop-Tarts. From Southern Living:
"Walmart officials revealed that sales of strawberry Pop-Tarts increase by as much as seven times ahead of hurricanes, which is why they make sure their shelves are flush with the beloved toaster pastries ahead of time...
"Experts believe that their pre- and post-storm popularity has a lot to do with their long shelf-lives and that fact that you can eat them with or without a toaster should the power go out during nasty weather."
As in: Storm's coming. History shows that people are going to stock up on this food and that widget. We need to ramp up production and delivery.
Now, we know that yard ramps don't save the day in disaster recovery. Yet, in terms of process flow, the yard ramp serves as an important component of warehousing and manufacturing operations. We're quite proud to contribute.
First, our thoughts and hopes are with those affected by Hurricane Ida. To your health and safety.
In the perspective of our industry, and as if the pandemic and the steel surge weren't enough, we now have the economic remnants of that storm to contend with.
Picture a house-that-Jack-built scenario. When it comes to steel, we import what we don't forge in the United States. That imported steel enters the country through ports. From there, it's delivered ⏤ largely via rail and truck ⏤ to manufacturing plants, and from there perhaps to a seller/reseller before it arrives at the end user.
S&P Global Platts reports:
"A total 1.04 million st of steel products were imported into the port of New Orleans in 2020, in addition to 3.51 million st of iron products and ferroalloys, according to data from the American Iron and Steel Institute.
"The port of New Orleans is also a hub for steelmaking raw materials, particularly pig iron, with 2020 pig iron imports totaling 2.61 million st and iron and steel scrap imports at 378,905 st, according to the AISI."
Early assessments show that while the port of New Orleans suffered no major damage, "A steel trader said he expected the port to remain closed for about a week and it would take 10 to 15 days for operations to go back to normal following the storm."
That scenario pushes back many timetables. With expected deliveries being delayed, manufacturing plants, already on deadline, typically source alternate suppliers. That takes time. Freight companies are delayed, with carriers reassigned, as everyone waits for the backlog to unknot. That also takes time.
Whether pandemic or weather event or something else: delays happen. How did The Yard Ramp Guy prepare for such events?