Appreciating the Yard Ramp

Incline Benefits

Appreciating the yard ramp
The cost-effective beauty of a ramp.

Why a yard ramp?

Over the years, we’ve fielded thousands of phone calls from people looking to buy or rent a quality forklift ramp from our inventory. Whether a potential customer knows the precise specifications, needs our perspective in order to meet the requirements, or requires a custom solution: these conversations themselves are essential.

We always want to get it right. In our business, the only surprises should be how smoothly the discussion and transaction have flowed, from first call to delivery to putting the ramp into use.

Trust is very much part of this process. The Yard Ramp Guy is fortunate to have an extraordinary team in place—from Mike skillfully exploring the details of your specs to Jim orchestrating all aspects of the delivery and installation.

What’s sometimes discussed in these conversations (and, just as often, not discussed) is why our potential customers need a yard ramp. Not the more obvious reason, which is getting their products from truck to warehouse, or from factory floor to truck. Rather, it’s the configuration of the company’s building itself.

Some structures have loading bays constructed as part of the building, designed so that a delivery truck can back in, load or unload, and drive away. Just as often, though, a building does not have that configuration. (And that’s why we’re in business.)

The company then has some choices. Typically, the more expensive of these is to build a loading bay, replete with a graded approach and reinforcement of the building’s edge. That requires a contractor, or two or three, that can dig and grade and pour concrete, providing an irrigation channel for so the bottom of the bay’s incline doesn’t pool water.

That approach often requires an investment that will cost much more than a yard ramp. (Don’t forget the time and expense involved in securing construction permits.)

Then fold into the equation those businesses that rent—and don’t own—the warehouse space. And then top it off with those businesses that need a yard ramp only for seasonal spikes in production. Those logistics get complicated and expensive.

The beauty of a yard ramp itself rests in its relatively simple, yet powerful, design.

The beauty of the idea of a yard ramp rests in its cost-effective value.

This week, our man McCoy Fields digs deeper into language and discovers some truly fascinating chatter among prairie dogs:

Check out his terrific blog HERE.

Wrecker Making Yard Ramps Right

Profiling a Valued Service Provider

YRG: Communication
It's All About Communication

These past weeks, we described our Turnkey Delivery and Installation Services – both in general terms and with specific examples.

Turnkey services are extremely beneficial for our customers who don’t have the resources for—or don’t want to deal with—off-loading and securing their yard ramps.

Your business deserves an order from our inventory put into service as quickly, securely, and smoothly as possible. That’s always been our commitment to our customers.

Getting the job done correctly has always been the bottom line for our strategy. Toward optimizing our efficiency, we’ve developed many strong professional relationships with our service providers. This week, we profile one of these valued providers.

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Eighteen miles west of Atlanta, GA, is Lithia Springs, home of Dixie Wrecker Service. Among other services, its fleet and crew cover tire replacement, fuel delivery, large and small vehicle towing, and lock-out.

When we needed an off-load in the area recently, we contacted Brian Freeman, who runs Dixie Wrecker. This was the process:

  • Two days before delivery, Jim Kunze, our Yard Ramp Guy Sales Coordinator, called Brian to schedule the off-load.
  • Jim followed that with an email to Brian, listing the specs and exact time of delivery.
  • The day before delivery, Jim phoned Brian to confirm everything.

That is, the off-loading component of our largest custom solution in years required two phone calls and an email.

Dixie Wrecker
Dixie Wrecker: Fleet at the Ready

“In this business it’s hard to arrange things at the last minute,” says Brian Freeman. “Some people call us 30 minutes ahead of time and expect we’re able to handle everything. So, it’s important to arrange things in advance. It’s easy to work with The Yard Ramp Guy. They communicate. And they’re good at it.”

Part of the expertise we appreciate is Brian’s attention to detail. He services his trucks every seven thousand miles, whether they need it or not. And he’s adopted trucker GPS to his fleet.

For our off-load, Brian used one of their 35-ton heavy-duty wreckers. Another reason we appreciate and trust him: “Some like to use cranes for a job like that,” he says, “but that’s overkill and more money that you shouldn’t have to spend.”

Brian has been in wrecking much of his life and with Dixie Wrecker 14 years. “My dad’s not the type to just give you a job,” he says. “He wanted me to go out, see the world, and start at the bottom. Which I did, driving the oldest truck. So, I earned my way into the position.

“Over the years, my dad was the most honest guy you’ll ever meet, I try to stay within the guidelines he always had. And one of his main things was: if you’re honest with people and offer a service at a fair rate, you’ll build your business.”

Usually, in this business, you never know what yer gonna get till you roll up on it,” says Brian. “I’ve been working with The Yard Ramp Guy a couple years now. When Jim calls, I pretty much know what he needs.The heads up – a day or so in advance – makes it easier to schedule. It’s turned into a great relationship.”

And the respect works both ways. Our man Jim says, “Brian and his team at Dixie Wrecker have always provided great service to our customers. They are on time, communicate very well, and perform the exact services requested. The service Dixie Wrecker provides is a great example why many of our customers take advantage of our Turnkey Delivery and Installation Services.”

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Quotable

Yes, sir, McCoy Fields Zipping up our end of the alphabetical quote-off:

Za dvumya zaitsami pogonish'sya, ne odnogo ne poimaesh'.

(If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.)Assyrian proverb

Loading Ramp to Loading Bay

The House That (Pallet) Jack Built

YRG Integrity
Ramp, Forklift, Pallet

We have a riff on a classic show tune in our distribution network listings:

What good is moving a pallet or two?

Come move your whole stock today

Life is a good yard ramp, old chum

Get a yard ramp today.

Catchy, yes. We’re confident you’ll whistle that tune for a bit. Behind the rhyming, though, there’s a projection of how businesses use our yard ramps, and this got us thinking about the entire arc of a freight movement.

Let’s say you have—or need—a quality yard ramp to optimize the loading and offloading of your product. You determine your requirements, including the average and maximum capacity of a loaded forklift, the width of your forklift’s wheels, and the right length of the ramp. (The Yard Ramp Guy team is well-versed in asking the right questions to help identify and confirm your specifications.)

That scenario is informed by the ease of access to your loading dock, the amount of real estate you have to maneuver your deliveries, and the height of your loading bay. All of which will determine whether you need a portable or stationary loading dock.

And let’s say that a forklift is your most efficient vehicle for moving your inventory. There is an impressive variety of forklifts in circulation. While they share mobility and strength, these machine feature design modifications to fit particular applications.

Usually on top of that—and literally so—sits your collection of pallets. Pallets have near-universal appeal for their practicality. Typically made of wood, they benefit your business through their strength and relative lightness of weight. (Yes, you can now make and disassemble and repurpose your pallets.)

As The Big Lebowski said, “This rug I had…it really tied the room together.” That’s where, we believe, your yard ramp serves as a constant in the equation: able to tie your workflow together, all without complaint, with minimal maintenance, for months (rental) or years (purchase) to come.

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Quotable

Oh, McCoy Fields Sometimes we strike gold:

Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting.Yogi Berra

Enhancing Design

Department of Invention

paper clip
The Paper Clip: By Design

We’ve been thinking about yard ramp design (no surprise), and it got us thinking about the paper clip (which surprised us).

Even with the dramatic swing away from paper and toward technology’s virtual world these past 20 years (still have and use a fax machine?), we’re betting your office supplies include a stash of paper clips.

Those twisted pieces of metal are brilliant in their simplicity. Architects, designers, and engineers often call the Gem version of the paper clip the perfect design; it’s even held court at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

And we use them not just to hold paper. (Need to reset a modem or router? Eject a SIM card from your smartphone? A straightened paper clip pushed into the device’s reset crater will usually do the job.)

An Improved Gem

In his book The Perfection of the Paper Clip, James Ward writes, “The Gem isn’t perfect, and people will continue to try to improve it, but the struggle will be to find a new design that is as balanced as the Gem.”

There are dozens of variations of the paper clip. (Our web guy has a supply of paper clips in the shape of a treble clef.) About 1920, the Cushman & Denison Manufacturing Company introduced an “Improved Gem Paper Clip.” The innovation? They simply bent up the end of the inner loop, allowing easier access for your stack of papers.

And this: In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at the 3M company, stumbled upon the invention of the Post-It note—stumbled because he was looking to create just the opposite, a binding agent that was incredibly strong. Today, even with our paperless office frontier, the Post-It is everywhere…

Paper clips, and now Post-Its, are part of what we commonly refer to as everyday objects—phones, chairs, keys, buttons, and so on—each with their own histories and evolutions.

What strikes us is that the improvements on these basic inventions are not so much in the creation of new mousetraps. Rather, it’s all about the improvement—mostly in the form of subtle changes—to those existing mousetraps.

All of which returned us to our thinking about the design of industrial yard ramps. Is it possible to improve on the form and the function?

Watch this space for some very exciting news.

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Quotable

Okay, McCoy Fields . . .the quote-off grows even more I-nteresting:

I agree with my father, Albert Einstein, don’t believe every quote you read on the internet.James Earl Jones

The Invention Convention

From the Wheel to the Robot

Always headed this way.

From shaping the first wheel to splitting the atom to printing in three dimensions, time and again, history shows us there’s nothing conventional about invention. The muse strikes, and we transform civilization.

We’ve shared our man McCoy Fields’ list of great inventions. As we evolve with our newfound technology, more and more, we like McCoy’s appreciation for the basics: The Lever. The Pulley. The Wheel. The Ramp. The Pile.

That list doesn’t seem quaint, though. It feels essential. Imagine where we’d be without any one of those five. (Though The Pile still has us scratching our heads. A pile of dirty laundry? McCoy plays coy; he’s not saying.)

Our friends at ThomasNet have compiled their own list of inventions that have shaped the manufacturing industry. Among them:

The Cotton Gin (1794). This revolutionary device reduced the time needed to separate cotton from the seeds. Which meant, among other things, that we were able to greatly reduce the time to market for clothing.

The Telephone (1876). The goal, some 140 years ago, was to find a way to transmit sound across great distances. Alexander Graham Bell did just that. Today, our phones fit in our pockets, and we can speak with somebody at the far ends of the earth (yes, long distance charges may apply).

The Moving Assembly Line (1913). Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing with his use of conveyor belts to speed up production, and it forever after has transformed the nature of human production.

Yard Ramps: Proud to be part of the list.

Industrial Robots (1959). A couple of surprises here. First, George Devol introduced his Unimate Industrial Robot nearly 60 years ago. Second, and depending on your point of view, the practice either evolves or disrupts the moving assembly line.

Two common threads running through each of these inventions are optimization of speed and bridging of distance. Both the cotton gin and the industrial robot have reduced time needed to reach the end user.

We’ll take McCoy’s inclusion of the ramp in these lists of great inventions—and proudly so. Time and again in this space, we’ve underscored the yard ramp as a steady workhorse, helping businesses optimize their workflow.

All of which leads to an interesting question? Is it possible to improve the architecture of an industrial yard ramp and make it even more user friendly? We think the answer is yes. Keep watching this space.

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Quotable

Okay, McCoy Fields . . .the alphabetical quote-off is simply G-reat:

Generally when there's a lot of smoke…there's just a whole lot more smoke.George Foreman