Your Yard Ramp Questions…Answered

Helping You Decide on a Mobile Yard Ramp

In our half decade of business as The Yard Ramp Guy and more than 30 years of experience, we know that effective, aggressive companies are always searching for ways to increase productivity and further streamline operations. We certainly approach our own business from this perspective. And because we offer a product and a service that helps enhance other businesses, everybody wins. 

In your considerations for growing your business operations, having the right yard ramp questions can greatly help in determining if you can benefit from one. Understanding a yard ramp’s basic features will help clarify your decision. Here are some common questions and answers about mobile yard ramps. 

What is a mobile yard ramp?

Quite simply, it’s a portable ramp, used by a wide array of industries, to load and unload shipments from delivery trucks, containers and railcars. There are a number of names for this, including portable forklift ramp, portable yard ramp, and portable loading dock. 

Who can benefit from a mobile yard ramp?

A mobile yard ramp benefits any business that handles, on average, as few as one to two loads per month. It provides an excellent solution for businesses without a permanent loading dock or those that experience temporary, seasonal increases in the shipment process. If your facility is over capacity or under renovation, you are a candidate for buying or renting a yard ramp. 

How do I choose between an aluminum and steel ramp?

Your choice of a yard ramp’s construction material typically depends on how you answer this question: In what environment you will be utilizing the yard ramp? 

While the more popular steel yard ramp has a lower price tag, aluminum ramps are generally called for where you anticipate a high salt content in the environment where the yard ramp will be used. 

Which industries use a mobile yard ramp? 

Many industries across all platforms have found that the mobile yard ramp is a productive and useful—and often essential—piece of equipment. Retail and agriculture industries have claimed the yard ramp a necessary tool to assist with their processes. From production and shipment of any given “widget” to logistics for the recycling industry, the mobile yard ramp has become an integral component of business operations. 

Where can a mobile yard ramp be used?

Due to its mobility, a yard ramp can be placed and utilized wherever it is needed. This includes indoor and outdoor scenarios and in virtually any climate. Employing a ramp clamp helps the operator place the yard ramp directly at the end of a dock and/or flush with a truck’s door. 

Are they safe?

When used properly, mobile yard ramps are very safe, both for the forklift operator and for the load itself. Most yard ramps are also equipped with a number of safety features that designed to keep product moving. Safety rails, handrails, and non-slip decking are available or even standard on the best-build yard ramps.

Reducing Yard Ramp Shipping Costs

ramp123Location Matters

One of the central goals of The Yard Ramp Guy is to optimize logistics and mitigate yard ramp shipping costs for our clients. We are always looking to arrange some form of combined freight. It's a creative process that involves a little bit of luck and a good deal of strategy.

We create scenarios where we combine client A's yard ramp order with Client B’s order destined for another city along the original freight lane.

With a yard ramp going from point A to point B, optimally our equipment will join additional equipment along the way. And the trucking company operates more efficiently by cobbling together a full load, even if the driver is going to a few different cities along the way.

This also works if the additional equipment is not part of our business. The advantage: if a full load is, say, $2,000 from points A to B, and they can pick up the other half along the way, they’re only charging us $1,000. Again, you're paying less because you're sharing the load.

For example: we need to get a couple of yard ramps to Orlando, and we also have a customer in Tampa who needs a yard ramp. We put Tampa’s yard ramp on with the other two, and that customer is paying a third of the cost.

We're able to create that kind of “luck” about 15 percent of the time. Simplifying complexities such ascombined freight is yet another aspect of The Yard Ramp Guy’s approach that differentiates us from the competition.

Yard Ramps: The Smart and Safe Approach

Mobile Yard Ramp Efficiency

Last week, we explored the ideas of efficiency and safety as the major considerations in owning or renting a yard ramp. This week, we take a look at this from a slightly different angle: the logistics of efficiency.

industriesImagine that you’re offloading an 18-wheeler without a ramp. Ideally, you have two guys in the truck filled with pallets that are most always heavy (sometimes several hundred or even thousands of pounds). They’ll hook chains to one of the pallets, drag it to the end of the truck, then shimmy it to the back end so that the fork tines can reach and offload. (For loading the truck, picture that same scenario in reverse).

From a profit-and-loss standpoint, everything the business owner pays is multiplied by the number of employees required for a specific task.

From a proactive safety standpoint, every action the employees perform physically constitutes a potential injury: each additional movement could represent a workman’s comp claim. An easier, more streamlined approach makes sense.

And this is where the yard ramp comes into place. With a yard ramp, the scenario is greatly simplified and much more efficient: the forklift guy drives up the yard ramp and inside the truck; he picks the pallet up, positions it, and offloads it.

The Yard Ramp Guy takes the holistic approach: With safety, efficiency, and productivity combined, everybody wins.

Exploring Ramp Transport #3

Efficient Yard Ramp Shipping

Smooth and expedient delivery of your yard ramp is essential. You expect it, and we handle all the logistics of delivery—with updates along the way, so that communication is clear throughout the process.

Proper preparation and the experience we have with transportation companies like NATCO assures seamless delivery. It’s the detail of how we deliver that very often saves our customers’ time and expense.

Concluding our series on flatbeds we introduce the step deck, also called the gooseneck. This is distinguished by an elevated platform in front, angling sharply into the main well.

The step deck is utilized in certain multi-item deliveries, utilizing higher and lower platforms. Naturally, you’ll want your items of larger dimension secured in the lower portion.

All three flatbeds that we’ve explored—lowboy, Landoll, and step deck—have certain advantages. That said, our goal and our success is in delivery using the safest, quickest, and most cost-effective transport options.

One of the most famous flatbeds is not exactly a flatbed. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art commissioned a sculpture from artist Michael Heizer: “Levitated Mass,” a 340-ton boulder. The piece was so large that in 2012 they hired Emmert International for a custom-built platform. It was 295 feet and required 196 wheels. From our view, it looks like a combination of lowboy and step deck, with a large securing container surrounding the boulder itself that looks straight out of a science fiction movie.

When finished, the piece was driven 106 miles through Los Angeles to the museum, at a speed of 7 miles per hour, and only at night, with tree and traffic lights removed to accommodate the space needed for transport. This required 11 days.

And though we’re talking about apples and oranges, The Yard Ramp Guy proudly confirms that none of our ramp deliveries need that much time—or number of wheels—to reach your destination.

Mobile Yard Ramp Shipping: Ramp Transport #2

Mobile Yard Ramp Shipping Options

The Yard Ramp Guy proudly offers comprehensive service for your yard ramp needs, and this includes delivery. While that may seem expected and obvious, the specific kind of transport we arrange can affect factors of price and delivery time.

With rare exception, we nearly always arrange transport via flatbed vehicles, which are safer and more practical than container trucks—and are factory recommended. There are three main versions in that universe, and this week we delve into the Landoll flatbed. 

rgn2Like the lowboy, the Landoll attaches with a gooseneck to the back of a road tractor. Where the lowboy has two dips—front and back—into the containing platform, the Landoll has one slight elevation from its front platform down to the flat central platform.

The Landoll is also distinguished by its winch at the front end, which lifts the platform (usually with hydraulics) to tilt the back end to the ground so that we’re able to wheel on and wheel off the yard ramp.

In this way, the process does not require a forklift for placement or removal. Fewer machines involved typically means that we’ll require less time to execute pickup and delivery.

Landolls are built in varying degrees of sophistication. Some have wireless remotes to streamline the tilt of the flatbed, and some actually roll the flatbed’s wheels forward and back to enable the tilt.

Next week, we’ll conclude our series with the step deck flatbed.