National Business Confidence

A Magnifying Glass on Growth

In our last blog, we profiled Gary Evonsion and Crest Capital and their fine work in making our yard ramp inventory affordable to companies on tighter budgets.

As a follow up, we keep thinking about one of Gary’s comments during our conversation. “We’ve had more inquiries on opportunities this year than in several previous years combined,” he said.

Business Strategy

Crest Capital finances equipment, software, and vehicles—putting a number of sectors, including manufacturing, into the sweet spot of industries that utilize our yard ramps.

So, what’s happening in manufacturing? One clue comes in a report from our friends at ThomasNet: the unemployment rate in the U.S. manufacturing sector lowered to 3.2 percent in May of 2017, which is its lowest rate in 17 years. For perspective, the national unemployment rate was at 4.3 percent in May.

“We’re seeing a bit less uncertainty in the business climate,” says Gary at Crest Capital. “People realize business is going to push ahead, while business people see that business is going to continue.”

We’ll keep our distance well away from politics. That said, there’s a growing consensus that the prospect of fewer regulations is helping to drive some confidence, particularly in the small business arena.

Crest Capital’s blog, The Lease Guy, offers an even-handed, non-political insight on this situation through a prism of financing and regulations.

Also, and without our delving too deeply into economic theory, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development issues its Business Confidence Index (BCI) on a regular basis. Looking at the G7 countries, there’s not a great amount of disparity among those seven nations. So, on a Western Hemisphere level, the BCI shows us a fairly steady consensus.

All of which helps to bolster our confidence in the current and projected supply-and-demand environment in terms of yard ramps.

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Quotable

McCoy Fields, sir: Go ahead…Quote me:

Quality is not what happens when what you do matches your intentions. It is what happens when what you do matches your customers’ expectations.Guaspari

Simple Yard Ramp Financing

Cresting Your Capital

“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers,” wrote Elizabeth Arden. (And yes, for the record, this is the second time we’ve used her quotation in our site.)

YRG Financing
Cresting Your Capital

With that in mind, throughout our website you’ll see a blue-and-black swish in a box inviting you to explore payment options for financing the purchase of a yard ramp.

The CALCULATE MY OPTIONS button takes you to our dedicated page on Crest Capital’s website. From there, simply enter a dollar amount of your desired financing and your email address, and Crest Capital will immediately email you projected payment options for 24, 36, 48, and 60 months.

All of this is designed to help you secure the purchase of a new or used yard ramp if cash on hand is a current challenge for your operations. Financing through Crest Capital allows you immediate access to a yard ramp, with fewer restrictions than a standard bank loan and the ability to retain more cash in house for your working capital. As an added bonus, Section 179 of the U.S. tax code allows you to deduct the full cost of that quality yard ramp as a business expense.

We’re more than happy to endorse our business associates when credit is due (pun intended), and we enthusiastically draw your attention to the financial services team at Crest Capital. Based in Atlanta and covering all 50 states, they’ve been in business since 1989.

Their specialty is the financing of equipment, software, and vehicles. The sweet spot is $10,000 - $150,000 in capital, with terms of 24-60 months. That’s 100% financed, including delivery and installation.

YRG Financing
Fiscally Sound

The actual application process is streamlined and quite simple: a one-page application, with no financials required for financing up to $150,000. (To be sure, they use “soft pulls” from companies like Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet that don’t ding your credit report.) Your general requirements: two years in business, no tax liens or slow pay history and a FICO score of 650 or above.

The online credit application takes about five minutes to complete, and there’s no cost to apply, and they typically let you know if you’re approved within three-to-five business hours.

Our contact at Crest Capital is Gary Evonsion, Senior Vice President of National Accounts.

Jeff Mann, The Yard Ramp Guy, says, “From our perspective, financing is another way of stimulating business. The great thing about Gary is that he looks at business opportunities, not just transactions. He humanizes the world of financial services in a personable way that I really appreciate and respect. Gary completely reflects our idea that first we earn your trust and then we earn your business.”

Well, Gary has something to say about that. "It has been great working with Jeff and his team at The Yard Ramp Guy,” he says. “They have been very thoughtful in terms of how to work with our mutual customers to create win-win situations for the customer, whether that involved a new or used ramp or going so far as to seeing what additional needs the customer may have that weren't initially apparent but that should be considered.

“While no one likes to be sold to, I can assure you that when dealing with The Yard Ramp Guy you will enjoy the expertise and advice that they add to your buying process. We continue to enjoy dealing with such a capable group.”  

We’re honored by that. And, more importantly, we’re pleased to recommend Crest Capital’s valuable services to help you secure and optimize your business operations.

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Quotable

McCoy Fields, sir: Go ahead…Peruse this:

Passion is a choice. You need to choose to be great. It’s not a chance, it’s a choice.Eliud Kipchoge

Jim Kunze: Yard Ramp Guy Renaissance Man

Been There, Still Doing That

If you view the arc of Jim Kunze’s wealth of professional experience, there’s no straight line from point A to point B. And he’s rather humble about his remarkable accomplishments. The challenge here was finding the right way to summarize an appreciation of this man.
Jim Kunze, Integrity
So, we studied our notes and went back to his education, looking for clues. “Single family dwelling in modest neighborhood, Indianapolis, IN, Broad Ripple High School.” Sure enough, there it was, hiding in plain sight. On his high school’s emblem:

Broader Richer Human Service

Individually and collectively, these four words create a fitting description of Jim and our appreciation of him. Yet, there’s so much more about him that we’re eager and proud to share.

After Mike Myers, our Sales Consultant, sets your order into motion, Jim works as our Sales Coordinator to turn it into a completed transaction, finding the most efficient way to deliver your yard ramp. He calls it “classic sales and execution work.” We call it his humbly making the difficult look easy.

His father was an accountant, his mother an office administrator. Purdue University, B.A. in management and marketing. Army National Guard. A dabble in law school. And then he moved fulltime into the sales management world.

An early job with Proctor & Gamble gave Jim the fundamentals of consumer marketing and sales, managing its northern Ohio division for six years. “I spent about a quarter of my time as a sales manager devoted to training people wo were working for me,” he says. “Proctor & Gamble really worked their tail off at teaching people how to do things and remain accountable for those lessons learned.”

He transitioned to household healthcare products for Warner Lambert in New Jersey, running the sales and consumer promotion department and delved into brand management.

“At that point,” Jim says, “I had one and two-thirds kids and wanted to move from the east coast for raising them to a permanent location for school.” Jim and his wife chose the Chicago area, which also offered a wider variety of job opportunities.

He worked with Esmark, the holding company for Swift & Company (turkey and bacon, agricultural chemicals) and soon started a sales promotion business. As companies began unloading otherwise profitable businesses in favor of brand building, Jim quickly learned that retailer power had grown to the point that marketing became the dog instead of the tail.

He then worked with an agency focused on consumer impact and brand building; this became known in the industry as Shopper Marketing. The work included strategic placement of Sunday newspaper inserts—say, coupons distributed within a three-mile radius of grocery and burgeoning big box stores. It was, in a way, the precursor to today’s ad geo-targeting on the Internet.

Jim poses this question that resonates with us: “Who’d you rather do business with: someone who could keep your business from going under or someone who could help your company grow?”

And then he took all that experience into “becoming a resource of my own, in business for myself, building a client base.” His wife received her Master’s in Theology and is now a pastor. Their older son is an electrical engineer. Their daughter holds a degree in management and is a figure skating coach. Their younger son focuses on building computer and computer systems.

Jim Kunze
The Marketing Continuum

Jim met Jeff Mann, The Yard Ramp Guy’s founder and president, two years ago. “We met and talked,” Jim says. “I liked Jeff as a human being, which is important to me. Jeff’s ethics are extremely strong. You can’t lie about being an honest person. Either you are or you aren’t. I am and he is.

“What differentiates Jeff from his competition is a better value proposition—not just a lower price, but also we’ll give you what you need when you need it. It’s a good system for conversion and execution that’s cost effective, yet adds value added in the service area. When the customer is waiting for a transaction to happen, there’s clear, concise information and communication. The desire is to provide better, best-in-class service along with a price structure that is as good or better than the competition.”

This becomes not just a price, but also a better product. Jim says, “Jeff’s done that by not just relationships but also having a network of used ramps around the country. It provides meaningful solutions that drive down the cost of transportation. It’s a value delivery and Jeff’s done a good job of branding himself.

And, well, those who know Jeff Mann know that he won’t take that without offering some perspective.

“You can get someone smart and you can get someone with experience,” says Jeff, “but when you have someone with wisdom…I’ll take wisdom over smarts and experience. And when you have someone with all three, well, it’s the best of all possible scenarios.

“Jim provides a compass at times for me: Am I thinking about this the right way? Is there a different way to think about it? Here’s a man with incredible experience over the decades. It’s the integrity Jim applies to every single thing he does, whether it’s with the customers, the vendors, with me, or the company as a whole. It’s a constant.

“From a personal perspective, he does this with warmth and with great dignity.”

That’s Jim Kunze, yard ramp Renaissance man.

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Quotable

Okay, McCoy Fields. So, we miss landing on the same letter in the quote-off. No use crying over spilt alphabets. Onward:

One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.China Achebe

Beyond Loading Dock Safety Strategy

The YRG Before and After

YRG Safety
YRG Safety: Before, During & After

We’ve spotlighted safety issues a number of times in this space. Proactive and reactive attention to a secure portable loading dock is the surest way to keep our equipment working steadily so that it doesn’t need attention or inordinate maintenance time.

More importantly, a secure loading dock protects your employees and minimizes workman’s comp scenarios that can be detrimental to the health of both people and your business.

The underlying goal here is providing our customers with as much information as possible to make the right decisions in terms of placement, movement, attachment, and storage of a loading dock.

That’s why you’ll see—throughout both our website and our blog—references to components, including Safety Chains, Serrated Grating, and Ramp Clamps.

And that’s why, when we saw a customer photo showing a potentially dangerous placement of casters (sitting on the ground), we immediately made a call to alert them.

At The Yard Ramp Guy, we’re also interested in what happens to your materials before and after utilizing our loading docks. The material handling industry continues to innovate.

For example, Southworth Products offers The PalletPal Roll-On with Turntable, a seemingly improved mousetrap for loading and unloading pallets. With hydraulics, you are able to raise and lower the platform while stacking a load, which provides a uniform height to your team for loading and unloading.

Sometimes brilliance rests in simplicity. Wildeck produces End-of-Aisle Rack Protectors, designed to guard corners from forklift impacts, which could result in falling materials.

Finally, we think the ability to see your inventory clearly just might be more important than the inventory itself. With that in mind, 3M has invented SecureFit Eyewear—goggles that are anti-scratch, anti-fog, and something they call Pressure Diffusion Temple Technology (a very fancy term for a secure and comfortable fit).

Yes, in order to make an omelet, you need to break a few eggs. That said (and especially if you’re in the business of delivering actual eggs), the best and safest approach is to let the end user be the only chef in the kitchen.

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Quotable

Well, McCoy Fields. Go figure. For weeks now, we’ve been looking forward to our meeting of the minds, right in the middle of our alphabetical quote-off. With us starting at A and you at Z, we figured that meeting would happen right about now. As it ends up, we don’t land on the same letter. No worries. Happy to have almost met you.

No matter how much the cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.Abraham Lincoln

The Yard Ramp Guy Focus

Master of Four

Big Wheels Keep on Turning

“Jack of all trades, master of none.” It’s a familiar saying, and one that doesn’t usually cast a positive light.

Interestingly, nearly every language has some version of this saying. In Latin: “Something from all, nothing in total.” Persian: “All trades and no authority.” Spanish: “He who embraces too much has a weak grasp.” Japanese, and maybe the most blunt: “Many talents is no talent.”

Industrial logistics is big business around the world, encompassing a mind-boggling list of equipment used for moving things from place to place.

Consider a forklift and all of its components, including: forks, fork arms, hydraulic system, lifting chain, tires, and engine parts. The forklift is not simply a single thing; it’s a vehicle made of dozens of things, many of them requiring maintenance and, sometimes, replacement.

Even before The Yard Ramp Guy incorporated in January of 2011, we had made the decision to focus on a small number of specific categories within the industrial loading dock world. By experience, though we knew about the vast opportunities to be had from broader categories, we’ve campaigned to master four of them:

Yard Ramp Rentals

Year after year, we’ve increased the exposure and transactions of the rental scenario. This is especially attractive to our customers who have temporary or seasonal needs, who don’t currently foresee a long-term investment, or who want to evaluate the value of the yard ramp. (Yes, we’ll gladly streamline the process of turning that rental into a purchase.)

Used Yard Ramps

We strategically locate our used inventory in storage depots around the country (currently in 14 states). With most of our yard ramps sitting within 250 miles of 90% of the population, one of the outstanding benefits to our customers is considerably reduced delivery and return freight costs. All of our Used and Rental yard ramps must pass a stringent evaluation process before we choose to make them available.

New Yard Ramps

We’ve positioned ourselves as a high-volume dealer for two of the top yard ramp manufacturers—Bluff Manufacturing of Ft. Worth, Texas and Medlin Equipment of Santa Fe Springs, California and Lexington, North Carolina. Both make outstanding quality products.

There are other manufacturers making quality products but not, in our opinion, with the same commitment to the vertical product line. They also sell at price points beyond our business model. We wouldn’t hesitate to re-sell one of their ramps as used. However, for most of our customers' applications, they do not match our goal for being the most reliable and lowest priced yard ramp dealer in the country.

Yard Ramp Brokerage

From the beginning, we set into place a business model decision critical to successfully dominating the used yard ramp marketplace: We decided to partner with sellers rather than haggle with them. It changed the dynamic completely. We know we will work hard for our money on selling your ramp. We handle everything—the quote preparation including obtaining freight quotes, off-loading considerations, and follow-ups with the prospects.

And, as an important endnote, the “Jack of all trades” phrase has been shortened over the decades. The full saying?

Jack of all trades, master of none,

though oftentimes better than master of one.

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Quotable

Yes, McCoy Fields, by our count, we are one week away from Meeting at the Middle of our quote-off.

Magnificent promises are always to be suspected.Theodore Parker