The Forklift Factor

Forklift News

Uplifting News

"When you see a fork in the road, take it."
⏤ Yogi Berra

Forklifts and yard ramps are the perfect pairing of mobility and incline to help a business streamline its operation. The efficiency of this combination has been an essential component in warehousing scenarios for decades.

Along with our recent entries on the power and benefit of the forklift, we dug a bit deeper and discovered a world populated by fascinating forklift stories. If it's not enough for a new superhero joining the cinematic universe (Captain Forklift, anyone?), it's certainly worth a pitch as a limited miniseries on Hulu.

We start with how not to operate a forklift.

On May 9th of this year, law enforcement in Rock County, WI, was called to investigate a stalled vehicle. Deputies found a truck stuck in a ditch. As detailed in the police report,

"Additionally, a male subject who appeared asleep was on a fork-lift in the immediate vicinity. The male operator was awoken and it was determined he had been operating the truck just prior. The male had utilized the fork-lift in attempt to free the truck from the ditch.

"The male operator was identified as Vernon R. Schmuck (Jr.), 62, of Clinton, WI. Schmuck displayed signs of impairment. Following investigation Schmuck was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated. A WI DOT records check of Schmuck showed four prior OWI convictions, making this Schmuck’s 5th Offense, which is a Felony."

You can read the Sheriff's Office media release HERE.

The Greening of the Forklift
Helping in its goal of eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, Walmart has recently inked a deal with Plug Power Inc. to purchased green hydrogen for its fleet of forklifts. The deal includes up to 20 tons of liquid green hydrogen to power Walmarts material handling lift trucks in its distribution and fulfillment centers throughout the United States.

Walmart and Plug Power initiated a pilot program in 2012 for 50 vehicles, then expanded to 9,500. From the press release: "Now, the retailer is continuing to decarbonize its operations by striving to incorporate the use of green hydrogen throughout its facilities, in an effort to pursue lift truck operations that are efficient, clean, quiet and most importantly, more sustainable.

Big Business
Market researcher IMARC reports some seriously impressive numbers for the forklift market:

"The global forklift trucks market reached a value of US$ 58.5 Billion in 2021. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the market to reach US$ 82.9 Billion by 2027."

The report spotlights growth in the construction industry and rapid industrialization as key factors contributing to the projected jump in market value.

This week, our man McCoy Fields shows us how helium isn't only for birthday parties, though he really seems to like birthday parties.

Click HERE to be uplifted.

Toward Safer Forklifting

We're Inclined to Agree

Leave a Mark on the Industry, Not the Pavement

We recently spotlighted a customer's question about a forklift ramp. His preference was for the steel grating, which takes over most of the deck, to continue through to the ends of the ramp.

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.

A tip of the hat to Bryan Boes and Bluff Manufacturing for the terrific insight.

This week, our man McCoy Fields is trash talking...a huge patch of garbage.

Click HERE to see what the rumpus is all about.

Toward Better Steel

Just as Strong...And Safer

Responsible Steel for the Planet

We've kept our eyes on steel. So much in our business depends on the quality, price and availability of steel.

It's no secret that steel production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. No matter what side of the global warming debate anybody is on, we daresay there's consensus that pollution isn't pretty. Or healthy.

Some of what we've followed in steel has focused on the evolution of healthier production. The challenge is formidable: the International Energy Agency estimates that emissions from steel and other heavy industries will need to fall by 93 percent by 2050, in order to keep the global temperatures below a rise of 1.5 °C, considered essential for a sustainable environment.

SteelZero, partnering with ResponsibleSteel, campaigns to brings together the world's top steel buyers — including construction companies, real estate groups and property developers — challenging them to commit to procuring 100 percent net-zero emissions steel by 2050, with an interim goal of using 50% responsible steel by 2030.

Goals are important, and they're nothing without action.

That's why we send our appreciation to Sweden and its recent innovations in clean steel.

One company based in Stockholm, H2 Green Steel, is starting to make good on its commitment:

H2 Green Steel has signed customer contracts in different industries, with customers contracting for more than 5-7 years for over 1.5 million tonnes per year for delivery of green steel.

Company CEO Henrik Henriksson said, “When we launched H2 Green Steel about a year ago, we kicked the transformation of the steel industry into a new gear and other players in the industry have moved up their timelines. We are leading the way, showing that it is possible to transform the carbon-intense steel industry quickly, and others are speeding up and stepping up. This is exactly what we want. On top of that, the feedback from customers has been phenomenal and their long-term commitments are key for us to scale up further.”

We're especially keen on those other industry players accelerating their timelines.

And then there's Hybrit, also based in Stockholm, which claims that "the world's first fossil free steel has been delivered. The result of the HYBRIT project, a first delivery that is a major step forward on the road to the fossil free value chain for iron- and steel production!"

Innovation informs competition. Let them race to the top. Everybody wins.

This week, our man McCoy Fields gives us a cautionary tale about, yes, sitting on a beach.

Click HERE, darn it.

The Safe Yard Ramp Angle

Memo from Mann: Inclined Toward Success

A new customer, weighing yard ramp options, recently wrote us with his concern about the solid steel that our manufacturers use in the six-foot level-off on one our most popular ramps for purchase and rental.

Specifically, he much preferred a continuation of the steel grating, which comprises most of the deck, all the way through to the end of the ramp.

It's a great point, with a solid reason: he wanted any snow or rain to pass through the grating so that moisture wouldn't accumulate or pool.

We consulted with our manufacturers to confirm, again, the way we've presented this feature to our potential customers.

The Lip of Success

Diamond tread plate has long been the material of choice for the bulk of the deck, due to its patterned surface, which provides some traction. These yard and dock ramps are designed to be used in all weather conditions. (Naturally, we always advise clearing the diamond plate of ice and snow before use.)

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 we're on this roll, it is also very important to select forklifts that handle inclines and are designed and equipped for outside/all-weather conditions.

There are no “standard” forklifts. A good forklift dealer will ask about your application and guide you to forklifts appropriate for outdoor use on inclines. This includes distinctions between surfaces (including steel, concrete, asphalt, wood, gravel, and dirt.)

We thank you for the opportunity to earn your business.

Jeff Mann
Founder and President

This week, our man McCoy Fields debunks alien visitation. And he's not talking about his in-laws.

Click HERE to be transported.

Reviewing Forklift Ramp Customer Service

Earning the Right

Everyone loves a positive review.

And, yes, a lot of people love a negative review.

One of the more famous reviews is from Truman Capote, on Jack Kerouac's On the Road: "That's not writing, that's typing."

Naturally, with The Yard Ramp Guy's business, the quality of the inventory itself is crucial to our success.

That said, so, too, is the customer service we offer and utilize in order to deliver a full package, a method of approach that provides minimal fuss, and a complete experience.

We campaign to always ask the right questions, to organize freight, to determine and arrange and implement turnkey services, and to always be proactive in communication with everyone involved.

As in: it's not just the Thing itself that counts. It's also very much how we handle that Thing to get it spec'd, ordered, installed, and placed into service.

Though we've thought through our strategy, we're always tweaking the recipe, always looking for ways to improve.

Nothing is more helpful for this than the feedback we receive from our customers.

In our revamped Testimonials page, we proudly display a sampling of reviews over the years from satisfied customers.

On the page, you'll see the different categories: Buyers of New Yard Ramps, Buyers of Used Yard Ramps, Renters, Sellers, and Business Associates.

Bridging those categories are words that our customers tend to use. "Happy" appears a lot, as does "help," "great," "easy," and "smooth."

In honoring our clients, we honor ourselves. As Elizabeth Arden wrote, "Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers."

As always, we thank you for the opportunity to earn your business.

This week, our man McCoy Fields takes us to the edge of a volcano.

Click HERE to lava his insight.