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Posted by Stephanie on July 24, 2023

No matter the size of your warehouse or distribution center, your facility isn’t complete unless you have one or more ramps to assist with the loading and unloading processes. The more traditional solution involves fixed concrete ramps. While you can’t move these ramps to different locations, they offer long-lasting durability regardless of how much weight is placed on them. However, there are also several issues with using concrete ramps in your facility, the primary of which is that you’re stuck with them even if your business changes over the years.

You can also choose to buy yard ramps for your warehouse. These ramps can be moved to any position around your loading dock, which gives more versatility and mobility in comparison to fixed concrete ramps. The following is a comprehensive guide that compares concrete ramps and yard ramps to help you make the best purchasing decision.

Mobile Yard Ramp

Introduction

Maintaining warehouse efficiency is crucial to growing your business and increasing the amount of revenue you bring in. Among the most important aspects of warehouse efficiency involves the loading and unloading operations that occur around the docking area. If you have a productive docking area, it’s likely that your warehouse is well-optimized for efficiency.

If your personnel are able to accept inventory immediately as it comes in, there won’t be as many products building up around the docking area. Moving these products to shelves and storage units helps you keep your warehouse more organized. The goods you store in this facility will also be easy to find.

If the loading and unloading operations in your warehouse are inefficient, your trucks will leave later than they should, which could result in deliveries not being made on time. In this scenario, customer satisfaction could drop. While there are many steps you can take to improve efficiency, you should begin by choosing the right ramps for your warehouse.

There are two primary types of ramps you can use for loading and unloading operations, which include concrete ramps and yard ramps. Concrete ramps are usually installed as permanent fixtures in front of loading docks, which allows trucks to back up directly to a loading bay. Yard ramps perform the same function as concrete ramps. The main difference, however, is that yard ramps are portable and can be moved to any location around your facility.

Understanding Concrete Ramps

Concrete ramps are often permanently installed in front of loading docks. Once the concrete is poured, you should be able to move practically anything onto the ramp without experiencing cracks or other issues with the foundation.

If you’re seeking a permanent installation, make sure you have the concrete ramp installed at a time when the weather is sunny and the forecast is relatively clear. These ramps will take at least a few hours to install, after which another 24-48 hours is needed for the surface to dry before vehicles can be driven on the concrete.

It’s possible for concrete ramps to either be freestanding or attached to the building. Freestanding ones are quicker to install. Depending on the size of the ramp and the type of concrete you use, the weight capacity for concrete ramps is anywhere from 20,000-40,000 pounds. These ramps are commonly used to support loading and unloading from containers or vehicles. It’s possible to transfer loads from a trailer or truck bed to the ground or interior of your warehouse.

The main limitation that comes with using concrete ramps is that they’re often permanent fixtures at a warehouse. If the concrete begins to crack because of the amount of weight that has been placed on the ramp over time, the cracks will need to be sealed for a temporary fix. It’s possible that the entire ramp will need to be replaced, which is a time-consuming and costly endeavor.

Understanding Yard Ramps

Yard ramps are specialty ramps that provide you with a portable loading dock. You can move these ramps anywhere within your shipping and receiving yard, which ensures that the forklifts you use can gain quick access to shipping containers or trailers.

The purpose of these ramps is to make it easier for personnel to move their cargo or heavy equipment from ground level to the loading dock or vice versa. In this scenario, you wouldn’t need to bring these items to the permanent loading dock in your facility. Instead, it’s possible for loading and unloading operations to take place in any area that has enough space for a truck to get into.

Once you’ve purchased a yard ramp, vehicles can enter your warehouse directly through the loading dock doors. If you’ve just purchased a new forklift or similar piece of equipment, the ramp provides a way up and into the facility. These ramps have a portable and adjustable design that should accommodate most of your loading and unloading needs. Since you can place them anywhere and adjust their height and length with ease, yard ramps are much more versatile in comparison to concrete ramps.

Mobile Yard Ramp with Manual Crank and Steel Core Wheels

Benefits of Yard Ramps Over Concrete Ramps

Yard ramps have several advantages over concrete ramps, the primary of which is that they provide more portability and flexibility than the other options at your disposal. You can move them anywhere at a moment’s notice, which means that warehouses that don’t have permanent loading docks can benefit from them.

They’re also more cost-effective than concrete ramps. While the upfront costs can be similar, the ability to use yard ramps in any location means that you don’t need to install ramps at every entrance into your warehouse. This adaptability to different locations and situations can be highly beneficial to warehouse efficiency when the unexpected happens. If your loading dock becomes unusable because of ongoing maintenance, the yard ramp can be positioned in another location to ensure loading and unloading operations aren’t disrupted.

Comparison of Key Features

Before you use concrete ramps or yard ramps, you should know more about the many features and installation requirements these ramps have. As mentioned previously, concrete ramps are usually poured onsite, which means that the weather needs to be pleasant enough to ensure the concrete dries without issue.

Most concrete ramps serve as permanent fixtures in front of a warehouse entrance or loading dock, which means that they can’t be moved to different locations. Concrete ramps typically have a weight capacity of 20,000-40,000 pounds. The size of the yard ramp you select determines what the ramp’s weight capacity is. These ramps come with weight capacities that range from 16,000-60,000 pounds. Whether you choose a small or large yard ramp, it will have high mobility and can be relocated almost anywhere around your warehouse.

Efficiency and Time Savings with Yard Ramps

Yard ramps offer better efficiency and time savings in comparison to concrete ones. The loading and unloading processes should remain fast and efficient. By eliminating the need for permanent construction, you’ll also be reducing your long-term maintenance costs. Since yard ramps are adjustable, they are accessible at different heights and locations.

Safety Considerations with Yard Ramps

Yard ramps offer a high amount of stability and durability. When choosing a yard ramp, the most durable material is steel. Some smaller ramps are built with aluminum. You should also be on the lookout for a non-slip surface and other safety features that will keep you or your personnel safe while using the yard ramp. Even though there are several materials that can provide a ramp with a non-slip surface, serrated steel grating offers excellent traction. Before choosing a yard ramp, make sure it complies with all local and federal safety regulations.

Loading Dock with Access Ramp and safety Handrails

Factors to Consider when Choosing Yard Ramps

When you’re out shopping for the best yard ramp for your warehouse, there are a few factors you should consider. Make sure you identify the ramp’s weight capacity and load requirements. All personnel who work in your warehouse should know what the weight capacity is. You should also take note of the surface and nearby terrain conditions to ensure your employees remain safe while they work. The most effective yard ramps are the ones that come with ample customization options and accessories. Your yard ramp of choice should include adjustable width, length, and height.

Case Studies: Yard Ramps in Action

Many businesses have opted for yard ramps in their facilities. These ramps are a common fixture at distribution centers for Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and other companies. Yard ramps are also common in the construction industry.

One business that purchased yard ramps from The Yard Ramp Guy stated that their employees were grateful for not having to unload all of their trucks in the snow, heat, cold, and rain because of these ramps.

Other businesses have stated that these ramps prove useful when loading docks become overwhelmed. In this scenario, fees could be assessed for leaving unloaded trailers in the yard. Having a mobile ramp resolves this issue entirely.

Conclusion

Yard ramps offer many advantages that aren’t available with concrete ramps. The main benefit of choosing a yard ramp is its versatility. You can move the ramp to any location and can avoid relying on a permanent loading dock. Businesses of all sizes should consider yard ramps for their loading and unloading needs. Once you implement these ramps in your facility, you’ll save time and money while also significantly boosting efficiency with your logistics operations.

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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.