Should I Add a Dock Ramp to My Facility?
If you’re considering investing in a dock ramp, it’s important to understand how these ramps will affect your business. Dock ramps are stationery ramps that act as a bridge between the interior and exterior of your warehouse.
Most of the time, there is some sort of gap between the two, which makes loading and unloading more difficult. With a dock ramp, you have a stable bridge that makes it easy to transport loads and keep your inventory safe.
Most businesses invest in a ramp for loading docks when they find that their operations necessitate it. After all, if you’re spending hours trying to load or unload a product, you’re wasting valuable time.
Having a reliable dock ramp eliminates the extra stress of trying to safely transport your products from truck to facility.
Dock Ramps vs Portable Yard Ramps
A loading dock ramp is different from a portable yard ramp. As mentioned, dock ramps are stationary, which means they are usually made from steel or aluminum that’s bolted into place. On the other hand, a portable yard ramp is equipped with sets of wheels that make it easy to transport.
One of the main advantages of portable yard ramps is mobility. They are particularly useful for businesses that do a lot of traveling and need a ramp at several locations in a given week. Or, if your business has multiple facilities, a portable yard ramp can be moved between the warehouses as needed.
Another main difference between a dock ramp and a portable yard ramp is the way they are used. If you purchase a dock ramp, it’s likely that you’ll keep it in the same location. For that reason, most loading dock ramps don’t have pumps that are used to adjust the height of the ramp. Once they are in place, the level of the dock ramp stays the same.
Portable yard ramps are usually equipped with a hydraulic pump that allows you to move the ramp up and down as needed. If the ramp is being used at different locations, you’ll probably need to adjust its height for different trucks, so hydraulic systems are a necessity.
Purchasing a Dock Ramp
If you’ve determined that a loading dock ramp is the best solution for your facility, the next step is to find a manufacturer and make a purchase. There are a few key features to look out for:
New or Used?
First, determine if you want to buy a brand new loading dock ramp or a used ramp. Used ramps come with the caveat that they may not last as long, so ask the manufacturer about the history of the dock ramp to ensure you’re fully aware of any potential issues. Although the price will be higher, new dock ramps should not have this issue, so just carefully consider your budget and facility needs beforehand.
Make sure that the dock ramp you purchase is fully equipped with safety features to keep your employees as safe as possible. Even though loading dock ramps are stationary, you still need safety features that ensure the dock ramp stays in place. This is critical for meeting OSHA laws and regulations.
Ask the manufacturer about any potential maintenance that’s required on the dock ramp. Maintenance can include cleaning, part replacement, and storage. You don’t want to waste extra time trying to clean out stains and dirt, so look for a dock ramp that’s as low maintenance as possible.
Finally, determine what you’ll need the ramp to do at your facility. You should know what capacity you’ll need the ramp to hold, as well as the width that you’ll need so the ramp fits. The manufacturer should be able to provide these numbers for you and customize the dock ramp if needed.
If you are currently shopping for a dock ramp, keep all these factors in mind. This will set you up to find the ideal fit for your facility.
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