Trailer Door Opening

DID YOU KNOW?

Most trailer doors are roll ups with an opening of 92″-94″. Swing door trailers have an opening that is 102″ wide. Boards and ramps must have a minimum of 2″ clearance per side to allow for safe, secure, proper placement.

Some people ask us for a 96″ wide board for a roll up trailer, but the board needs to sit inside the opening.

We are happy to provide training and always have product specialists ready to assist you in finding the best solution for the application.

We have the same goal you do: the right solution the first timeYard Ramp resulting in a satisfied customer.

Simple steps to reduce shipping claims or better ways to recover damages

We’d love to have zero claims on all our shipments that go out. But in the event we do have some claims, here’s how we can all work together to either reduce the number of claims or recover the damages.

Last Friday, one of our employees that works with Con-way met with one of their representatives to go over a few details regarding damaged shipment. The damaged shipments were BLS products. This is what she discovered:

In 2010, we had 2,789 shipments with Con-way. In 2011, we had 5,640 shipments with Con-way – a 50% increase! In 2010 and 2011, we had filed 25 claims with Con-way, 20 were paid for, and 15 were declined. The 15 that were declined was because customers had not accurately signed the Bill of Lading (B.O.L.) – and did not mark whether the goods were short, damaged, lost-in-transit, etc.

But considering the sheer number of shipments we have sent via Con-way, our freight claims are very minimal. In fact, we average a 0.9 ratio on shipments that are damaged, lost in transit, short, etc.  Freight carriers try not to exceed a ratio of 0.9 on freight claims. This means, Con-way does a pretty good job for Bluff!

However, our goal at Bluff Manufacturing is to have zero claims, or to reduce the number of claims even further. If there are unavoidable circumstances where a small number of claims do arise, we would like to be able to recover the money. In order for us to achieve this, we need to work together as one team – our distributors and customers, our logistics partner – Con-way, and our employees at Bluff.

How can you help as employees to better package our products? The Bluff employee took diligent measures to prevent further damages by asking the Con-way representative to assess the products in question and see if he had any recommendations on how to better ship or package the product or what could possibly be done at the Con-way terminals to help prevent damaged products. That was a first good step. The second step is to follow some of the representative’s useful suggestions. One great tip was to label shipments to be handled with care. The shipping department will start adding these stickers to any BLS orders and large crash guard orders shipping via Con-way.

How did Con-way help us reduce our claims or better help us recover our money in case of claims? The Con-way representative was happy with Bluff’s packaging. The only suggestion he had was for the shipments to have clearly marked labels like – “Do Not Double-Stack” or “Handle With Care” or “Fragile.” He even gave us some of the stickers to use.

Con-way also went out of its way to add a note to all of our DR’s (Delivery Receipt) so customers do not forget to accurately make a note on the delivery receipt if products arrive damaged, short, or are lost-in-transit. This is the note you can expect to see under ‘Description of Articles and Marks’ – CAREFULLY INSPECT THE CONDITION OF SHIPMENT AT TIME OF DELIVERY AND MAKE ANY NECESSARY NOTATIONS.

How can you help as distributors and customers when taking delivery of our products? In order for Bluff to claim any damages, our customers and distributors must inspect the product carefully upon delivery, sign the DR (Delivery Receipt), and accurately notify Con-way if articles are damaged, short, or lost-in-transit.

These are simple, short steps to take – but the cost savings to us are tremendous, and when we save, you save as well. Here’s to zero claims or better claiming our damages. And thanks to Con-way for being such a great partner to us!

Creating High Performance Teams

February is the month of love and relationships; but when the calendar turns to March we still have to nurture our relationships if we want them to be healthy all year long.   All of our relationships need care if they are to be strong and productive – even the business ones at work. For this blog, let’s focus on a relationship very critical to the nature of our business – one between the manufacturer and distributor. This is a relationship if nurtured and built on trust and communication, can become a successful mechanism for competent and confident selling.

In order to create a high-performance team and a competitive supply chain, there needs to be a free flow of information and education between both parties. Creating this free flow of information boosts morale for both the manufacturer and the distributor. There is much to learn from each other. Manufacturers provide the education on products, which helps increase the confidence of distributors when selling, and distributors provide critical customer feedback and field information that greatly benefits manufacturers when designing and manufacturing products. The art of great communication is not just what is said, but also, what is heard. So, sharing critical information between these two teams is vital to successful selling. Together, they can make a strong, winning team.

There are several other factors that can contribute to creating a winning team. A recent newsletter article highlighted some key points in developing a great team based on certain factors.

For instance, believe in your product. That is the best way to start off with a great manufacturer-distributor connection. If you believe in your product, it’s easy for the distributor to believe in it, and then it’s easy for the customer to believe in it as well. Basically, lead by example.

Building great relationships – no matter what kind of relationship – is based on a healthy dose of trust and fairness. As manufacturers, we need to be fair and non-partial with all distributors and equally supportive of all their needs. And distributors need to show the same kind of support to a manufacturer’s products as well.

Another factor for success is good training. We talked about communication. But training is a step beyond just basic communication. In the manufacturing world, training requires the manufacturer to thoroughly coach distributors on all aspects of the product – features, benefits, application, use, accessories, related products, and more. Imparting selling and marketing strategies and keeping distributors updated with current specials and promotions is generally good business practice.

This type of checklist for the manufacturer helps optimize performance.

  • Create great quality products
  • Provide top-notch education and training to distributors
  • Take their input into consideration
  • Consistently monitor results to ensure goals are being met

When morale and confidence increase, competency takes a step up as well. Here’s to striking the right balance with our distributors and creating winning teams! Happy Selling!

Steady mezzanines on unsteady grounds!

Earthquakes are a terrifying possibility in areas with high seismic activity. The destruction of property, land, and most importantly, human lives drives us to take into careful consideration all standards required to protect our buildings and structures from these terrible tremors and shakes.

When you know you live in an area of high seismic activity, you want to know that you’re on solid ground even when the earth is shaking! Much like buildings that have strict codes and standards in earthquake-prone zones, mezzanines have special requirements as well. And it’s very important to consider these factors when making a decision about your mezzanines and stairways.

Bluff Manufacturing takes your safety into consideration when designing and manufacturing mezzanines for your building. If you are in a “seismic zone,” Bluff’s engineering department knows how to make your mezzanine safe. We have resources that define such necessary data through the United States Geological Survey organization based on the project’s address alone. The only parameter we may need from our customer is what Occupancy Category the mezzanine system will apply to. For instance, “Buildings and other structures that represent a low hazard to human life in the event of failure, …” is a Category I. While “Buildings and other structures with potential to cause a substantial economic impact and/or mass disruption of day-to-day civilian life in the event of a failure” is a Category III. Category III would be facilities such as power generation, wastewater treatment, telecommunication, and the like. This occupancy category translates into an importance factor (I), which can be applied in determining the Seismic Response Coefficient (Cs).

We may also determine a site class – something that can be easily defined by a subsoil investigation either by a material testing firm local to the project site or historical document relating to such an investigation. For mezzanine systems this parameter can be taken from that assigned to the building itself.

Finally, Seismic Design Category is determined based on the Occupancy Category and geographical location. But Bluff can already determine this piece of information for you based on all the information previously collected.

Safety is at the very epicenter of our business and Bluff Manufacturing works with customers located in all kinds of seismic zones to provide them with stable mezzanines built to stand on shaky grounds. We help our customers configure their mezzanine frame – a simple hand sketch often helps us outline the Seismic Force-Resisting System (SFRS) and the lateral support required. Whether your mezzanine frame is a cross bracing, knee bracing, or moment frame, we at Bluff Manufacturing, are committed to keeping you on solid ground.

Moment Frame

Knee Braced

Cross Braced

Tough Luck or Tuff Guard?

Guard: To keep safe from harm or danger. A simple phrase, but it’s one that carries a lot of weight and responsibility. Bluff’s Tuff Guard says it all – this safety rail is manufactured with 1/2” thick ASTM A36 steel to protect and prevent loss and injury. This is the kind of product you want in your warehouse when the stakes are high and protecting your property and employees is your top priority.

We’re introducing one of our top products in this week’s blog – Bluff’s Tuff Guard Safety Rail. So what makes the Tuff Guard so special? Consider some of these facts and you will get all soft on our Tuff Guard Safety Rail!

  • The Tuff Guard Safety Rail is manufactured with 4” x 4” x 3/16” structural steel square tubing posts for mounting posts
  • Plastic insert caps act as mounting post closure and enhance the appearance of the safety rail
  • Solid hardware for rail attachment includes 2 bolts per side (4 bolts per rail) with Rail-to-post “thru-bolt” connection
  • Formed 10 gauge steel rails in lengths up to 12’ to eliminate the need for higher cost posts
  • Standard post heights are 18” and 42”
  • 8” square base plates manufactured with ½” thick ASTM A36 steel. Hardware includes four 5/8” wedge anchors for concrete mounting

Tuff Guard Safety Railing Features:

  • We’ve hidden our bolt fasteners behind the rail for a finished and cleaner look
  • We’ve ensured ease of installation and reduced our freight costs
  • But here’s our star feature: with proper installation, The Tuff Guard Safety Railing can withstand impacts of up to a 10,000-pound load at 6 mph!!!

Federal standards for Safety Barrier testing requires our safety rails to pass the crash test with an impact f 10,000 pounds (forklift truck) traveling at 4 miles per hour. But Bluff Manufacturing has been manufacturing quality material handling products for several years and we know that in busy docking areas, speed of forklift operations often exceeds the 4 mph limit. That’s why we increased our safety crash standard to 6 miles per hour. And even with the increased speed, Bluff’s Tuff Guard exceeded the crash test expectations with minimal rail deflection. We weren’t kidding when we christened our safety rail as the Tuff Guard! We know our customers are always looking to us to provide the kind of quality they have come to rely upon. This is why we design and manufacture products you can always trust will exceed your expectations. When you buy Bluff’s Tuff Guard Safety Rail, you never have to worry about the safety of your plant personnel or the costs associated with employee injury, machinery down time, insurance claims, and building repairs due to accidental collisions. Bluff’s Tuff Guard Safety Rail puts your mind at ease.

What does this mean for you? The modifications made to our Tuff Guard Safety Rail have effectively decreased the weight of the product, the cost of the product, and the rail installation time. Not only do you have a safer, lighter, and sturdier Tuff Guard Safety Rail, you now have a manageable bottom-line! If you’ve got our Tuff Guard installed properly, you don’t have to worry about “tough luck” when operating your forklifts and navigating precarious turns.

Bluff's Tuff Guard Safety Rail