Dock efficiency can never be measured by only one metric. Depending on your industry, you may need to consider a variety of inefficiencies

Determining Proper Metrics

When you’re considering a new dock for your warehouse, there are a lot of factors to consider in determining the right measurements, including:

  • Mechanical Design Efficiency
    These are the large-scale efficiencies that affect every load and unload, caused mostly by proper activation systems, correct dock leveler sizes, correct door sizes, and automation.This metric is best measured by checking the time it takes for trained employees to unload or load a typical trailer. This metric is easy to check in a lift factory, and so it is usually the primary metric used by engineers. However, we find that this leads to neglect of other metrics that are important to customers.
  • Movement Inefficiency
    This one is a little trickier to measure: it’s the time lost by employees walking around. It will change depending on the physical layout of each customer’s docks. When considering a dock system, test where the control panels will go, and estimate the time lost by walking to and from them each day.
  • Training Inefficiency
    Shipping/receiving is seasonal work and has high turnover. You can measure exactly how much a system costs you in training by multiplying the expected time for training on a new system by the number of new employees you hire each year. If this inefficiency is high, consider a more push-button and less complicated dock solution.
  • Downtime Inefficiency
    This includes scheduled maintenance, reprogramming, and cleaning. It is more difficult to calculate than many expect. These days, often when one part of a system experiences downtime it is still possible to use the dock, although with less efficiency. To use this metric, calculate both the cost of complete downtime and the cost of having non-essential parts serviced.
  • Stalled Movement Inefficiency
    Ideally, each pallet or carton should stop exactly once in between the dock and its final home. At this stop, employees should perform all checking, wrapping, counting, and adding. There should be plenty of space to wrap the load as well as to get it onto a jack. Any time after this that the load stops moving is burnt money.
  • Breakage and Contamination Inefficiency
    Transportation is always a risk, and always will have some effect on the value of some products. The less dirt, contamination, and breakage that occurs, the better. This metric is very difficult to test before you install the system. The best bet is to see data from docks in similar industries to see which systems led to the least damage to their goods.

All these metrics will change depending not only on equipment, but also on industry and dock layout. Equipment sales representatives should visit your docks to help you calculate the metrics and determine the best equipment solution for your solution.