One of the most important elements of better dock efficiency is prior planning, which includes the design and placement of employees and equipment and machines in the material transfer area or dock area. Here are a few ways that upper management can improve loading area efficiency:
Design of the Space to Improve Flow
Most of the loading/unloading is done with lift trucks, and therefore the proper door size and dock leveller height is governed by the lift truck traffic. Getting the proper activation system, leveller, and capacity for the transition from building to trailer can influence the speed of material transfer. But things like the lack of employee training can also be a major hurdle to dock efficiency.
Proper Employee Training
Although the system is based on push-button equipment on the dock, and the equivalent control sequences that accompany it, equipment manufacturers are creating pieces of machinery that follow a logical sequence with precise instructions. It’s essential that employees are properly trained on all processes.
Although upgrades to your existing docking equipment can be a costly endeavour, it pays to invest in improving your company’s future performance. Things like wider doors will reduce the challenge of loading wide materials into the facility. Taller doors can provide the same level of convenience. But when looking at upgrading doors, you should focus on the current dock leveller style and design.
There are a number of designs to choose from that may be efficient for your production time, including:
- Hydraulic – have large and heavy load efficiency that promotes performance through convenient button operation
- Mechanical – eliminate the need for manual lifting
Automation on the dock results in more efficient operations, since master control panels – that gather all operations in a single place – reduce the walking time for operators, as well as the money going into building processes since all electrical wiring connects at a single point.
It is important that any likely dock-related accidents be mitigated to avoid interfering with the work flow, damaging product, and more importantly, causing bodily harm to the employees. The use of vehicle restraints to prevent trailers from rolling away from the loading docks is one way to increase safety. Without appropriate vehicle restraints, a trailer can easily cause harm to individuals.
There are many things that upper management can do to improve dock efficiency, as stated above, but failure to replace poor docking equipment or alter the design can result in bad dock performance and things like “dock shock” that can result in long-term neck and back injuries due to the vibration that occurs when lift truck drivers cross over gaps on conventional dock levellers.