Companies in the supply chain always strive to make sure they can reduce inefficiencies in all of their operations. However, one place where some of those inefficiencies can be invisible, or even written off as unresolvable, is on the loading dock.
If you make a few of the following changes to modernize your loading dock operations, your whole organization could end up being in significantly better shape:
1) Keep equipment well maintained
You may use a number of devices, vehicles or machinery in your loading and unloading efforts, but if any of them break down, that can lead to major delays in your processes, according to PLS Logistics. With that in mind, setting a repair schedule, making sure they're inspected or tested before use and otherwise being more conscious of maintenance needs overall is necessary to proper care.
2) Make lanes
One of the factors that can lead to a lot of small delays in your loading dock operations is when people and machines get in each other's way and have to adjust course - or even their plans, PLS Logistics added. However, if you paint lanes onto the floors of your dock so people have one place to walk or work, and machines have another, those little traffic snarls can become a thing of the past.
As with anything else in your facility, it can be quite helpful to take a holistic approach to changing your loading dock operations, according to Cherry's Industrial Equipment. Talk to managers and employees alike, or even truck drivers who make regular deliveries to your facility, to see what works well - and what doesn't. That way, you can craft a plan that takes into account the actual, existing inefficiencies you face.
4) Reconsider the equipment you use
When making a new plan for how you will operate on the loading dock, you might need to make investments in new or different equipment to fully realize the efficiency goals you set for yourself, Cherry's Industrial Equipment advised. That may be especially true if you've been relying on older forklifts or pallet jacks that aren't as useful as they used to be, or you're still hand-wrapping pallets.
5) Light it up
Confusion can certainly arise on the loading dock for any number of reasons, and including the fact that these spaces may not always be particularly well-lit, according to Lantech. That's a problem that can be fixed quickly, though. Installing better lighting in and around the loading dock makes it easier for all involved to tackle the tasks at hand.
6) Install work stations
Finally, there are a lot of tasks that could take place in the loading dock area that end up being handled in other parts of your facilities, but it doesn't have to be that way, Lantech said. With a good work station setup, you can tackle the process of barcoding or separating items you're taking in, so they can be more efficiently funneled where they need to go once they enter your warehouse.