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Increase Dock Efficiency

Increase Dock Efficiency

The Dock : Where Success Begins and Ends

In a warehouse or distribution center, everything begins and ends at the dock. It can either act as a choke point of productivity or as a launching pad for efficiency throughout an operation. Hold ups at the start of an operation slow down productivity throughout the rest of the warehouse, and bottle necks at the end of processes back up productivity and nullify all other efficiencies. When processes at the dock run smoothly and efficiently, though, the rest of the operation will follow suit. With the consistent flow of products in and out of the warehouse or distribution center, operations within the four walls can function at peak efficiency for optimized productivity.

Here’s a look at three key ways to drive efficiency at the loading dock.

Drive Efficiency from Start to Finish

  • Improve access to trailers

    Without clear and easy access to trailers, dock processes will become a bottle neck both at the outset and the end of operations.

    1. Keep it clean – The simplest way to improve access to trailers is to maintain clear passageways. Don’t let things pile up near the dock door or on the primary pathways to the door. Clearly mark areas that should remain clear so employees do not accidentally block these passages.
    2. Consider an upgrade – Outdated doors that are too short or too narrow create an instant choke point. Consider building new, taller and wider doors to streamline processes. Worried about decreasing energy efficiency or exposing employees to the elements with too much air space between some trailers and dock door seals? Not a problem! Today’s innovative dock seals and shelters allow you to conserve energy, keep employees comfortable, and still enhance efficiency.
  • Prioritize Safety

    When safety isn’t priority, inefficiency is inevitable. Though it’s easy to want to put speed over safety, ultimately, putting safety first will save time and energy.

    1. Simplify processes – Switch from manual systems to push-button equipment. Not only does this speed processes, it eliminates many opportunities for injury. Push button systems are quickly becoming the industry standard
    2. Sequence Control Systems – implement a sequence control system that requires step A to be completed before step B. This will eliminate dangerous short cutting and forgotten steps. By setting into place a standard, required sequence, employees will not only do a more thorough, safe job, they will also work more efficiently over time as the set process becomes second nature.
    3. Provide proper training – No matter what position an employee holds, make sure they are properly trained on workplace safety standards
    4. Conduct regular safety reviews – Keep equipment up to keep by scheduling regular safety audits. This will keep things moving smoothly by illuminating and eliminating problems before they become so bad that all operations must halt. Safety issues at a dock door are certain to slow operations to a crawl until resolved. Keep this from happening by being proactive with safety reviews.
  • Automate Processes

    The logistics, material handling, and distribution center industries are making a definitive move towards automation. Keep your operation up to date by automating processes.

    1. Automated guided vehicles – AGVs are proven to increase accuracy and reduce labor needs. Using laser and sensor technology, AGVs are able to quickly and efficiently load trucks. Though they can be costly and difficult to implement on the front end, the ROI proves worth the investment.
    2. Automate internal processes – By automating processes inside the warehouse to distribution center, human error is eliminated and operations function at a more regular and streamlines pace. This ultimately relieves congestion at the dock and keeps things moving smoothly.

Bringing It All Together

It’s easy to become so focused on the internal affairs of a distribution center that you overlook the entry / exit point of the dock. However, if a facility optimizes operations at the dock, the rest of the warehouse will benefit. It’s like blood flowing through the body. Even if the veins themselves are working great, if there is a problem at the entry or exit artery to the heart all systems will eventually shut down. But if the heart is clear and pumping efficiently, the rest of the body will follow suit.

Enhance efficiency throughout your warehouse or distribution center today by implementing the above strategies. The results will be well worth the effort.