How to Fix Common Loading Dock Maintenance Issues

Machinery breakdowns at the loading dock can decrease productivity and increase safety risks, but a planned maintenance program can be your solution to combat it.

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How to Fix Common Loading Dock Maintenance Issues

Unfortunately, equipment and machinery need maintenance, and knowing how to notice issues and correct them before equipment breaks or someone gets hurt is just as essential as the job the equipment is meant to perform.

After all, your machinery doesn’t do you any good if it’s broken down. That lesson is especially important for machinery at the loading docks -- it is the shipping and delivery heart of the warehouse.

If equipment breaks down here, you’re not only looking at lost productivity from your staff, but delays can also impact the drivers who are trying to drop off or pick up cargo, supplies, products, etc. A delayed driver has short-term consequences, like bottlenecking, and long-term consequences, like fees or a lost shipper-of-choice status.

It’s important to know some of the most common loading dock maintenance issues and what you should do to prevent them from halting productivity or worse -- injuring a worker.

Dock Levelers

Dock levelers are an integral part of the loading dock process. They make sure that the connection between the dock and the trailer is smooth, allowing forklifts to enter and exit without problems, such as trailer creep. But dock levelers also have many moving parts, which means there are more components to inspect, clean, lubricate or seal, adjust, test, and record.

The best way to handle maintenance is to have a professional conduct regular inspection visits, like Rite-Hite’s planned maintenance program. They’ll perform operational tests, check fluid levels for hydraulic systems and perform inspections to keep your dock levelers in working order by fixing small problems before they become hazards.

Dock levelers are in the hub of the busiest and most dangerous parts of a warehouse. This is why it’s preferred to have a working relationship with a factory-trained technician or to lean on a maintenance program.
Whether you are maintaining in-house or outsourcing your program, keep in mind that a good routine will conduct inspections and tests every 90 days. 

Dock Doors and Vehicle Restraints

Loading dock doors and vehicle restraints are another area that need regular attention to help prevent problems.

Misaligned tracks, problems with cables, spring malfunctions and sensor issues are just some of the potential issues that can arise with the dock doors. Like with dock levelers, having a preventative plan, rather than reactive one, will allow you to address issues before they become productivity-halting problems.

If you’re noticing a trend here, that’s good. We repeat it because it’s important for not only productivity, but for safety reasons as well.

Keeping well-maintained equipment that is checked by an expert on a regular basis will lead you to less downtime, increased safety and improved productivity. Taking care of your machines also extends their life, spacing out more time between big purchases and upgrades or complicated dock installations.

You can’t afford to let small issues become big problems - that’s where preventative maintenance comes in.

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