5 Smart Ways to Increase Productivity at the Loading Dock
Loading docks are busy, and when working efficiently, they can move an incredible volume of products from warehouse floor to the loading dock, and into a trailer onto its next destination. Without cutting corners and meeting constantly changing productivity targets, these increasing demands can lead to dock personnel practicing unsafe behaviors as well as improperly operating equipment.
Because these loading docks, distribution centers and warehouses have been primed for constant improvement, we’re discovering smarter and safer ways to operate with new equipment, existing upgrades and software solutions. Here are 5 ways facilities can use technology to help increase productivity at the loading dock:
1. Choose smart loading dock equipment wherever possible
Smart upgrades are easier, and often less costly, to achieve than you think when you prioritize the most important equipment in use, and simply add an extra layer of communication or data collection. Many pieces of equipment are capable of becoming smart, such as:
Facilities that adapt smart loading dock and warehouse practices are, “76% more likely to boost inventory accuracy, 36% more likely to have reduced labor cost, and 40% more likely to consistently ship within one day of an order’s placement.”
2. Remove blind spots by using sensors to track what’s coming in and out
With the right sensors, you can monitor almost anything in your facility. Sensors can step in where visibility or communication is limited such as past closed doors, busy loading bays and unpredictable semi-truck schedules. Without working off task, your team can track exactly:
- When trucks are present at the loading dock position
- When trucks are waiting at a dock position, but there’s no loading/unloading activity
- When truck restraints are engaged or in use
- When warehouse doors and loading bay doors are being left open
- When safety barriers are retracted and stored
- When levelers are deployed into bed of trailer
- When there is forklift activity inside a trailer
Monitoring steps of the loading process with sensors paired with dock equipment helps identify bottlenecks as well as opportunities to increase the productivity between each step from truck arriving to departing.
3. Create a system of full visibility at the loading dock with Dock Management Software
Along with sensors, Rite-Hite’s Loading Dock Management Software offers an at-a-glance status of all real-time and historic loading dock activities. Dock Management Software monitors and improves loading dock use, provides seamless communications between all logistics stakeholders, and finds new efficiencies such as reduced detention and increased truck turnover with actionable data analytics.
Read how one customer used Dock Management Software to manage 130-160 truckloads per day without spreadsheets, radios or manual yard checks. Real-time visibility at the loading docks allowed them to reduce detention charges by 73% year-over-year and take on an 8 to 10% increase in truck volume per week.
4. Identify bottlenecks before they happen by connecting facility work flows to dock door traffic
Industry research shows that only 1 in 3 supply chain leaders report being very prepared for future supply chain disruptions. When lack of visibility is combined with unexpected disruption, disconnected teams are unable to respond to challenges and adapt as needed.
Closing the gap between loading docks and facility operations is the key to managing this workflow. When your team can connect order fulfillment and automations all the way from the warehouse through the dock door, your team can reduce bottlenecks, detention and demurrage fees and downtime.
5. Embrace big data with our Smart Data & Analytics Platform
Facilities are able to connect smart equipment, sensors and more with warehouse management software solutions. Combining real-time loading dock activity with historical data, pressing trends, and targeted metrics, Industrial Software Solutions gains your team the ability to find new insights into loading dock inefficiencies, dock and warehouse safety, asset maintenance, and energy consumption.
Rite-Hite's Smart Data and Analytics platform collects data from Rite-Hite equipment and sensors to make this big data system possible. User-defined dashboards help your team.
- Monitor real-time loading dock activities and status
- Track loading dock efficiencies with facility-established thresholds
- Understand current and historical loading dock utilization
- Receive trending productivity alerts such as total load time
- Receive important safety and energy alerts such as equipment fault and out of safe sequence of operations usage
When it comes to improving productivity and reducing inefficiencies at the loading dock, more visibility is necessary to collect real data, prevent bottlenecks and blind spots, manage workflows, and better sync communications across teams and devices.
Make Your Smart Loading Dock More Productive Contact Us Today