Loading Dock and Supply Chain Security
Safety-minded companies today are looking for proactive methods to help maintain their supply chain. Protecting themselves against threat, theft, and contamination, as well as maintaining environmental control is of upmost importance in many industries.
When it comes to the loading dock, a common breakdown occurs when the security seal is broken on trailer doors outside the building and the doors are opened in the drive approach. This exposes product to outside elements, temperature fluctuation, and potential product tampering. Fact is, loading docks now play an important role in helping to ensure the security of virtually any facility--as well as the flow of incoming and outgoing trailers.
Companies also are paying close attention to initiatives launched by the federal government and the impact these have on the supply chain. Among others, several federal agencies homed in on the issue including the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)*, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The agencies' guidelines and programs are designed to protect the public from both intentional and unintentional harm as products make their way to consumers. Now more than ever, it is necessary to view the loading dock from a new perspective and ensure that the dock equipment specified contributes to an operation’s overall security.
Securing a truck or trailer at the dock with a vehicle restraint can help prevent theft and reduce contamination, all while improving the safety of dock workers. Once a truck is secured at the dock, temperature and humidity control are of concern. Any gaps at the loading dock can make it hard to maintain environmental control. Finally, bridging the gap between the loading dock floor and the trailer bed is crucial. A dock leveler with a step down design allows a company to maintain control over product in the truck because trailer doors able to stay closed until the truck is secured at the dock.
The Rite Solution. In most instances, a systematic approach that incorporates automatic vehicle restraints, dock levelers with a step-down design, appropriate seals/shelters, and the proper sequence of operation is the best way to secure a loading dock as part of the supply chain.
*European equivalent of FSIS is the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)