Tips for Improving Loading Dock Efficiency
A huge pet peeve for many truck drivers involves forcing them to wait while dockworkers load freight onto the truck. But the truck driver isn’t the only one whose bottom line is impacted by how quickly the truck gets back on the road. Many shipping companies charge a fee when it takes too long to add the freight to the vehicle. Here are some tips for improving loading dock efficiency to avoid these unnecessary charges.
Keeping your equipment and loading bays in good condition is critical to getting your product out the door on time. Performing scheduled equipment maintenance helps keep the tools that dock workers rely on in their hands instead of in the repair shop. Forklifts, shelving, and pallet jacks are a few of the many tools and machines impacted by this.
Training employees is one of the best methods for avoiding freight detention charges. Work training is key to getting truck drivers back on the road and out of your loading dock as quickly as possible. Not only does preparing your employees improve speed, but it can improve the safety around your warehouse once the training starts to sink in. Offering employees the opportunity to cross-train in different positions makes promotions and transfers easier while providing the flexibility to schedule appropriate time off.
Improving technology helps get your freight out the door much quicker. Simple steps like adding a stretch wrapper machine help improve efficiency and let your workers focus on other tasks. Hand-held scanners can manage your inventory and help locate missing products. There are also several different software packages available to assist with running and scheduling your loading times.
No matter the profession, communication is always important, especially when large machines are involved. Teaching your staff how to quickly and efficiently communicate gets trucks out of your bays quicker and helps keep your team safe. Communication also includes ensuring the proper paperwork is with each freight shipment to avoid costly errors or shipping delays.
Process and Procedures Audits
The final tip for improving loading dock efficiency is to perform regular audits of your processes and procedures. These audits should include looking for ways to decrease loading times, improve worker safety, and methods for reducing bottlenecks, to name a few. Compare these results to past audits to ensure improvement or to see if a previous tactic works better.