For any courier company, the loading dock/bay is the hub of activity where goods, drivers and vehicles all come together. This can make it a hectic – and possibly even dangerous – place to be. It is important, therefore, to make this area of your business run smoothly. Everyone working in this area, whether they are drivers, loaders or other staff, should know exactly what they are meant to be doing and where they should be at all times. If your dock could do with a little reorganisation in order to make it run more smoothly, take a look at our guide to improving its efficiency.
The Importance of a Well-Ordered Bay
While you may not notice lapse systems and inefficiencies during quiet periods, there is nothing like the hustle and bustle of Christmas deliveries to highlight where there’s room for improvement. Congestion, on-site employees not knowing what to do and deliveries that are not ready for loading when vehicles arrive are all problems that can be solved with a streamlined bay. Not only will this improve your business, but it will also make your depot a safer place to work.
Loading Tip1: Digital Information Boards
Your dock will work best if everyone knows what is going on and what they are expected to do. Digital signage is a fantastic tool for delivering information about the contents of shipments, scheduled arrival times and any other details that are relevant to those working in the bay.
Loading Tip2: Clear Pathways for Drivers
Use dock bumpers or high-visibility markings to highlight routes. By introducing dock bumpers along the route that vehicles should follow to get in and out of your depot, both on-site employees and drivers will be aware of the zones that they should be in. Not only does this streamline efficiency, but it will also help you prevent accidents.
Loading Tip3: High-Visibility Signage
Another way to make sure that everyone is aware of where they should be and what they should be doing is to use signage. This is particularly effective for helping new employees familiarise themselves with specific company procedures, which will keep them safe while they learn the ropes.
Loading Tip 4: Require High-Visibility Jackets
This is a basic safety issue when a large number of vehicles manoeuvre their way through a confined space. It is essential that all staff is as visible as possible at all times, which can be achieved cost effectively by investing in high-visibility jackets.
Loading Tip5: Install Traffic Lights
At busy times, traffic coming in and out of your dock can be a serious hazard and slow down turnaround times dramatically. By installing traffic lights, you will ensure that everyone knows when it is safe for them to move, and you’ll create a steadily moving stream of traffic.
Loading Tip6: Introduce Fixed Mirrors
Fixed mirrors are a great way to ensure that drivers can see all around their vehicles and know when it’s safe to move, making delivery turnarounds faster. It’s easy and effective!
As you can see, there are a variety of cost-effective solutions that could make your dock a more efficient place to work while also saving you time and money. On top of this, a more efficient bay is a safer bay, and – as I’m sure you’ll agree – you owe it to your staff to make their workplace as safe as possible.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Courier Exchange also provides a valuable service, updating members with the latest information on issues affecting road safety, fuel costs, technology and even the occasional loading tip. Over 4,800 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.