A loading dock is a critical component of a business as it ships and receives important supplies and products, which companies rely on to run day-to-day operations and sustain customers’ orders. Having a properly equipped and prepared loading dock will allow the staff to load trucks safely and more efficiently, which will save money for the company in the long run.
Dock equipment allows individuals to load product on and off trucks. A forklift or pallet jack is needed to lift and move pallets around and onto a truck. A dock plate is essential to loading trucks of different sizes and heights and acts like a ramp to allow a forklift or pallet jack to be moved onto the truck. A skid scale will allow skids and other items to be weighed to determine shipping costs and to prevent a truck from being overloaded.
Having an adequate amount of supplies will allow the loading dock to continuously run smoothly. Supplies needed are packaging tape, boxes, packing insulation, skids and shelving to sort and store the received items until distribution to the warehouse or office personnel. Shrink-wrap film will allow packages and skids to be wrapped to prevent from separating and moving during transport.
Safety is a major concern on a loading dock, especially when multiple forklifts are operating. Forklift drivers should have a certification, which proves they are aware of all necessary safety procedures while operating a lift. Forklifts should be outfitted with a strobe light mounted to the top, back-up alarms as well as a loud horn to be used when turning corners or maneuvering around large objects.
Wheel chocks should be available outside of the loading dock to ensure trucks do not move while being loaded or unloaded. Highly visible lines painted on the ground horizontal to the dock will help drivers line their trailer up to the dock. Padding on exterior walls is necessary to prevent damage to the building if a truck or trailer is backed in forcibly.
An inventory system keeps track of incoming and outgoing items from the loading dock. It will allow you to track shipments, add and remove items from inventory as well as schedule shipments, which will help coordinate workers during busy times.