With advancements in material handling, loading docks have become more than a simple dock leveler and overhead door. Like every aspect of the business, companies are also seeking ways to improve their shipping and receiving operations, including how efficiently they can turn trailers at their loading docks.
For the longest time, a warehouse or distribution center would rely on manual entry in an Excel spreadsheet, or even simple whiteboards, to monitor their loading activity. As trailers came and went, staff would have to enter the times manually and trust everything was recorded correctly. Surprisingly, many facilities still take this approach today.
However, with the latest trends in IoT technology and dock management applications, companies can now connect their loading docks online to automatically record data, have more reliable information, and ultimately improve overall loading operations.
One of the more well-known dock solutions on the market is myQ® Dock Management. Over the past couple of years, more and more companies throughout North America have connected their loading dock equipment online to myQ Dock Management and have since seen the value. Whether it be improving their efficiency, enhancing safety, simplifying maintenance, and/or reducing expenses, myQ has provided some form of benefit to those who use it.
One benefit of technology is to make your life easier. It’s the convenience of having a sensor or device track information for you and presenting that data in a way that’s easily understood.
One large automotive equipment manufacturer connected the docks at their distribution center in Texas. They transitioned from manual entries and sorting through papers to entering carrier information into myQ and automatically tracking when the trailer backed up to the dock and how long the loading or unloading process was. The status of each dock is now displayed on large LCD screens throughout the loading dock area, keeping everyone organized and alert of trailer times.
As their Warehouse Lead indicates, “myQ has been helpful a lot. We have monitors that show you where trailers are at and when they were hooked up. Then we know the window of time to complete loading.”
Improved organization can help alleviate the workload of employees, or even reduce the number of people needed to manage the loading dock, thus saving on employment costs. This was true for a Fanatics distribution center in Pennsylvania.
“Before using myQ Dock Management, we used to have an employee to manage the drivers coming in and guide them where to go, but that person left our company,” says their DC Operations Manager. “However, now myQ has saved us labor because our supervisors and I are able to monitor the docks and see what’s available. There was no need to fill the position and we can still turn trucks quicker.”
Using technology to be better organized ultimately leads to improved operational efficiency, which can help a company service more trailers or reduce their current expenses. Companies with loading docks connected to myQ have seen the following returns:
Results can certainly vary by facility, but most companies find some form of benefit from myQ to improve efficiency. One Facility Manager at a Johns Manville warehouse in Oklahoma uses myQ weekly with his team. “MyQ Dock Management provides a great overview of data for my loading dock team to use and review. Every Wednesday I present the dock data that’s on the report section and we discuss the team’s overall performance. This allows us to find any areas to improve our operational efficiency.”
Findings could be reducing the amount of dwell time a trailer sits stagnant at the dock waiting to be loaded, ensuring that loading doesn’t exceed a certain time limit, or releasing a trailer quickly after loading is complete. All this data is automatically tracked with sensors on the dock equipment and reported through myQ Dock Management.
Not only does a company want to protect the wellbeing of their employees, but accidents can also be financially detrimental. Recent studies found that employers paid approximately $9.7 billion per year for workers' compensation caused by loading dock injuries.
The first solution to help prevent accidents at the loading dock is to install truck restraints, which hold the trailer to the dock during loading or unloading. Over the past 5 years, demand for truck restraints has greatly increased, as companies are putting more focus on safety.
However, once truck restraints are installed, how does a facility ensure they’re being used? If the restraints are connected online, their usage can be monitored and alerts can be sent to supervisors when restraints are in use or placed in bypass.
“We are impressed with our MyQ Dock Management system,” says a team manager at a connected DENSO facility in Michigan. “It helps us maintain and track our docks and to help us recognize when our restraints are used safely or when in bypass mode. We like the notification features that alert us when any restraint is put into bypass mode. This system has really helped us increase safety at our docks.”
In addition to notifications, any past specific trailer session can be reviewed to verify the truck restraint was properly used during loading. Historical reports also provide an overview of all docks during a select date range and how many trailers were not restrained at each dock position. This helps management monitor restraint activity over time and detect any unsafe trends.
Whether a company wants to prioritize safety, improve efficiency, or reduce expenses, installing loading dock equipment with iDock hardware and connecting them online to myQ Dock Management will help any facility enhance their loading dock operations. Loading dock equipment with iDock Controls or iDock Link are available from brands Poweramp, McGuire, and DLM. For more information about iDock and myQ, visit LoadingDockSystems.com/myQ or call 800-643-5424 to speak with a representative.