Loading Dock Design: Solutions That Protect Product and Speed up Operations

Your business’s loading dock design can affect your business and merchandise in a myriad of ways, so it’s essential to reflect on this design either before you create it or if you need to revamp it.

The following design considerations will help your business create a safe environment for both personnel and merchandise and ensure the streamlined loading and unloading of materials.

Common Problems Associated with Loading Dock Designs

Many businesses have struggled with loading dock design problems. Sometimes a sloped approach is simply too steep or an approach can only accommodate trucks of a certain size. In some cases, doorways are not large enough or there are safety and even security concerns. According to MHI.org, “not all loading docks are alike,” so many will require customized solutions to protect merchandise and enhance overall business operations.

Consider Safety

When thinking about loading dock design, it can be helpful to begin reflecting on common safety concerns as well as to consider issues that may already be associated with the safety of your current loading dock design. According to Loading Dock Supply, loading docks have “exponential safety risks which can cost your company in excess of one million dollars from direct and indirect costs.” Be sure to carefully assess all safety issues associated with your loading dock and address right away in order to minimize liability risks for your business.

Loading Dock Design Standards

When planning your loading dock, be sure to consult all standards that affect its design and use. It’s surprising how many businesses make do with substandard designs when there are fixes that can cost-effectively address flaws. First, it’s important to consider the location of your loading dock. You may simply not have the ideal space to site your dock. In such cases, businesses may want to consider employing a Smart Space such as a prefabricated building to transform into a loading dock hub.

No matter where you site your loading dock, however, you must ensure that it has a safe and convenient traffic pattern for trucks. You must also consider apron space; this area encompasses the space where the trucks can park at the dock as well as the space they need to manoeuvre the vehicles. Considerable thought must go into this part of the design or the apron could pose a constant element of frustration for the business.

The approach is important as well. What type of pavement should you use? Should you employ a slope, and if so, at what angle? What about individual dock bays? Each of these elements must be addressed by designers with know how to ensure that they meet standards of efficacy and safety. Keep in mind that there are multiple dock types. You need to employ a model that best fits your business’s current needs as well as future needs that may arise should the business grow and expand its operations.

Keep this information in mind as you address concerns about your own particular loading dock. With thoughtful design, you can create a loading dock that serves the needs of your business safely as well as efficiently.

Antony Hunt has spent over three decades in the portable building industry. An experienced managing director, he likes to share his insights by posting online. His articles are found mainly on business and construction websites and blogs. Follow Anthony and his business interests on Twitter.