3 Steps to Prevent Downtime at the Loading Dock

Bo Dietrick

Gregg Homola

March, 2023

Taking a proactive approach at the loading dock with regard to maintenance is essential for a company to keep operations and productivity at a high level. Downtime at a loading dock position may cause operations to slow down or come to a stop. This could be the result of not properly maintaining dock equipment. 

Having breakdowns and repairs that are unplanned can be very costly. Emergency service calls can lead to long downtimes and lost productivity. The logistics industry is dealing with supply chain delays that are creating longer lead times when parts or new equipment are required. These lead times can be several months in some cases! A facility needs to focus on strong preventive maintenance to minimize downtime.

Three steps for being proactive are:

1) Don’t Wait for a Breakdown: Waiting for equipment to fail can be the result of not taking action to prevent it. A good approach is to properly maintain equipment instead of replacing it. Proper maintenance means equipment lasts longer and the investment is protected. Schedule a preventative maintenance program on your loading dock equipment. This service allows you to have a detailed report of the current status of your equipment and any issues or repairs that may be needed. This can help eliminate any downtime issues like dock leveler lips not extending, worn or missing dock bumpers, door panel issues, and weather seal concerns.

2) Have a 2-3 Year Plan: Keep a detailed report that includes the model or type of equipment, age of the equipment, capacity, and repair history. Have a service company you can partner with to provide this information. Conduct a loading dock survey and consider a dock design seminar to stay up to date on trends and new equipment options. This information can help with budgeting for repairs or replacements. Parts stocking or consignment may help to avoid long downtime due to lead times.

3) Be Safe: Better safety is the result of having an excellent maintenance program in place. A facility that waits for equipment to fail before taking action is not providing a safe workplace for its employees. Explore safety options like vehicle restraints, safety barriers, traffic warning systems, and fall protection equipment. 25% of all industrial accidents occur at the loading dock and 600 near misses for every incident that ends up happening. Work with a factory-trained service professional on a strong proactive maintenance strategy to improve safety, keep operations running, and avoid downtime

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