With continued uncertainty over the economy, austerity remains the watchword for the current Government. Yet, according to loading and unloading equipment specialist Thorworld Industries, the best way for a logistics company to cut costs is by taking a proactive approach to protecting itself from the hidden costs caused by accidents and damage.
Thorworld’s extensive product range includes a variety of restraint and protection products designed to minimise the risk of impact or collision, and so protect premises, equipment and people in the loading dock, as well as other loading and unloading areas.
The company believes that even the implementation of simple devices such as Dock Bumpers, Wheel Chocks or Vehicle Stoppers can make a huge difference to operational efficiency that will keep costs down and ensure that loading/unloading continues without interruption.
John Meale, founder and Managing Director of Thorworld Industries, explains: "Loading and unloading areas are fast-moving environments where items can get bumped, scratched, dented or crushed by trucks, fork lift trucks or other equipment. Over time, vehicles, equipment and goods will be degraded and eventually will need replacing.
"Not only does this incur replacement costs but the downtime involved in sourcing and installing new equipment also delays goods getting on the road.
"It is simple common sense that investment in our DOCKPROTECTA® protection products and restraint aids can save money in the long-term by enabling warehouse and distribution professionals to keep their equipment running."
John Meale cites the example of Dock or Vehicle Bumpers; a durable, low-cost addition that act as a cushion during impact. "These are simple to fit and highly effective at keeping vehicles and premises in peak condition. Furthermore, the introduction of our innovative, patented, Sliding Nylon Dock Bumpers – which can be repositioned in four different orientations – further extends product life for increased cost-efficiency."
Alternatively, the use of Vehicle Stoppers – available in two sizes for cars and lorries – makes an ideal end stop to accurately and safely halt moving vehicles in time to prevent impact with site facilities.
Nevertheless, Thorworld believes that it is vital to have the ethos that "prevention is better than the cure." Many restraint products are available to restrict the unwanted movement creep of vehicles during the loading/unloading process, including the Thorworld CHOCK-IT® range of wheel chocks, available in rubber, steel, aluminium or moulded. For a greater level of safety, Vehicle Wheel Locks or Trailer Safety Locks should be specified to prevent unwanted drive-aways.
Thorworld believes that one of the most effective means of minimising risk is the use of Alignment Curbs, which guide vehicles towards the loading dock to prevent them veering off course and causing extensive damage to dock shelters. Fixed into a concrete base and painted bright yellow for hazard awareness, "Alignment Curbs provide an unambiguous signal to drivers about where they are expected to position their vehicles," explains John Meale.
A range of traffic calming measures is also vital to ensure a consistent, controlled loading and unloading operation. Thorworld offers a variety of relevant products for this purpose, including speed stopper ramps, ‘sleeping policemen’ and traffic lights.