Loading and unloading equipment specialist Thorworld Industries believes the use of modular loading docks and lightweight mobile loading platforms can help companies meet the challenge of improving distribution efficiency and, at the same time, help prevent overall operational costs from spiralling.
John Meale, Thorworld founder and Managing Director, said: "In these challenging times, everyone involved in the logistics and distribution process is facing increased costs – particularly with the continuing rise in fuel bills, including the proposed extra 3p+ duty increase set to take effect in August.
"This means that it is now harder than ever for companies to remain competitive. Yet while it’s bad enough that it will cost even more to transport goods, this is further compounded if there are time-consuming delays getting those goods onto the road in the first place."
This is particularly pertinent where there is no permanent, dedicated raised loading dock, when loading/unloading of goods can therefore be more costly in terms of manpower, time and resources. "Many companies are still having to load and unload trucks and trailers by hand, which is far from ideal," confirms John Meale.
Permanent raised loading docks are not always a practical option, and Thorworld’s modular docks and lightweight mobile platforms are designed to solve this problem. "These solutions enable a new or additional raised loading/unloading facility to be positioned exactly where required, outside or inside an existing building, without the expense of building a permanent structure," John Meale adds.
Thorworld modular docks are manufactured from extremely durable steel modules, securely bolted together to form a semi-permanent loading dock and can be purpose-designed to meet the individual location and performance requirements of each customer. The flexibility, operational efficiency and safety of the loading dock can be further enhanced through the integration of optional fixtures and accessories such as a dock leveller, cat ladder, access steps, hand rails, drop-down safety barriers, pallet/fork truck raves, bumper supports, epoxy anti-slip floor coating and a loading ramp.
One of the significant benefits of modular loading docks is that they can be easily modified to suit a company’s changing needs. Moving location or want to reposition the dock? They are a valuable business asset that can be taken down and then reassembled where required. Expanding operations? The size of existing docks can be increased by adding new modules to accommodate the extra capacity.
Thorworld’s modular docks are designed to withstand heavy duty demands, providing an extremely strong and secure loading and unloading solution. The standard module has an eight tonne single axle load capacity and, for extra safety, they are equipped with drop-down safety barriers fitted to open sides and durbar tread plate decking as standard.
For smaller, lighter loading/unloading operations, up to two tonne single axle weight, Thorworld lightweight mobile platforms provide an ideal solution that can be moved quickly into place behind a vehicle and then removed once loading or unloaded is complete. Adjustable legs are available to meet different vehicle heights and the platforms are suitable for use with pallet and sack trucks for fast loading and unloading at the back of vehicles. Again, a range of optional extras can be provided to increase their flexibility and safety even further.
The modular docks have a proven track record of increasing efficiency. Universal Silencer, engineer and manufacturer of industrial noise control and air filtration solutions, called in Thorworld to design, manufacture and install a modular dock system for its UK base in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Manager Mike Hough said: "The new modular platform is exactly what we were looking for. Now loading and unloading is much quicker and easier than before and it has provided our workers with a far safer environment in which to work."
In short, Thorworld modular docks and lightweight platforms can help companies make vital efficiency savings whilst ensuring that their cargo handling assets are flexible enough to respond quickly to change, making them the best possible value for money at a time when rising operational costs, including ever increasing fuel bills and tighter margins, continue to threaten their profitability.