Loading bays are a key interface between a company’s main operations and the logistics and distribution functions that connect it to its customers. Therefore, an equipment failure in the loading bay is likely to have a direct and immediate impact on both customer relations and profitability. Good maintenance and servicing plus an emergency call-out contract with a reputable provider are the best ways to keep the wheel of business turning, says Martyn Nixon of sara LBS.
Loading bays can be very busy places, often, they are in use for long hours each day. It is important that they are always in perfect working order and that, in the event of a breakdown or damage to equipment, repair is fast and efficient.
The first step is making sure the right equipment is specified and that it’s installed correctly. While this may seem like common sense, it’s surprisingly common for failures to occur shortly after installation which should have been easily avoided. Simple mistakes like specifying a scissor lift or dock leveller which can’t support the required load, or low cost doors that are easily can lead to problems from the first day of operations which can only be remedied through replacement.
When a loading bay area is being specified it’s vital that you work with a company that can offer a complete service; from initial specification and equipment sourcing, through to design and installation. For example, sara LBS is able to work with contractors, architects and end-users to make sure a loading bay meets the functional and aesthetic requirements of any application.
Once the equipment has been installed correctly, the best way to ensure that the machinery is always running at its best is to have a contract for regular maintenance with a suitable company. In fact, most manufacturers and suppliers of equipment such as loading bay doors and scissor lifts offer maintenance and service contracts, under which they will regularly attend site and conduct routine services. This may include lubricating moving parts, retensioning drive belts, testing electrical equipment, checking for wear and tear, etc.
Typically, they will also replace at least some parts each visit. Sometimes the replacement will be to a time-based schedule; other times it will be because they have detected some small damage or defect that could lead to failure at just that moment in time when important deliveries are due for dispatch.
Loading bay equipment tends to be robustly built and electrically driven, so is usually reliable, provided it is used and maintained appropriately. It can have a very long working life, and should provide an excellent return on investment.
So it is perhaps not surprising that one of the most common reasons for an emergency call-out is not equipment failure, but damage. Typically a vehicle will have backed into and broken a loading bay or roller shutter door. Such an accident can greatly impede on-site operations, particularly if the door is unable to open fully, which may render the loading bay partly or completely unusable.
Further, it can also be a serious health and safety issue for site personnel, perhaps forcing them to adopt unergonomic goods’ handling practices or exposing sharp edges, trip hazards, etc. Another issue could be a damaged door being left permanently open, which would be a security risk; could be a health and safety issue if animals or bacteria entered the workplace; or could damage energy efficiency if heated or chilled air is free to escape.
sara LBS offers one, three and five year service contracts to help make sure that loading bay equipment is well-maintained throughout its life. Whether you bought your loading bay equipment from sara LBS or elsewhere, its multi-skilled engineers are able to ensure that loading docks, scissor lifts, dock shelters, high-speed doors, etc. are maintained to the highest standard. Contracts include regular servicing of equipment, preventive maintenance to stop a problem before it leads to downtime, and regular site inspections. sara also offers rapid response services for damages and sudden breakdowns for its own equipment and for that from other manufacturers.