Addressing the Most Pressing Needs of the Warehouse
Warehousing, Supply Chain Management, Supply ChainJohn Carroll, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Loading Dock Products,Serco Entrematic, 800-933-4834Food and beverage, industrial, and cold storage facilities are entering a new era as technological gains lead to new capabilities and new challenges. With improved equipment, those facilities are poised to feature a data-driven operation that is safer and more efficient—both reducing mistakes and more effectively managing resources. Improved technology and equipment also raise the possibility of reducing training time, avoiding confusion and miscommunication, and improving prompt equipment repair and maintenance.Q: What are the most pressing needs that warehouse equipment specifiers are addressing right now?A: Specifiers and facility managers are buying powered loading dock equipment, vehicle restraints, and unified controls at a higher rate than ever, along with enhanced dock sealing systems. Throughput per dock and safety and energy efficiency demands are driving those specifications. Energy efficiency has been important in cold storage for many years but is now more important than ever in all facilities that offer some level of climate control or employee comfort. Fall protection at the dock has become a hot topic and the number of protective gates being purchased for the dock is skyrocketing.Q: How critical is it in today's demanding supply chain climate to incorporate new technological tools into one's warehouse operations?A: New technology tools are available that are too good to ignore when there is so much pressure to produce more output from the same warehouse footprint. The ability to collect data from warehouse equipment to drive efficiency gains is going to change our industry.Q: What is the optimum way for sectors such as food and beverage, cold storage, and industrial to centrally operate the various facets of a warehouse or distribution center?A: Those sectors are very interested in data and metrics to drive up time and efficiency. Loading dock control systems that feature intuitive, sequenced operation help improve efficiency and safety and reduce training needs.Serco Digital Master Control Panels use a touchscreen Human Machine Interface (HMI) that will accomplish all of that. It gives you the ability to collect data to record time at dock to drive throughput gains and reduce trailer demurrage charges. It also provides the ability to determine equipment use cycles to improve efficiency and thus throughput.We find that often a facility with 20 loading docks uses seven or eight of them very frequently and the rest only a fraction of the time, yet has bottlenecks. The HMI also gives you the ability to set and track equipment cycles to determine maintenance intervals and planning. Therefore, this new technology can drive real, tangible gains for facilities.
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