Data on Loading Dock Activities Improves Operations, Boosts ROI

Warehouse managers have long been forced to base decisions about their loading docks on assumptions rather than data. That’s starting to change, thanks to new technology that assembles objective information to support well-informed decisions.

Q: For shippers in retail, high-volume distribution, and similar industries, what kinds of data about activities at the docks could help to make their operations more efficient?

A: Historically, managers have not been able to track key performance indicators (KPIs) related to the loading dock environment, such as the time trucks spend restrained, the number of restraint overrides, or the number of operational cycles for each piece of equipment. When managers and supervisors have this information, they can, for example, identify operators who need better training on equipment, put loading crews to work the minute trucks arrive, or schedule equipment maintenance and replacements more effectively.

Q: How does the 4SIGHT Connect—Dock platform, together with the Kelley Digital Master Control Panel, help shippers use data to achieve improvements?

A: While providing an interface for controlling all dock equipment, the Kelley Digital Master Control Panel also collects data from sensors in that equipment, relaying it over an independent network to the cloud-based 4SIGHT Connect—Dock platform. That platform provides full visibility into dock operations. The information is available on any device with a web browser. Through the 4SIGHT Connect—Dock’s dashboard, users can monitor KPIs in real time and receive alerts about issues of concern, so they can take immediate action.

4SIGHT Connect—Dock can also generate historical reports. For example, a report might compare performance on different shifts or on various docks. This provides a firm foundation for strategic decisions, helping companies enhance efficiency and gain a better return on the capital they invest in dock equipment.

Q: What are the advantages of managing a facility’s docks through a cloud-based platform?

A: Because 4SIGHT Connect—Dock is a cloud-based platform, managers can gain visibility into dock operations from any location, whether in another part of the warehouse, in another city, or from home in the evening or on weekends. If anything happens that should raise concern, a manager will learn about it directly and can take immediate action.

Also, thanks to the cloud architecture, as 4SIGHT Connect—Dock is updated and improved over time, it can push those changes to its customers, who gain seamless access to the new features.

In addition, the cloud architecture helps to future-proof a company’s investment in loading dock technology. As warehouses embrace innovations such as autonomous forklift trucks and autonomous tractor-trailers, these advanced systems will be able to interact seamlessly with a company’s loading dock equipment, using 4SIGHT Connect—Dock as the connectivity hub.