Shining New Light on Dock Operations
The loading dock is a complicated place, with many people and a lot of equipment working together. With better visibility into dock activity, companies can bring significant improvements to their warehouse operations.
Q: What important challenges do warehouse operators face because they lack access to crucial real-time and historical data about what's going on at their docks?
A: Sometimes employees bypass standard procedures, or they don't use the equipment as expected. Such aberrations can reduce efficiency and increase the risk of damage or accident. Historically, managers haven't had much visibility into activity at their loading docks. Without key performance indicators, they can't identify problems and implement improvements.
Q: What solutions does Serco offer to help with those challenges?
A: The Serco Digital Master Control Panel records all activity at each loading dock and transmits that information over an independent network to the 4SIGHT Connect—Dock platform. That cloud-based platform collects and synthesizes this information, providing a real-time view of performance at each dock. Using the 4SIGHT Connect—Dock's dashboard, users can monitor the items they consider most important—how long trucks are restrained, how long doors are opened, when someone interrupts the standard sequence of operations, or any other conditions. The system can also send alerts when certain conditions apply. Finally, 4SIGHT Connect—Dock can generate historical reports, showing how docks, equipment, and crews perform over time.
Q: How do warehouses benefit when managers gain visibility into, and control over, all their dock activities through a single platform?
A: When managers can monitor activity at all their docks through one source, with access via a browser on any device, they gain valuable insight into day-to-day operations. If a worker performs a task incorrectly, if a team takes too long to unload trailers, if a worker needs approval to override a restraint, the manager learns about those events right away and can take immediate action. In some cases—such as approval for an override—a manager or supervisor can use the dashboard to respond remotely, resolving issues from the other side of the warehouse, from another company location, or from home.
A company also gains strategic benefits when it assembles and analyzes information from all of its docks. 4SIGHT Connect—Dock provides business intelligence that has never been available before. Is the company using all of its loading docks equally? Do all the docks operate at the same level of efficiency? Do operators need more training? How many times, on average, can a dock door raise and lower before it needs maintenance? As technology shines a light on more aspects of warehouse performance, companies will discover new ways to save money and operate more effectively.