Evolving delivery practice demands appropriate loading solutions – from Thorworld Industries
In changing times for the logistics industry, Thorworld Industries’ Technical Director, Ian Langan explains how the right pieces of loading bay kit can improve function, and enable the speedy, safe dispatch of smaller delivery vehicles:
“With next-day and even same-day home delivery fulfilment becoming not only an option, but a distribution norm, many logistics companies are now adapting working practice and seeing the benefits of bolstering fleets with smaller, more responsive transit vehicles to better meet customer expectations.
To enable the increasing demand for a faster pace of delivery turnaround, logistics firms are choosing vans for distribution purposes, as opposed to articulated lorries, which means loading bays are having to adapt to safely facilitate effective loading systems.
Whilst most articulated vehicles – owing to their height and capacity to hold significant volumes - can be best prepared for dispatch using a combination of height-set loading platforms and container ramps alongside the option of a fork lift truck, vans need - for starters - loading docks set at a lower position.
Depending on van size, loading techniques differ too. Push cages can be guided directly on board by hand, or the contents of a cage handballed from an appropriate point.
While the systems are scaled down from more traditional articulated lorry loading bay operations, the results of an effective approach can enable despatch teams to perform locally and at speed. A great example of a ‘van ready’ loading dock is operated by one of our Thorworld clients, Long Lane Distribution – an operation based in Scotland with a thriving customer base that specialises in the delivery of chilled and frozen food products.
Having had a concrete van dock designed and installed at their busy loading facility in 2016, the company came to Thorworld for the supply of high-quality hinged bridge plates, which when fixed to the edge of the dock, act like a drawbridge, enabling safe access from dock to vehicle.
Whilst a concrete dock creates a highly effective solution, a similar result can be achieved using the Thorworld modular dock system, a semi-permanent solution comprising steel ramps, platforms and various other accessories, set to the appropriate height for van fulfilment.
Capable of replicating the enabling elements of a concrete ramp installation, the modular dock system can be fitted with hinged bridge plates, removable dock plates or dock levellers which bridge the gap between dock and vehicle. Powered or manual options are available depending on the site requirements.
Together, the equipment provides an effective, achievable and importantly, safe way of keeping pace with the competition, and customer expectancy; not to mention challenging timescales.
Accommodating effective van fulfilment as industry expectations evolve is essential, and choosing the right solution to enable accurate, cost-effective same and next-day despatch can reward distribution operations with remunerating best practices and client-winning systems.”