Loading bays for successful companies represent the input and output portal of the business, dealing with high volumes of goods and vehicles, while being a hot spot for employees engaged in loading and unloading. The two paramount concerns with regards to successful operation, specification and installation of loading bays are efficiency and safety; ensuring profitable inflow and outflow while protecting workers who operate in an extremely busy area of a facility.

Louise Nurse, sara LBS Sales Manager, explains why employing experts in all facets of loading bays promotes the achievement of this happy medium by enabling a complete service – offering peace of mind for its end users.
Ensuring the efficiency of goods passing through a business is the primary monetary concern when specifying a loading bay system. Improper placement of the bay, incorrect specification for the application or unreliable operation can greatly increase costs. The loading and unloading process needs to achieve a constant integrated flow to minimise time between unloading and loading to maximise profitability.
Offering support from the very start of specification is vital. Expert engineers and designers should be called upon to provide the very best advice to specify the correct system for the application. Engineers should liaise with customers, architects and contractors on-site to ensure a perfect loading bay fit. If a standard product is unsuitable for the application, suitable expertise enables the development of custom solutions, perfectly matched to integrate seamlessly with a facility. Furthermore, such experts can ensure installations adhere to all necessary guidelines and certifications whether customised or standard.

Once specified, loading bays should be installed by qualified engineers like those employed by sara LBS; eliminating the need for third party contractors that can increase the length of an installation project. This process also guarantees that every loading bay is installed to exacting standards.
Loading bays, due to their integral nature, are required to be operational throughout the working cycle, which pushes the issue of reliability to the fore. Not only should loading bays be of the highest quality, but a comprehensive support of a nationwide fleet of maintenance engineers is needed to keep loading bays operational, reducing downtime significantly in the event of a failure or accident.
Safety around a loading area is paramount to avoid injuries to personnel, protect the quality of goods and, in some cases, to ensure the facility is not compromised. Increasing loading and unloading efficiency can place pressure on warehouse personnel. However with a total package, such as that provided by a loading bay expert like sara LBS, effective advice and options are available to reduce risk and relieve this pressure.
Reversing lorries represent a sizeable hazard to personnel and loading bay areas. Poor visibility for a driver when reversing, especially at close quarters, can result in incidents. For example a lorry impacting with a loading bay could cause a number of issues for the facility. Employees near the loading bay could be injured by the impact, security of the facility may be compromised, animals or rubbish could enter the facility; at the very least energy efficiency could drastically decrease if the warehouse is chilled or heated.
Furthermore, loading equipment that is not well maintained or suited for a required application can pose a huge risk to workers and goods simultaneously. Over loading of a scissor lift or incorrect fitting of a bay can cause delays during operation or outright equipment failure, damaging profit margins while the bay is down. Such poor systems also increase the number of sharp edges and trip hazards, increasing the risk of injury to employees.

To help avoid such situations, offering products with advice on protocol and training for on-site staff to help ensure correct safety procedure makes the difference. Quality safety products such as interlocks, light curtains and pressure pads should also be considered where required. Advice on the control of vehicle movements, safety protocol for loading and unloading plus expert specification all contribute to enabling a loading bay system to operate with minimal problems and risk.
A loading bay should be economic in its operation and stringent in its safety levels throughout its lifetime. The best way to ensure this balance is to work with a company such as sara LBS, combining quality products, expertise and advice throughout specification, installation and operation. With the support infrastructure of engineers who can impart key knowledge of the products and their safe operation, end users can be sure in the knowledge their loading solutions will meet the safe efficiency levels a business demands.