BPO Bulletin

Loading Dock Management Best Practices: How Your Facility Can Achieve Secure, Efficient Vehicle Access and Vetting

by Ken Neal
March 24, 2023

Today, managing loading docks is a major challenge for owners of large buildings in major metropolitan areas. Moving trucks in and out safely and efficiently, vetting the vehicles, drivers and helpers, managing access for third-party vendors and contractors, and tracking dock availability and usage to the right tenant in a multi-tenant commercial building has never been more complex.

“As a result, managing loading docks has evolved from a simple back-office service to a complicated series of closely-timed activities requiring sophisticated orchestration, technology, and automation,” says Mitchell Ackerman, National Accounts Executive for Canon Business Process Services. “These elements need to be held together with a line of communication connecting client/building management to vendor/supplier contacts,” he adds. In short, modern loading docks demand a level of data management that simply wasn’t necessary a decade ago.

“This evolution makes it particularly difficult for buildings with limited dock space to effectively schedule and manage daily throughput,” notes Jeffrey Friedman, CEO, Building Intelligence Inc., a provider of solutions including its cloud-based SV3® software for managing the access and identities of visitors, vehicles and vendors. “For all of these reasons,” Mr. Friedman points out, “managing loading docks safely, securely and efficiently while delivering a high level of customer service requires detailed planning, advanced technology, data analysis, constant communication between highly trained employees, and a strict focus on safety.”

Efficient and Secure Loading Dock Management with Canon

New technologies have emerged to meet the demands of today’s loading docks, but that puts the pressure on loading dock personnel to expand their skillsets. Dock managers today must not only coordinate fast dock turn times to handle increased volumes. They also have to manage an influx of data while monitoring the accuracy of this data. This includes advanced scheduling, recurring scheduling, walk-in scheduling, managing multiple entry reservations, certificate of insurance monitoring, capacity planning, elevator integration, cycle time monitoring, bay usage, dock floor usage, and tenant utilization and chargeback data. Everyone involved with a loading dock must be trained to accurately enter information into new systems and perform new processes to ensure data integrity. This scenario is a far cry from the largely manual, security-focused loading dock tasks of the past.

Loading dock managers now must be information managers. This includes being capable of generating complex reports and analyzing data in order to determine how to improve loading dock efficiency and maximize capacity while maintaining contractual service levels. They must also be able to collect and use data to quickly address safety risks — always a priority for anyone involved in loading dock management. With hundreds of individual deliveries coming through a loading dock each week, managers need to verify the credentials and identity of every driver, helper and vehicle that enters the area to ensure the safety of the property, building employees, tenants, and the loading dock team.

To meet these challenges, building owners need both modern technology and people who are trained to operate these systems consistently. They need a partner with dock management experts who provide ongoing training and support so the dock management team can deliver safety, efficiency, and a Class A building customer service experience for tenants.

A closer look: How a modern loading dock management solution works

The Canon Loading Dock Management Solution comprises dedicated, experienced personnel applying innovative solutions to manage the access and identities of visitors, vehicles and vendors. The Canon team utilizes award-winning, cloud-based software that creates an efficient and streamlined process at all entry points. This enables facilities to establish secure operations from the lobby to the loading dock.

Our system also tracks coverage and off-hour usage, which enables clients to recover costs by charging for services. With all of these capabilities integrated into a single, centrally managed solution, building operators have everything they need to run a modern loading dock.

One Canon client with a large New York City campus is a case in point. This client has six loading docks and a vehicle screening center where access is granted or denied. The docks receive between 1,500 and 2,000 individual deliveries per week. Canon and its technology partners manage this entire operation with one core technology that interacts with all of our client’s docks — and does it with centralized management that allows for proper planning and distribution of deliveries to all six docks. In a large, complex campus like this, a single vendor may visit three docks on a particular delivery. We work with the different loading docks to coordinate services over the entire campus, making the experience seamless for the vendor.

This attention to delivering an exceptional experience extends across our solution from vendor to employee and from to customer to tenant. Our trained staff are core to our solution, and they support clients in delivering a high-quality customer experience to tenants and guests. An excellent customer experience requires skilled communication, an in-depth understanding of technology, and an ability to deliver a Class A building customer experience. These qualities are not typically found in loading dock security companies. Our solution offers training that enables loading dock staff to understand what a great customer experience looks and feels like, and what their role is in delivering that experience.

And finally, when it comes to safety, the Canon Loading Dock Management Solution has a key differentiator: We leverage our highly trained personnel to identify and close any safety gaps for our customers and employees. With data at their fingertips and the right people in place to make the most of it, building owners can improve their safety profile and sleep better at night.

Dock management designed for today — and for the future

Managing complex loading docks in major cities requires the right people, processes and technology. The Canon Loading Dock Management Solution is unique in its ability to provide all three, so building owners can better choreograph the complex operations of their loading docks today and prepare for new challenges yet to come.

To learn more about Canon’s building management support services, including loading dock solutions, read this case study.

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