From staff shortages to escalating stakeholder demands, logistics businesses must innovate to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic. And yet, some of the same issues remain prevalent throughout the industry:

  • Lorry drivers are still compelled to wait for hours at loading bays while warehouse operatives manually load and unload.
  • Accidents are routine, with 13 fatalities and 26,000 non-fatal injuries happening each year within the UK transportation and storage industry.
  • Heavy-duty manually operated machinery and long wait times for lorry drivers are resulting in high power consumption and transportation emissions, undermining companies’ important sustainability goals.

The working experience has to improve. And that can only be achieved by using automation to minimise delays and danger.

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Below are three ways automated loading systems can help logistics companies future-proof their businesses against continuing staff shortages by making the warehouse a better workplace for employees. The bonus is that better utilisation of resources by automating loading processes will also improve efficiency and productivity – meeting increased demands and reducing the carbon footprint.

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1. eradicate HGV driver delays and maximise drive time

Improving the day-to-day effectiveness of lorry drivers must be a priority for any logistics business. According to recent research by Joloda Hydraroll, around 90% of UK logistics companies have been affected by the HGV driver crisis. Clearly, there is no justification for leaving this scarce resource twiddling its thumbs for hours outside depots and warehouses waiting for unloading or loading slots.

Yet, for the vast majority of drivers, this is a routine experience. In addition to the 35 and 45 minutes it takes on average to load or unload a trailer, drivers often have to wait significantly longer for their turn at the loading bay.

Automated loading systems, on the other hand, are faster and more efficient – achieving in two or three minutes what typically takes over 30 minutes manually. For lorry drivers, this equates to a reduction in driver wait time by 85%. More time on the road reduces the uncertainty and stress associated with meeting delivery deadlines within restricted hours, resulting in a much improved day-to-day experience.

2. maximise resources to reduce hazards during the loading and unloading process

Manually unloading and loading lorries is exceptionally physically demanding, and many rely on winches and ropes to move heavy and dangerous items on and off trucks. There is also a huge reliance on stackers and forklift trucks, which can create other safety risks, such as collisions with machinery or people – causing potential accidents.

1,300 UK employees are injured each year from forklift accidents that have resulted in a trip to the hospital. That's five UK workers each day suffering from debilitating and life-changing injuries.

Automating the loading and unloading process allows for a safer working environment by significantly reducing the number of forklifts on-site. It also requires fewer people on the warehouse floor, reducing any crowding around the loading bay.  Staff can be reallocated to other areas of the business instead – such as picking and packing – where the job is more varied and therefore more enjoyable, while also adding business value.

3. reduce the carbon footprint and improve environmental performance

Amidst rising environmental expectations from staff and stakeholders, improving the efficiency of loading and unloading will not only reduce costs but also support a company’s sustainability goals. With trusted time slots for drivers and confidence in the speed of loading and unloading turnaround, businesses can embrace new models. They can collaborate with competitors to share journeys, reduce the number of trucks on the road and minimise empty miles.

Achieving this incremental improvement in logistics efficiency, on top of the reduction in forklifts – both in and out of use – as well as cutting the emissions generated by drivers waiting in their trucks, will provide a significant boost to any company’s environmental performance.

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conclusion

automating the loading process is a vital step

Automating the loading process is a vital step in enabling the next stage of automation. It delivers a rapid ROI through improved efficiency and reduced costs. It also future proves the business, especially against staff shortages and rising environmental expectations. Ultimately, loading automation makes the warehouse a better place to work for employees – and that is priceless.

For further information on our Automated Loading Systems.


Automated Loading Systems
The Benefits Of Sustainable Logistics Thumbnail The Benefits Of Sustainable Logistics Thumbnail

the benefits of sustainable logistics

It's indisputable that sustainability has become an important aspect for businesses. Consumers want to buy from companies that operate in an eco-friendly way.

The real challenge is in the logistics industry where the use of transport to manoeuvre goods from one destination to another is heavily dependent on the use of vehicles. Businesses who can rise to it (or at least make a clear, concerted effort to), however, can enjoy some considerable benefits.

We've looked into The Benefits of Sustainable Logistics for companies that employ sustainable logistics practices as part of their supply chain management.


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