If you're in the process of setting up a new distribution business, you'll want to design a warehouse facility that can adequately accommodate your initial plans and allow for significant growth. While you will want to pay a lot of attention to the internal configuration to ensure that you can store and move all your goods properly, you also want to pay close attention to the outside and in particular, the apron. In other words, you need to carefully design and build your loading dock and manoeuvrability area as these will be crucial in your logistical plan. What do you need to consider?
To begin with, you need to decide how many individual bays you require and this will be determined by not just the size of your warehouse, but the number of loads you will expect on the busiest day. You will then be able to include loading doors that are appropriate to the size of each expected trailer and remember to allow sufficient room in between each so that all the vehicles can fit comfortably.
There are a number of different styles associated with loading bays like this, but the most popular tends to be flush to the exterior of the building. This means that the trailer can be backed up close to the external wall, but you will need to place a protective bumper on the periphery to make sure that you avoid any unwanted damage to the wall of the building. Still, you should talk this through carefully with your designers, as a more open style may be more appropriate on the one hand, or an enclosed facility perfect on the other.
You will need to ensure that you give your drivers sufficient room to manoeuvre up to each bay. Consequently, your apron will need to be carefully designed, with plenty of room for each driver to plan their approach without concern for any impediments. In an ideal world the apron will be completely flat and on level ground, but if not, pay extra attention to how you design it for efficient, everyday operation.
Concrete is typically the material of choice for building loading bays and apron facilities as it is very hard wearing and drains well. Talk with your commercial concreters so that you can begin to calculate how much of this material you will need and plan carefully for its installation.