Loading and unloading equipment manufacturer Thorworld Industries is advising SMEs on the importance of properly maintaining and servicing their loading bay equipment, in order to ensure that they can capitalise on growth opportunities during the current economic upturn.
Predictions of improvements have been underlined by a recent in-depth survey released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of DHL Express. This indicates that by 2019, 50% of SMEs should be experiencing increased international trade. Thorworld believes that, whether growth comes from overseas or within the UK, having the appropriate infrastructure in place will prove essential to success.
John Meale, managing director of Thorworld Industries, says: "Increasingly, we’re beginning to see promising flickers of economic growth, with quantified reports suggesting evidence of improvement, however if SMEs are to benefit from such opportunities, they need to be appropriately prepared.
"At a time like this, when the economy is only starting to show signs of turning, many companies still have to be mindful of their business expenditure and act with reservation, so therefore cannot necessarily justify bold investments in new loading and unloading equipment until new orders have been achieved,” John Meale points out. "At the same time, a reliance on existing machinery – especially after an increase in business has been secured – means that reliable performance is essential.
"In order to ensure this, a committed and meticulous maintenance programme is vital to the long-term safety and effectiveness of loading bay equipment. After all, in a post-recession business environment, SMEs will be well-placed to grow business…however if their loading bay equipment can’t perform, that simply won’t happen.”
In maintaining the usability of equipment including yardramps, dock levellers, vehicle restraints, lifting tables and loading doors inspection and maintenance is not only crucial, but a legal requirement. This proactive process needs to be performed by trained professionals to not only meet with legislative obligation, but to also identify future problems before they take hold, and consequently affect operations.
The Thorworld service and installation teams are all qualified in their fields and have all the appropriate safety accreditations. Engineers are trained to fully understand the exact models they work with and are prepared with most spare parts taken to site.
And, as John Meale goes on to say, preparing machinery for increased business activity isn’t the only argument for ensuring proper maintenance of equipment, as changes to ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems will soon affect all firms with supply chain responsibilities.
"We’ve been made aware of forthcoming changes to ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems, and are currently working towards advising customers of its implications and how they could be affected.
"The proposed redrafted ISO Standard is predicted to make risk-based thinking a much more explicit consideration, and enforce practical continuity should business practice be affected by, for example, fire, accident or flood.”
John goes on to say how prevalent this will be to companies using loading bay equipment, because in the event of an equipment failure, it will become the managerial responsibility to seek an alternative solution at speed.
"The advantage of a maintenance programme with Thorworld is that we’re in a position to supply temporary replacement equipment while permanent equipment is repaired or rectified. Furthermore, as prevention is always an improvement to cure, the maintenance programme put in place will condition equipment against damage in the first instance.
"In essence, adopting a service contract to not only maintain Thorworld loading bay equipment, but also ensure its legal compliance with regard to all the relevant regulations, is an essential consideration for any logistical SME looking to perform in the next economic era.”