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Arctic Cold Storage goes automatic

Even though ACS had never had an issue with its manual dock locks, the company decided to upgrade to realize safety improvements and insurance savings.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
October 02, 2012

Family-owned Arctic Cold Storage (ACS) of St. Cloud, Minn., has grown from humble beginnings into one the upper Midwest’s leading food distribution 3PLs. When ACS learned of potential fines in the event of an improperly secured trailer at the docks, the company installed automatic door locks. Even though ACS had never had an issue with its manual dock locks, the company decided to upgrade to realize safety improvements and insurance savings.

“We’ve always viewed employees as our biggest asset,” says Jay Condon, the company’s chief operating executive. “With 125 shipments a day, there are 125 chances for trailer security mistakes to happen.”

The company’s 160,000-square-foot warehouse handles between 100 to 125 truckloads per day, picking and prepping shipments of 8 to 9 million pounds of frozen food per week for big box retailers like Walmart and Target. For years, trucks backing into the docks were secured manually using wheel chocks and glad-hand locks, with a yard person notifying dock personnel when the trailer was secure.

After reviewing a range of options, Condon decided to install automatic dock locks on 19 of Arctic’s 24 docks. The system’s unique rotating hook design and vertical working range ensures that virtually any trailer can be secured to the building. It also incorporates a light communication system, which gives dock attendants and lift drivers a line-of-sight indication of lock status.

Since installing the new dock restraint/communications systems, Arctic has realized benefits beyond peace of mind about employee safety. Outdoor personnel now focus on yard security instead of trailer security, which frees up roughly half an employee’s time per day and saves the customer nearly $20,000 per year. In addition, insurance-related costs are estimated to go down by as much as 15% this year.


Read more Casebook 2013.

About the Author

Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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