Supermarket speeds delivery of fresh dairy

Hydraulic lift allows grocery warehouse to put a loading dock where it’s needed.

By ·

Market Basket, a New England-based supermarket chain, found itself tight on dock space at a new store in Wilmington, Mass. By installing a versatile hydraulic dock lift, the facility was able to resolve space constraint issues while accommodating a variety of vehicle sizes for loading and unloading.
Although the location was ideal for the new store because it was part of an existing shopping plaza, the property footprint was not optimal for shipping and receiving. The store was able to accommodate a loading dock for both dry grocery and frozen foods on its northern end, but not a dairy dock at the southern section.

“The layout meant that we couldn’t dig down to create a driveway or pit for a standard loading dock,” says Normand Martin, Market Basket’s director of facilities and planning.

Martin and his team selected a lift (Kelley, with which he had experience at another facility in Andover, Mass. A typical dairy dock sees almost every size and style of truck imaginable, from major dairy trailers to LTL deliveries by smaller trucks delivering gourmet cheese and other specialty products. Some of the trucks are 48 inches off grade, while others are 24 inches off grade. They even see some trucks that require the driver to off load product one case at a time by hand. The new 7- by 8-foot platform on the new pit-mounted, 6,000-pound capacity hydraulic dock lift accommodates all the options.

The driver has full control over the dock lift motion with the pre-wired, hand-held push-button controller. The lift safely and smoothly lowers the platform to the ground in less than a minute without jostling the load. The dairy cases are then transported on dollies designed specifically for milk crates the short distance from the lift’s platform into the dairy coolers. This efficient operation means the driver can quickly get the dairy load off the truck, load on empty containers and move so the next truck can access the lift for unloading.

About the Author

Josh Bond, Contributing 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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