Canadian Tire DC Gets Extra Mileage From Its Docks
(Canadian Tire Corporation -
Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec) - Don’t be fooled by the name.
More than just tires roll out of the 475 Canadian Tire stores run by associate dealers across Canada. Along with automotive supplies, customers will find home, sports and leisure products. For over 80 years Canadian Tire has continued to grow and a testimony to this vitality is their recently opened distribution center in Coteau-du-Lac, just west of Montreal, Quebec. The product makes its way to market through dock doorways serviced by Serco dock equipment.
This huge 1.5 million sq. ft. facility is currently the largest warehouse in Quebec and will supply Canada’s central and eastern regions. The over $200 million project is set up to move 55 million cubic feet of product annually. At the Coteau-du-Lac location this volume of merchandise pours in and out of the facility through over 200 loading dock positions.
To ensure the docks are safe, Canadian Tire has installed the full complement of Serco® dock equipment at each location, with each one set up with the Serco HLQ series hydraulic dock leveller, the Serco® Safety-Loc® SLP Restraint and Serco foam Dock Seal, all tied together with a Serco Master Control Panel. With the considerable investment in this operation, Canadian Tire wants to make sure that the dock equipment does not bottle up the action.
A large portion of inventory goes through what Canadian Tire calls Flow Through as products move from trailers directly to shipping. The site has a container handling area for stacking over 1,000 shipping containers at a time on an area of 20 acres. The challenge comes with the weight of the containers. So Canadian Tire went with a base of roller compacted concrete, which is used on airfield landing strips, to provide a surface strong enough to support the containers. When the facility needs to access the contents, the containers are brought up to the receiving doors using a chassis.
To enable all of these systems to function at maximum efficiency and speed, Canadian Tire has to ensure that inventory goes into the facility and eventually out to stores on schedule. In the operation of this system, product flow has to be coordinated so that all the product arrives to the correct dock on time. The key is avoiding any disruption at the dock. In many facilities, especially compared to the scope of the other investments, the dock can become an afterthought. But Canadian Tire knew that this could be a pinch point if not properly planned.
One crucial aspect of trailer access is making sure it is securely in place to prevent physical risk to their forklift and walkie operators. If a trailer pulls away from the dock employees could suffer serious injury or a fatality. The hydraulically actuated SLP vehicle restraint is installed in the pit under the leveler and retracts into the dock wall. For Canadian Tire this means no interference with the snow plowing that takes place regularly in winter.
With 40,000 lbs of restraining force, the SLP effectively controls vehicle movement by grabbing and holding the rear impact guard throughout the loading/unloading process and has the power to pull the trailer up against the dock wall.
Along with providing safety the SLP helps reduce energy loss. For this immense facility enclosed in 38 foot high interior walls, heating costs are considerable. Trailer presence sensors turn off lights when docks are not occupied and conveyors are set up to go into a dormant mode when there is no activity during a period of time.
By securing the trailer tight against the dock the dock seal's effectiveness is truly maximized, preventing loss of energy during loading/unloading. Dock seals are typically the flimsiest component on the dock. Serco backs theirs up using 4" 40 oz. vinyl wear pleats to withstand thousands of parking cycles to keep energy inside the building.
The Serco hydraulic leveller is designed for high volume docks, and provides minimum lip crown for a level approach in and out of the trailer. The design prevents door and ceiling interference in high-cube loading conditions.
Additionally, Serco’s unique SafeTFrame® design ensures proper application and structural support for the life of the unit by eliminating the need for installers to crawl inside the pit and place steel shim supports under the dock leveller’s frame to level it with the warehouse floor. With over 200 dock positions this represented a significant time and cost savings for the installation.
SafeTFrame adds structural strength to the rear of the dock leveller – the area most often subjected to impact as forklifts transition from the warehouse floor to the deck of the dock leveller. The four vertical uprights of the SafeTFrame design allow the dock leveller to be even with the warehouse floor – providing full lateral support, a level interface with the warehouse floor and eliminating the need to have steel shim positioned and welded during installation.
Because SafeTFrame eliminates the need for shimming it reduces the installation time of each dock leveller by slightly over 20 minutes. This time-savings also equates to less time running internal combustion engines on welders and less cumulative emissions from those welders and welding rods.
Once a truck is parked at the dock, the Master Control Panel allows the operator to actuate the restraint, but not the dock leveller until the restraint is fully engaged. When the truck is ready to leave, the restraint cannot release the truck unless the leveller is in the stored position and the dock door is closed. With the Master Control Panel managing all of this equipment, Canadian Tire saved considerable installation time and labour costs by reducing the number of primary power runs and eliminating multiple power requirements and wire conduits at each of their more than 200 docks. In addition, the design opens up wall space.
For all operations the exterior communication lights . Quebec weather can be foggy and snowy, and the LED lights give shunt truck drivers a clear view of dock status when pulling up or driving away.