Manless Warehouse Ideas

Topic 32902 | Page 1

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Mark H.'s Comment
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I’m not a trucker but need your experience to help me figure out if a manless warehouse is possible. We’re a small business and we sit in the office all day in case a truck shows up. Need ideas on how truckers can access the building, unload, leave paperwork. Figured someone has come across a company that has successfully implemented this. Thanks in advance.

BK's Comment
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What type of freight are you dealing with? Do you get trucks with 53’ trailers? Do you have loading docks? Who would operate the forklift? How would you prevent theft?

I personally have never been to a facility that could operate without at least one person there on duty.

Deleted Account's Comment
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When I did food service we had several restaurants that gave us a key and the alarm code. We were expected to unload our own freight though. Alot of this being an option comes down to what type of business are you and is it the same drivers all the time? With food service we sent the keys back to the terminal daily since sometimes other drivers would cover that stop. I've been to several small warehouses that have a phone number to call when you arrive. Just make sure if you do that you're not making someone wait more than maybe 10 minutes for you to show up. Unless unloading is part of their job duties don't expect it to happen. Food service and LTL it's understood that you'll have to unload. OTR driving on the other hand is not expected to in most cases.


A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.


Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

PackRat's Comment
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What is your business? You wait around in case a delivery shows up? From the little you typed, I take it you're not waiting around for something akin to a UPS brown delivery truck. Whom is doing the ordering for goods that may arrive on a trailer? If it is truly your business, that's not an example of optimum efficiency.

RealDiehl's Comment
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With Prime flower loads we had to do the unloading ourselves. A few of the warehouses/businesses I went to had a combination lock on the gate to their yard and a combo for the door into the building. The combo #s were sent to the driver along with the other load information. We let ourselves in and made sure to lock up when we left.

Davy A.'s Comment
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I've been to a couple automated centers. One place out in Central valley CA, the forklifts and package sorting was automated with very few employees. I asked the shipping recieving clerk if they ever had accidents, she said no but clearly was disdainful of it.

It was at that moment that I realized that mankind is its own worse enemy, automation and AI will be our downfall. Hawkins predicted it. Eventually we will automate ourselves out of existence.

Niagara water in KC is going for automated check in/out with no human help. There's a kiosk at entrance and exit. You enter your info, drop your empty, pick up your loaded and then punch in your info, print your bol and grab a seal.

They spend millions on it and it seldom works right, the spots are usually wrong and you frequently need a human to help you out. Couple other places will set up after hours drop and hooks, they leave the bol in the nose box and tell us where to drop our empty or loaded. Usually works out OK, but I know those places we'll, have been there during regular hours.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dan67's Comment
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Nestle Purina in Hartwell GA has an automated warehouse with a rail system and shelving installed. Pallets of cat food are placed on a robot and it moves it to whatever spot location in the building. They have been trying to get it to work for a year now and all it ever does is jam up and derail inside the automated building. A multi million dollar mess with a ton of space they cannot get to work.

Dean R.'s Comment
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I loaded several times at Niagara water in Pleasant Plains, WI. Drop & hooks were easy. Live loads could be difficult. You were loaded via robot. You had to be almost 100% square with the dock or you wouldn't get loaded. You had to watch the arrows once you bumped the dock. Two green arrows - you were square. A red arrow would tell you which direction you were off. So you had to pull-up and retry.

One particular icy and snowy day gave me fits. I couldn't get square to save my life. I had to move to another dock. If the nice yard dog was there you could just drop your trailer and he would line it up. Took two hours to load anyway. It was tight if snow was piled up in the yard and having tractors connected made it worse.

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