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Loading Dock Etiquette for Truckers

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Loading dock safety is no laughing matter. The combination of big trucks, heavy equipment, large, heavy and/or oversized loads and a whole lot of hustle and bustle make loading docks and delivery bays a potential hotbed of safety violations and serious injury.

Some of the most dangerous scenarios involve the intersection of semi-trailer trucks and wee humans – with or without their forklifts. While everyone is doing their best to work quickly, efficiently and safely – getting into a blind daily routine can be dangerous for all involved.

Loading Dock Etiquette Can Save Lives and Improve Business

Truck drivers who observe a little loading dock etiquette can go a long way towards maintaining overall safety and improving the business relationship between their company and the client.

Be Humble & Communicate. This is easier said than done, but the more humble you are – the less likely there are to be issues. If it’s your first time to make a pick-up or delivery, pay close attention to loading dock signage and lights. Then, recognize what you all have in common – a desire to get the job done, even if your methods vary.

While truckers make money according to the number of deliveries they make, shipping/receiving personnel typically make money by the amount of hours they work. Thus, while truckers have an incentive to work quickly, getting in and out of the loading bay as rapidly as possible – shipping/receiving clerks may work more slowly, in the hopes of extending their hours and getting overtime. Communicating this same-but-opposite motivation can help you strike the middle ground.

Avoid Getting Overly Angry. You are going to be angry, frustrated and discouraged – possibly on a daily basis – depending on the personality-types who greet you in the loading bay. This is a given, but it doesn’t mean that being reactive will help. Yelling, swearing or threatening physical harm will only escalate the situation. Instead, it’s best to develop the feathers of a duck, so others’ idiocy – – er, we mean – – unprofessionalism, can roll right off your back.

Get Pertinent Information Ahead of Time. Talk to the other drivers and/or managers at your freight company to find out as much as you can about various companies, facilities, and potential loading dock issues ahead of time. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to cultivate patience (or load a few more of your favorite Netflix…). If a company is known to drag its feet, or something about a particular loading dock hinders the process or negatively affects a driver’s experience, freight company personnel can pick up the phone and have a conversation with the shipping/receiving managers. Hopefully, a compromise of sorts can be made.

Honor the Loading Dock Rules. Some loading docks are much more detail-oriented than others. While one company may only employ the use of a basic red light/green light safety system, others may employ lights, signage, dock restraint systems, tire chocking – and the list goes on. The more labor intensive it is for you to do your job, the more frustrating it is. We get it. But, the reality is that these features were employed because someone, somewhere was gravely injured or possibly even killed. Remember the aforementioned rule to “Be Humble.” Railing against the establishment won’t do anything to make your job there any easier.

Stay Awake, Alert and Professionally Attentive. When truck drivers fall asleep, leave their truck or are generally MIA, it slows things down. Yes, there are long waits involved when you’re a delivery driver, but that’s just the name of the game. Pay attention, provide the required information/documentation, patiently wait your turn and follow the dock rules – and you’ll be a part of the solution, rather than the problem.

The goal is for everyone to get their job done as professionally, efficiently and safely as possible. Observing a little loading dock etiquette for truckers will help to make that happen.

A Brief History of the Garage

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While it’s hard to imagine life without an automobile, you only have to go back about two or three generations to find Americans who lived on a day-to-day basis without one. That’s because cars didn’t become a regular part of the American landscape until the end of the 1890s and, even then, they were largely a coveted leisure possession, owned predominantly by the wealthy classes.

By the beginning of the 20th century, cars found their way into the middle- and working classes as well – sometimes for leisure but often as a service vehicle. However, mechanical vehicles still shared roadways with horses, carts, buggies and wagons. And, that is where the history of the garage begins.

Out With the Horse, In With the Car

For households that owned horses, buggies and wagons – and that kept them on the premises – the barns and other out buildings were used as storage containers. Often, those who lived in towns paid monthly fees to livery stables. These stables took good care of the horses and your transportation-of-choice until you needed them. Thus, the concept of a “garage” was a foreign one.

Instead, as the buggies and wagons moved out, the car moved in. In many older homes – especially in the east coast and Midwest – Carriage Houses were the norm. These structures were built specifically for the family carriage and its accoutrement – including tack. When the carriage went by the wayside, this same building was used for the automobile and its accoutrement. These buildings were almost always detached from the building and, often, the opening faced a different direction from the home so the carriage or farm equipment were easy to access from the fields and barns.

The more cars established themselves as part of our culture’s fabric, the more demand there was for car-specific storage and this resulted in a wide range of vehicle storage options, and many variations in theme.

Before the Residential Garage Door: Attempts at Hiding the Obvious

In the automobile’s earlier incarnations, mechanical and maintenance equipment varied significantly from model to model. Thus, the building’s constructed to house the family vehicle were also built to accommodate its tools, parts and accessories. These buildings were typically outbuildings, located away from the main dwelling and ran the gamut from very ramshackle to impressive, depending on the household’s budget. Because of the toxicity associated with the chemicals and fuels required by autos, homes that had both horses and autos kept them housed in two separate buildings so as not to asphyxiate valuable livestock.

Then, in May of 1917, a famous UK publication, Country Life Magazine, printed an article by John Boyd. Among other things, Mr. Boyd proposed that given the fact that auto storage buildings had none of the sanitation issues that existed in stables, there was no reason why the building couldn’t be attached to the home. In fact, in an era where automobiles needed to be stored in a heated environment (energy efficiency wasn’t even a sparkle in the collective consciousness), and required water and other utilities, it actually made more sense to connect garage buildings to the main house. Boyd adeptly pointed out that, “Chauffeurs, as we all know, rank infinitely higher than grooms in the social classification of the household, and they may naturally expect quarters near the other servants.”

From that point forward, architects have come up with a myriad of ways to balance the proportions and profile of residential houses while still keeping the garage connected, or at least close to, to the main building. In many downtowns, detached garages were built at the back of the lot, opening up to an alley, which kept the garage from negatively affecting curb appeal. This tradition was one that continued into the post war era.

For those who already owned homes that were built “pre-garage”, pre-fabricated, portable options were popular because they could be added to the existing property and, especially attractive to renters, could be moved if the tenant had to move.

Ideas and methods for including garages into residential home design continued to evolve throughout the 1920 and 30s. After WWII, attached garages increasingly became the norm. As a result, homeowners had a more vested interest in the look, style and function of their garage door since it comprised such a large area of their home’s façade.

This is where R&S comes into the picture. We’ve provided stylish and functional residential garage doors since 1963. Take advantage of our expertise and contact us the next time you’re in the market for residential or commercial garage door repair, replacement or maintenance.

Most Likely Reasons for Garage Door Failure

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Ring. Ring. Ring.

R&S: “Thanks for calling R&S Garage Doors. How can we help you?”

CUSTOMER: “Gah! We need to schedule a service call because our garage door won’t open or close…”

R&S: “Before we schedule that service call, let’s see if I can help you over the phone…”

This is a replay of a conversation we have here at R&S just about every single day – and about twelve times on Monday mornings.

Your Garage Door Won’t Open Because…

While we admit we’re in the business to make money, we also admit we’re hardworking folks who appreciate good ol’ fashioned honesty and integrity. This is why we try never to waste our customers’ money on an unnecessary service call.

Some of the most common reasons a garage door won’t open are things that household occupants can take care of on their own. These include things like:

Misaligned Photo Eyes. In order to open and close, your automatic garage door depends on the communication that takes place between the control button and two photo eyes. These send an invisible beam between one eye and the next; if this beam is interrupted – the garage door won’t work. It’s a safety feature that prevents the door from closing on people, pets or precious objects. If the eyes become misaligned, the beam is automatically interrupted, and the door won’t work.

Find the photo eyes, which look like small lenses – typically located in a small black box at the bottom of each side of the garage door track. In most cases, a little gentle maneuvering of one will make the green light flash – showing you they are back in alignment.

Dirty Photo Eyes. Similarly, the photo eyes can become dirty or can become encrusted with mud, cobwebs or other debris. Keep in mind that these photo eyes are made of glass, just like the lens of a camera. Therefore, you want to use the same level of care you would when cleaning a camera lens. Remove larger, solid debris by hand and then gently dust the lens off with a very soft brush and/or cloth. Cleaning the garage on a seasonal basis will help to prevent this issue.

Change the Batteries. Whoopsie! Did you forget to change the battery in your remote garage door transmitter? To be on the safe side, we recommend changing them once a year. Put it onthe calendar along with replacing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Unfortunately, transmitter manufacturers are incredibly inconsistent so battery types vary. Open yours to see which type of battery it uses, and buy an extra set while you’re at it.

The Garage Door Seems Possessed. Sometimes you’ll find that your garage door opens and closes randomly, and seemingly of its own accord. The first thing you want to do is make sure the buttons on the main control box, as well as the remote transmitters, aren’t stuck. If they are free and clear, it may mean one of your neighbors’ garage doors is set at a similar frequency to your own. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to reset your garage door responders’ frequency. It only take a minute or two at the most.

The Door Won’t Go All the Way Down. If the photo eyes aren’t the problem, it may be that an object (even a teetering rake or broom handle can do it) or accumulated debris along the sides or bottom of the garage walls/floor are blocking the photo eye laser path. Try to keep a good 6-inches or more of clear space along the tops, sides and bottom level of the garage door tracks.

These are some of the most common reasons for garage door failures that you can take care of on your own. However, things like misaligned tracks, broken springs, or broken cables, are all better taken care of by a professional – especially if your automatic garage door is still under warranty.

Have a question or issue with your automatic garage door? Contact the team at R&S. We’ll walk you through it if we can and, if that doesn’t work, we’ll send out service professional ASAP. 925-671-7606.

Choosing the Best Access Control System for Your Business

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Your business is your livelihood, which is why it’s so important that you select the right access control system for its security and protection. However, today’s commercial access control systems offer more than just protection; they also offer a way for you to monitor who accesses the premises at any given time, they can ensure employees are arriving/leaving at their scheduled times, and can provide video surveillance that can be reviewed if any sort of issue or discrepancy arises.

Depending on your company’s size, needs and level(s) of protection required, access control systems can be:

  • Wired or wireless
  • Stand-alone or network systems
  • Free-exit systems or control exit systems
  • Keypad entry
  • Phone/buzz-in entry
  • Access card or card reader entry
  • Locked with various hardware options.

And the list continues.

Steps For Selecting the Best Access Control System For Your Business

That being said, you don’t want to “over buy” a system that offers over and above your current and future needs, since that is a waste of revenue.

Depending on your company’s size, needs and level(s) of protection required, access systems can be:

  • Wired or wireless
  • Stand-alone or network systems
  • Free-exit systems or control exit systems
  • Keypad entry
  • Phone/buzz-in entry
  • Access card or card reader entry
  • Locked with various hardware options.

And the list continues. While the following will provide a general overview, we recommend consulting with a professional access control system installer before making your final selection.

The following steps will help you determine which access control system is the best fit for your company and its employees:

  1. Review Security Needs. Conduct a security review to establish the level of security your company needs today, as well into the future – looking at potential security requirements over the next five or ten years. This review can be done in-house, but most experts recommend using a third-party source who will provide industry-savvy observations, ideas and recommendations that you might not have thought about on your own. Things to consider include:
    —The location of all entrances and exits.
    —The physical features of the building and property
    —Your employee payroll, and/or the number of people who enter the building or premises each day.
    —Potential vulnerabilities.
    —Hours of operation, including hours employees are onsite (or not permitted onsite).
    These are the considerations that determine which level of security and type of access control system will be required for optimal safety.
  2. Determine Which Type of Installation is Best. If your company is very small, and security requirements are minimal, you may be able to install an access control system on your own. However, most commercial business owners prefer to hire a professional access control system installer and alarm security company. Not only does this ensure the system is installed correctly, it will also allow things like gate and access system maintenance, system testing and security breach responses to be taken care of, without any liability on your end.
  3. Which Access System Makes the Most Sense? Do you want to keep track of which employees access which areas of your business? Are some areas of the business or job site “off limits?” Do you want your access system to serve as employee time card verification? Does it matter to you whether vendors have a general access code or need to be buzzed in? The answers to these and other questions will determine which type of access system make the most sense, ranging from gates that automatically open for anyone between normal business hours to those that require control access keypads where each individual user requires their own, trackable access code.

Other things to consider include whether or not you want to be able to control your gate and security system remotely, whether it will integrate with existing security/alarm systems, and whether you need a system with failsafe features that accommodate fire, floods, power outages or other unexpected disasters.

Schedule a FREE onsite consultation with R&S to learn more about your business’s control access system options.

Giving Your Garage That Finished Look

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The garage is so much more than a garage these days. No more cobwebs and dirt, no more grease and unkempt tools. With the emphasis on home design and the Do-it-Yourself movement, homeowners now enjoy garages that rival their interior living spaces. This is especially true for those who transform an area of the garage into a livable man cave or hobby shop.

5 Tips For Putting the Finishing Touches on Your Garage

Even if you don’t have a garage that functions as a secondary living room, it pays to have a nice, clean and finished garage space. The family will get more out of it, and the garage will show well should you decide to put your house on the market down the road.

  1. Clean & Organize It. The best way to clean and organize a garage is to haul everything out, clean the garage from top to bottom, and then slowly put back the items you need and use on a regular basis. Everything else can be sold, donated or junked. If you’re planning on continuing with additional garage renovations or additions – like cabinet installations, organizing racks and so on – schedule the big clean-out for the same weekend so you only have to do it once. Everything can be replaced when the project is complete.
  2. Install Cabinets, Racks and Rafter Hangers. So often, garages end up being a disorganized mish-mash of stuff. Installing garage- specific cabinetry, storage racks and hooks that can be used as rafter hangers will change all of that. Take the cabinets and racks all the way to the ceiling to maximize your garage’s storage capabilities. You’ll be amazed at how much usable square footage you’ll gain by getting everything you can off the floor and tucked away. You may even find you have room for that ping-pong table you’ve always dreamed of…
  3. Replace or Repaint the Garage Door. How old is your garage door? If it’s more than 15 or 20-years old, it may be worth it to replace it. A brand new garage door will add significant curb appeal, and today’s garage doors come in a wide range of designs, which can enhance – rather than detract – from your home’s existing architecture. Another benefit? You can select an insulated door that will keep your garage space more comfortable year-round. While this is of benefit for those who use their garage for hobbies or hangout, it will also help to protect interior comfort inside your home. If your garage door works fine, but could use a facelift, consider repainting it. This one simple act can have tremendous visual benefits. And, while you’re at it, replace the seals and weather-stripping, which will further improve interior comfort and will also diminish the amount of dirt, leaves and debris that make their way inside.
  4. Refinish the Floor. Bare concrete is the universal garage flooring finish. However, finished garage floors, using textured flooring surfaces that chemically bond with the concrete floor – look infinitely better. The result is a beautiful finished garage floor, that is chip-resistant, stain-resistant, easy to clean and comes in a range of colors and textures. Epoxy paint is another option and it can be done by yourself or a crew of family and friends.
  5. Add Versatile Lighting. If you’ll be using your garage for more than a storage areas for cars, toys and seasonal decorations – consider creating a more versatile lighting plan. You may find you need more than just the typical, single, fluorescent light bar. You can mount additional hanging fixtures in each corner of the garage to provide more unified illumination. Add task lighting over a workbench or hobby area and think about adding dimmer switches so you can eliminate harsh glares you use the garage for hobbies or games.

Once your garage is cleaned out, spruced up and attractively finished, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. A finished garage can add hundreds of square feet to your home that can be used year-round for work, crafts, games, hobbies and entertaining.

R&S Erection of Concord, CA

2424 Bates Ave. Concord , CA 94520
(925) 671-7606 Fax: (925) 671-7621
License # 667038

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925-671-7606

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