Your Scalehouse Operation
who has ever run a scalehouse operation knows how difficult
it can be at times. You are dealing with many transactions,
producing customer billings, people physically signing in
and out, and traffic issues as well.
of the scalehouse sites which are running today have been
poorly designed, both in terms of traffic patterns and efficiency
of operation. Unfortunately, most of the new scale sites being
established today are not being designed properly either.
Companies are typically trying to work their operation from
inside a remote, larger building as opposed to a small, separate
structure located between the two scales.
site we observed, the scale operator works inside a building
which is located away from the two scales. Because of this
layout, the drivers actually have to cross one scale to go
in and pick up their tickets, then return to their truck by
crossing that same scale. This is a potentially dangerous
situation which brings up another point: keeping both the
drivers and your own staff safe and productive. If you lay
out your site incorrectly, you will sacrifice more than just
establishing a new scalehouse or redesigning an existing one,
you should design a facility for two scales, an inbound and
an outbound scale, even if you only start with one. You need
to think about traffic patterns and how quickly you will be
able to move trucks through the site, even if that isn't an
issue at the beginning.
there is the siting of the scale itself. The scale should
be set up so that one operator from within the scalehouse
can service either scale, inbound or outbound, as needed.
This means the scales should be off center, not even with
one another; when the driver approaches the inbound scale
and stops, the cab should be at the window of the scalehouse.
Likewise, the outbound scale should be set up the same way,
when the truck approaches and is totally on the scale, the
driver should be right at the window. That way one operator
can go from one side to the other with a sliding window and
handle the majority of the trucks.
will have trailers coming through the site, you must have
scales long enough to accommodate them. This may not be a
requirement in your state at the moment, but eventually it
probably will be. For instance, the state of New York used
to allow you to do a double weigh system where you could weigh
the front axles first and roll them off, then roll the back
axles on to weight them, and put the two weights together
as the total truck weight. The state of New York is now frowning
on this practice; they expect you to have the whole vehicle
on the scale at the same time. Therefore, you are going to
have to make changes, so you may as well make the right changes
now and rebuild your site properly.
are also operating a transfer station, you may wish to consider
installing a pit scale, where outbound trucks carrying material
would exit your facility. This will significantly reduce the
volume at your outbound scale, enabling you to move out both
kinds of outbound trucks more quickly.
as computer system requirements are concerned, the computer
and printer should be accessible to the operator, who can
then work very easily from one side of the scale to the other.
If you have an extremely busy operation, you should have a
system that is multi-user; one person can handle the inbound
and another the outbound when the volume demands it.
thing that you should consider is the ability to tag vehicles,
if they have RFID's on them. The sensor should be located
at the beginning of the scale so that when the truck initially
goes on the scale, the sensor will pick up the vehicle right
away; by the time the truck gets to the scalehouse itself
the operator will know who that truck is, where it came from
and, if they have a specific container on there, what size
that is, and so on.
important aspect of your computer system involves the stragetic
placement of video cameras throughout your facility. Having
a taped record of the composition of each load that crosses
your inbound scale is an excellent way of making sure your
customers are bringing in what they say they are bringing,
without your personnel having to conduct a physical inspection.
You can do most or all of these things in order to optimize
your scalehouse operation, but you must plan for them; you
can't accomplish them with haphazard planning.