Powerchock truck restraints keep food giant safe

As the world’s largest full-line distributor of food and related products, Texas-based SYSCO Corporation moves a whole lot of eatables in and out of its more than 320 food distribution facilities in 90 countries around the world. Here Alexander Simm, the Fleet & Facility Manager at SYSCO Pittsburgh talks to GMR Safety about the company’s successful use of the Powerchock vehicle restraint system.


GMR Safety: First of all, we know about SYSCO’s overall scale of operation and the fact your no less than 13,000 trucks are a familiar sight on the roads both here in the US and all over the world. But can you tell us a little about the SYSCO operation here is Pittsburgh?

Al: SYSCO Pittsburgh is a 352,000 sq. ft. facility that distributes fresh and frozen meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods and food products to the local community and throughout the state to a wide range of establishments and food service outlets such as restaurants, schools, hotels, hospitals etc.

GMR Safety: Obviously that involves a huge amount of truck movements?

Al: We operate 49 loading docks on a round-the-clock basis with 10+ trailers being turned round every day and up to 6 people working each dock during loading and off-loading.


Loading docks at SYSCO facility in Pittsburgh secured with POWERCHOCK vehicle restraints
Loading docks at SYSCO facility in Pittsburgh secured with POWERCHOCK vehicle restraints.

GMR Safety : How did these challenges impact your business?

Al: The problem this set-up brought was due to the amount of ongoing maintenance that was required to keep it working. When it didn’t, which was quite frequently, it meant that the affected dock had to be closed on safety grounds, a response that remains in place. As a result, every day a maintenance man had to go round and check every loading dock and make sure the lights were being correctly triggered. This continuous daily maintenance was clearly not a sustainable solution.

GMR Safety: SYSCO has now been using the Powerchock vehicle restraint since 2008 and gradually equipping up to 35 facilities across the country. What do you think are it major benefits?

Al: I’ve already mentioned the problems we had with metal chocks damaging concrete when under load. The Powerchock ground plate completely solves this issue. Another huge benefit of Powerchock relates to its sheer reliability. We have found it to be very reliable and robust in use, even when it takes the occasional beating it still continues to work and I don’t think I’ve ever had to buy more than a couple of replacement bulbs when it comes to spares. Basically the uncomplicated design means that there is not too much to go wrong, and the maintenance costs are therefore very little.

Loading dock equipped with the POWERCHOCK 5 vehicle restraint, with its ergonomic arm.
BUILT TO LAST | A loading dock equipped with the previous model of the POWERCHOCK 5, with its ergonomic arm.