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Dock doors help Papa John's ensure quality: new impactable doors for pizza company resist collisions from lift trucks as well as protect against energy loss.


Pizza company Papa John's formula for success has been to focus on one thing--make the best pizza in the market--and outdo anyone else. But the dock doors at the Grand Prairie, Texas, facility were getting in the way. Often needing repairs and maintenance, the doors were running up unacceptable costs.

With a brisk operation pace over two shifts, accidents between the dock doors and lift trucks were fairly common, according to facilities manager Larry Parker, who had worked at the Grand Prairie center for 11 years. The doors suffered damage ranging from slight to devastating.

All of the pizza chain's ingredients are processed through the Quality Centers such as this 75,000-square-foot Grand Prairie facility, which serves Papa John's restaurants within a roughly 400-mile range and at more than 2,800 locations.

Parker elected to replace all eight dock doors with heavy-duty impactable dock doors (TKO Dock Doors, 877-408-6788, on the shipping and receiving docks. Designed with 4-inch thick insulation, the new doors' panel-mounted weather seal is protected from tearing to create a dependable full-perimeter seal to prevent energy loss and protect against the invasion of insects and rodents.

The door panels ride on heavy-duty steel plungers within a grooved track. When a forklift collides with the door, the impact causes the plungers to retract, pushing the door out of the track without causing damage to it.

A quick yank on the panel resets the plungers. "The crew," says Parker, "quickly learns to do this themselves with no tools necessary. Downtime is practically zero."

The first line of defense against energy loss on the door is its rugged track that runs the full height of the doorway. This track is a solid, heavy-duty column of plastic that effortlessly deflects forklift impact without sustaining damage.

Traditional sheet metal tracks on standard doors easily crimple and deform, making them hard to open. The strong track on the new doors enables them to glide easily up and down with no strain on the backs of the dock crew.

"After the first two or three hits we had the doors paid for when working in labor, parts, and downtime," Parker says. "We used to see the door repair company a lot. Now we never see them at all."

By Noel P. Bodenburg, Executive Managing Editor

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Title Annotation:MINI CASE HISTORY
Author:Bodenburg, Noel P.
Publication:Material Handling Product News
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Feb 1, 2011
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