Material handling is the process of moving, protecting, storing, and controlling products and material throughout the manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, disposal, and consumption. Material handling involves helping the industry in forecasting, flow and process management, inventory management and control, allocation of resources, production planning, customer delivery, and after sales support and services. A company’s material handling processes are put in place for improved customer service, reduced inventory, shortened delivery time, and lowered overall costs of handling in manufacture, distribution, and transport of goods.
There is a wide variety of manual, semi-automated, and automated material handling technologies and equipment being used to help in the movement, storage, protection and control of products and materials such as conveyors, hoisting equipment, lift trucks, and overhead cranes. The design of a material handling system must ensure that all processes and equipment are unified with the application of different principles including planning, system, environment, automation, standardization, work, ergonomics, unit load, space utilization, and life cycle cost. There should be a collaborative approach to the management, information systems, engineering, operations, finance, suppliers, consultants, and end-users when planning, defining the needs and objectives of the proposed material handling system. In order to perform different tasks in different operating condition, there should be a standardization of all material handling equipment, methods, software, and controls. Simplification of material handling processes should be carried out to reduce, combine, shorten, or eliminate unnecessary movement that impedes productivity. Safety must be emphasized when designing material handling equipment and methods, supporting the abilities of workers, and reducing repetitive and strenuous manual labor. It is important to keep your work areas organized and free of clutter, maximizing storage density without accessibility and flexibility being compromised.
Storage and material movement should be well-coordinated from receiving, inspection, production, packaging, storage, assembly, utilization, and order selection. It is also essential to consider environmental impacts and energy usage. There should be a deployment of automated material handling technologies for the improvement of operational efficiency, responsiveness, consistency, and predictability. The life cycle costs of a material handling system need consideration not just the capital investment or installation but also the programming, training, maintenance and repair, system testing, operation, disposal, and reuse value. Material handling technologies and equipment are utilized in various industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail, materials processing, consumer goods, e-commerce, food and beverage, construction, hardware, warehousing, and distribution, and automotive. For more information about material handling equipment and processes, feel free to check our website or homepage now!