Material handling refers to the movement, storage, protection, and control of materials and products on the entire manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, consumption, and disposal. 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. The material handling system of a company is crucial to the improvement of customer service, reducing inventory, shortening delivery time, and lowering overall handling costs in the manufacture, distribution, and transport of products.
The different material handling equipment and technologies include automated storage and retrieval systems, automatic guided vehicles, automatic identification and data collection, casters and wheels, controls, conveyors, dock equipment, ergonomics, hoisting equipment, industrial robots, integrated material handling systems, item order fulfillment systems, lift trucks, monorails and workstations cranes, overhead cranes, packaging, protective guarding, racks, software, sortation, and storage. 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. It is best to have a simplified material handling process by combining, reducing, eliminating, or shortening unnecessary movements that can restrict productivity such as using gravity to aid movement. Safety must be emphasized when designing material handling equipment and methods, supporting the abilities of workers, and reducing repetitive and strenuous manual labor. Space utilization involves freeing your work areas from clutter and organizing it to maximize storage density without compromising flexibility and accessibility.
There should be a well-coordinated material movement and storage from the receiving, inspection, production, storage, assembly, packaging, utilization, and order selection to transportation, shipping, and returns handling. It is important to consider the environmental impacts and energy use when designing a material handling system, with recycling processes implemented as much as possible, and safe handling of hazardous materials. Automated material handling technologies must be deployed as needed to improve efficiency of operations, consistency, responsiveness, and predictability. When it comes to the life cycle cost, there should be considerations in the capital investment, setup, installation, system testing, maintenance and repair, training, programming, operation, reuse value, and disposal. The different industries using material handling equipment and technologies include consumer goods, e-commerce, food and beverage, construction, hardware, manufacturing, materials processing, warehousing and distribution, pharmaceutical, retail, and automotive. Allow us to help you to learn more about materials handling systems and processes by checking our related articles on our homepage or website now.