Material handling plays an important role in the supply chain. It includes inventory management and control of product and material transportation, storage, and protection throughout the manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and disposal processes. It encompasses a wide range of equipment and storage systems, such as single-level and multi-level storage, as well as conveyor belt systems.
When properly designed, material handling ensures that goods are carried securely throughout facility areas, streamlines work activities and organises space, and prevents accidents in regions where heavy materials or loads must be transported.
However, material handling, is not just about the goods— it’s also about logistics, such as:
- Structural engineering and installation
- Storage and transport systems
- Warehouse design
- Material Handling in Four Dimensions
Four dimensions of material handling
The four dimensions of material handling are movement, time, quantity, and space. Material handling can improve efficiency by reducing the time it takes to transfer things from receiving to shipping, the length of time they stay in storage, the amount of product that fits into an assigned space, and the actual amount of available space.
A variety of manual, automated, and semi-automated equipment is used in this logistics operation. Forklifts, trailers, pallets, hand trucks, tugger trains, and other pieces of equipment might be used. In addition, if you’re in the manufacturing industry, it’s more practical to consider materials handling logistics sooner rather than later when beginning, growing, or relocating your company.
Building or upgrading plants and facilities, launching new goods, improving workstations, and simplifying or lowering forklift traffic are all initiatives in which material handling is crucial. The correct material handling system can accommodate a wide range of requirements—and having one that’s tailored to your exact, individual requirements is even better. The right material handling system may accommodate a wide range of requirements, and having one that is tailored to your exact, individual requirements can:
- Save money, time, and space
- Improve safety and capacity
- Reduce downtime and the number of damaged or lost materials
- Improve ergonomics, flexibility, and work conditions.
Material Handling’s Importance
Material handling systems and processes that are well-designed will reduce inventory, shorten delivery times, increase customer service, and cut manufacturing, distribution, and transportation costs. Material handling systems are used in a variety of industries besides warehousing and storage, including:
- Consumer goods
- Food and beverage
- Medical facilities
Manufacturing is the largest single field of application across all industries that rely on material handling. Plant and equipment layouts, routing, packaging, and storage are all issues that material handling may help with. The construction industry necessitates correct receiving, sorting, storage, and movement—and the area today includes specific methods and equipment that assist civil engineers in project planning.