Material handling is a crucial part of manufacturing. In fact, it is a major aspect of organizations in industries such as 3PL (Third Party Logistics), warehousing and assembly lines of automobiles. Needless to say, it can significantly impact the efficiency of operation and manufacturing. It is, therefore important to improve material handling services to improve productivity and efficiency. For that to happen, there are certain best practices for material handling that need to be adopted in a facility. Let’s find out what they are.
Automation is an important catalyst for process improvement that drives efficiency in the warehouse environment. Automation is the future of manufacturing. The smart factory concept embraces automation to employ its benefits for improving productivity and profitability. Automate as many processes as possible in the facility in order to improve efficiency, responsiveness, and consistency. Material handling automation includes equipment such as conveyor systems, AGV Technology (Automated Guided Vehicles) and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
Direct put-away is also a good practice for material handling processes. Products should be put away the same day that they are received in order to reduce space issues, decrease transaction errors, and minimize the risk for damage. They are transported directly from receiving to their destination, bypassing staging. This process improves order-fill rates. Hence, it’s important to invest resources for this task so that the product will be in the pick rack to be picked and shipped on time.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID is being used by a lot of tech-savvy organizations for better and quicker identification of products from almost any position. This technology uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. A lot of information is saved on each of these tags, which can also be changed as products move throughout the warehouse facility. RFIDs and sensors are very useful in tracking the products in real-time throughout the facility. This improved material handling efficiency significantly.
It is very important to keep a warehouse in a clean, organized, and neat condition in order to have an efficient material handling process. A disorganized warehouse, on the other hand, might cause product damage, safety issues, and waste of time in searching for materials. This increases the time it takes to put products away and ultimately takes a toll on the productivity. The space of the warehouse can be used effectively if it is organized, de-cluttered and clean.
Make a plan with your organizational team including the engineers, suppliers, consultants and management. The plan should outline the material handling system keeping in mind the goals of the organization. It should include the process design, layout, and methods along with current restraints and future requirements.
Consider ergonomics while designing your material handling system. To improve the ergonomics, you can eliminate repetitive motion, reduce manual labor and adhere to safety standards. Consider worker capabilities, limitations, and safety and eliminate strenuous work.
So, these are the best practices for effective material handling services. By planning and organizing each step of the process, you can achieve higher productivity and efficiency.