According to the International Material Management Society, “Material handling is an art and science involving the movements, packaging, and storing of substances in any form.” Material handling equipment has come a long way from hand shovels and baskets to highly automated equipment capable of performing complex tasks of material handling. The fundamental objectives of material handling remain the same, but other important objectives have changed with industrialization and growing businesses worldwide. Let us discuss all the objectives of material handling.
Cost reduction is the first and foremost objective of material handling. In some industries, material handling costs can come up to 50% of the total product cost. Therefore, an effective material handling plan can help reduce the total cost of production manifold. This is done in various ways:
- Reduction in manual labor for material handling
- Reduction in costs incurred on the damage of materials during handling
- Reduction in waste by making proper control over stock during in and out handling
- Reduction on indirect labor expenses on activities connected with storage, inspection, quality control, repair, tool room, shipping, etc.
- Better utilization of space by using proper material handling equipment
- Increase in productivity leading to higher output at lower costs.
Better Working Condition & Safety
Another important objective of material handing is safety. A large number of injuries are reported each year by accidents at the workplace; most of them occur while manual handling of materials. Material handling equipment ensures the safety of employees and improves working conditions. This, in turn, reduces accident costs, lost time, and damage to materials. Nevertheless, proper handling equipment handles heavy jobs with faster speeds and at a constant rate throughout the period of production. This enables high morale and lower worker turnover. This also increases productivity as the highly repetitive tasks are left to the material handling equipment and the workers can focus on more advanced tasks.
Increase in Capacity
Efficient material handling systems result in an increase in the capacity of your production facility or warehouse due to better space utilization. When materials are not stored correctly in a warehouse, much of the facility is being wasted; thereby adding to the cost of the product. This is done in the following ways:
- Storage – Storage in racks or containers that stacks items upon each other making full use of air space are the norm. In such situations, overhead cranes, conveyors, air hoists, etc., are very suitable.
- Quick loading/unloading of material – Making use of conveyor systems, jib cranes, loaders, etc, can ensure faster loading/unloading.
For an efficient layout that ensures greater productivity, a complete analysis of the flow of materials considering the flow paths, volume of material, timing between operations, is necessary for the facility. When the space requirements are optimized and travel times are reduced through the use of efficient handling systems and equipment, material handling proves to be more cost-effective.
To know more about material handling, contact Conco at (712) 841-4548.