Material handling is an important aspect of manufacturing and warehousing, so much so that it can affect productivity and performance of an organization. In that case, it is imperative to use material handling to the best of its capacity. This can drive business growth and mold the organization into an efficient and successful operation and requires in-depth knowledge of all kinds of material handling equipment available. For example, knowing what kind of a jib crane will be better for a particular lifting operation or whether an articulated jib lifter or an inline lifter will be more crucial to the efficiency of the operation. So let us find out the 7 attributes of successfully using material handling.
Define a plan that outlines the objectives and goals of the organization. Identify the process design, layout, and methods, keeping in mind current restraints and future requirements. Based on this, design the material handling system using a team approach; do this by taking inputs from your suppliers, consultants, management, engineering, computer, finance, and operations specialists.
It is important to consider ergonomic factors like eliminating repetitive motion, reducing manual labor, and adhering to safety standards. While assigning tasks and equipment for material handling, worker capabilities, limitations, and safety must be taken into account.
- Space Utilization
Effective space utilization is the key to successful material handling. The entire area of operation should be organized and de-cluttered. Having a layout that makes the best use of material handling equipment can maximize space.
- Systemizing the Processes
Systemizing your processes is the key to a successful implementation of material handling systems. A well-defined system with laid down protocols makes it easy to perform the material handling tasks with efficiency. Coordinate and integrate all material handling processes across the entire enterprise. Consider all material movement when you plan and systematize.
- Simplify the Operation
Material handling operations should be simplified by reducing, combining, or eliminating as much excess movement as possible. Keep in mind that that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so design your operation according to the layout. For example, move finished goods directly to the shipping dock rather than through the warehouse, if possible.
- Focus on People
Even if your material handling system is highly automated, there will always be an operator or user of the equipment involved in the process. Proper training of the staff is a must to achieve your material handling goals. Implement new technology while keeping in mind the experience of the staff. If your employees are well-trained on the successful use of material handling, half of the work is already done.
- Effective Maintenance
When it comes to material handling equipment, effective maintenance is imperative to successful implementation of systems. When investing in material handling equipment, account for the cost of consumables, training, installation, setup, maintenance and repair.
In conclusion, a systematic approach to material handling is necessary. Integrating and using these seven attributes on every kind of equipment right from the forklifts to articulating jib lifters is how you can practice successful material handling.