The Importance of Material Handling Within the Warehouse and Production

The Importance of Material Handling Within the Warehouse and Production

With constant movement and different processes running simultaneously, warehouses certainly cut it among the busiest work environments. However, that doesn’t mean they should be labour-intensive or chaotic, and with the suitable systems in place, streamlining your warehouse operations is a breeze.

In other words, warehouses typically contain tons of products, small and big, which often require movement from one place to another. And therefore, given the extensive logistics needed at a warehouse, material handling can’t prove any more essential.

But what is a material handling anyway? What are its objectives? And how important is it in warehouse and production? Well, that’s precisely what this article will outline, so read on.

What is Material Handling?

Material handling, in simple terms, is the short-distance transit of products within the warehouse or between the warehouse and a carrier. It entails tasks like retrieving merchandise from shelves for shipping, assembling unit loads from individual goods on pallets, loading and unloading vehicles, and much more.

Material handling occurs all across the supply chain. It begins with the raw materials, which must be received and processed to create finished products, which must be made ready, consolidated into units, and shipped out.

In a much broader context, material handling is defined as the control, storage, and protection of products and materials during production, warehousing, distribution, use, and disposal. As a process entailing many functions, it employs various automated, semi-automated, and manual equipment and technologies to facilitate logistics and support the supply chain.

Key Objectives of Material Handling

Some of Material Handling’s main objectives include:

  • Enhance material flow and control
  • Facilitate a hazard-free and safe work environment
  • Better equipment and time utilization
  • Reduce material damage to uphold quality
  • Improve warehouse efficiency and productivity
  • Facilitate efficient material movement to reduce overall production time

Material Handling Equipment

Production and warehouse operations involve handling and storing bulk materials and products. Therefore, you must invest in various material handling systems and equipment to help you achieve that.

On that note, here are the four main categories of material-handling equipment available today:

Bulk Material Handling Equipment

Bulk material handling equipment is simple equipment used to move, control, and store goods in bulk. A few great examples include conveyor belts, reclaimers, hoppers, bucket and grain elevators, and stackers.

Engineered Systems

Engineered systems, also called automated systems, leverage technology supported by robots and computers to enable efficient storage and movement of large volumes of goods around the warehouse.

Examples include robotic delivery systems, automatic guided vehicles, and AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems.

Industrial Trucks

Industrial trucks are vehicles that load and unload heavy items and move materials and goods around the warehouse. They include pallet trucks, side-loaders, forklifts, and order pickers.

Storage and Handling Equipment

Storage and handling equipment is used to secure items whenever they aren’t used or as they await transportation to the following supply chain phase. They include mezzanines, pallet racks, roll cages and stillages, shelves and drawers, etc.     

Benefits of Material Handling

As explained earlier, handling materials carefully throughout the supply chain is vital to ensure they reach their destinations undamaged. To make this possible, you must invest in a material handling system to optimize the transit of materials and goods within warehouse and production facilities.

Here are some notable benefits of material handling worth checking out.

  • Reduction of Warehouse Operations Costs

Working with inadequate or the wrong material handling equipment will mean a loss in efficiency.

Proper material handling equipment and systems, you attain better control of orders and materials. As a result, you can enhance your warehouse efficiency and cut down shipping and operations costs.

  • Prevention of Workplace Accidents

According to a 2022 survey by Statista, overexertion involving outside sources tops the list of most disabling workplace injuries in the US. Following closely behind were falls and being struck by equipment or objects.

A warehouse with makeshift arrangements is hazardous and could lead to fatal accidents. However, investing in the proper material handling systems will help your business achieve efficient health & safety management and comply with labor and site safety protocols.

With your employees not having to try reaching high storage areas or lifting heavy objects, you’ll get to create a safe work environment.

  • Enhanced Warehouse Efficiency and Productivity

Utilizing the proper material handling devices and tools can assist you in organizing materials and products, resulting in fewer lost items.

That means retrieving goods from your warehouse will take less time. As a result, you’ll save time and money, enhancing your overall warehouse efficiency in the process.

  • Reduced Product Damages

Improper storage and transit could lead to damaged goods in the warehouse, potentially increasing your production costs significantly. It has been demonstrated that proper handling practices can minimize material and part damages, something that’s good for your business. 

  • Improved Customer Service

Handling items correctly in your warehouse may help it become a more orderly space overall. As such, products will be considerably simpler to find, helping you reduce your service time.

This means you’ll manage to deliver your products on time, thus increasing customer satisfaction and even saving money. 

  • Improve Employee Satisfaction

Employees tend to lose motivation and become frustrated by work discomfort. However, leveraging the right material handling systems relieves them of labour-intensive and tedious tasks, such as lifting heavy goods. This helps them minimize stress and feel good about their job.

Streamline Your Material Handling Process Today

As seen in this article, material handling is critical in warehouse operations. It helps reduce product damage, reduce the risk of warehouse accidents, improve customer satisfaction, and more.

We also outlined the different equipment categories required to improve your warehouse’s material handling process. At Rollcage.ie, we manufacture and supply warehouse storage cages of all kinds, from collapsible cages to pallet retention units, 4-sided roll cages, and high-quality stillages.

So, contact us today and streamline your warehouse’s material handling process.  

 

 

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