Material handling is the process through which material goods get moved a short distance. From a transportation truck to within a building, for example, by using a variety of equipment.
When you think about it, almost every industry uses material handling at some point. From aerospace to e-commerce, material handling makes up more than 20 percent of the economy and is essential in the functionality of almost every business or facility.
Why is Material Handling Important?
Material handling helps businesses maintain efficiency when it comes to storing and moving goods, especially for retail, e-commerce, warehouses, and manufacturing plants.
In order to make this an effective system across the board, warehouses need to be safely organized to best meet a business’ material handling needs. A properly executed warehouse system consists of:
- Technology and warehouse organization planning with input from the entire team for maximized efficiency
- Standardization of material handling methods, equipment, controls, and software to perform a range of tasks in a variety of operating conditions
- Adapting work and working conditions to support ergonomics for workers
- Unit loads to reduce effort and work to move items
- Using automation to improve operational productivity
Types of Material Handling Equipment
There are three main types of material handling that you should consider, depending on your business. The first is manual material handling. Manual material handling involves workers lifting, lowering, filling, emptying, or carrying containers. This type of material handling solution can be hazardous for workers as they are performing physical activities where they could be injured. One way to offset these injuries is by providing material handling pallet trucks to manually move large material goods.
These days, many material handling facilities use automated equipment to move shipments around their warehouse.
- Semi-automated equipment requires a human operator to drive, unload, or load containers. While these cause fewer accidents than their manual counterpart, safety and training are important components to using semi-automated equipment as effectively as possible.
- Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVs) are also becoming much more popular these days. While these types of lifts require warehouses to be equipped with AI technology, they can also reduce costs of operation, improve safety, and provide around-the-clock functionality.
Naumann/Hobbs has been in the business of helping make your material handling process as effective as your business needs it to be. We offer warehouse organization and material handling solutions as well as all the equipment, manual or automated, you may need. Give us a call. We’re ready to help you find the right solution for your business.
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