Every organisation performs some material handling activities. The process can either be automated or manual. In modern storage systems in warehouses, the process is automated to increase efficiency and save time. Health and safety are also key elements in material handling. To achieve productivity, here are the main material handling principles.
Every process starts with a plan. Planning is the action that defines what materials, when to move the material, where to move the material and how and who to move the material. For this step to be successful, there should be liaising of several departments. The suppliers, engineers, consultants, finance, operations and computer information systems should be involved.
The methods of handling materials should be standardised within the bounds of attaining general performance without forfeiting the required flexibility and modularity. The planner should ensure the equipment and methods used can perform several tasks under various operating circumstances.
Work in material handling should be minimised, but it should not minimise productivity. The process is simplified by merging some moves, shortening and doing away with additional moves.
Unit load principle
Unit loads should be suitably sized to achieve inventory objective and material flow at each level. In manufacturing, the unit load could be as small one item. The small load enables flexibility and ensure just on-time delivery.
The available space must be used efficiently and effectively. Where space is well-organised, material handling becomes easy as the materials become easy to access.
All the activities in material handling should be fully integrated to form an efficient operation system. This system should encompass all the players of the supply chain; it should include suppliers, distributors, customers, and manufacturers. There should be a clear procedure of how materials move from the manufacturer go through all the necessary procedures until they reach the customers.
Any warehouse storage system that utilizes the above principles can achieve higher productivity, profitability and offer excellent customer care services.