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What Is Materials Handling? Logistics Glossary
The importance of the supply chain has been highlighted by recent shortages, reminding us of
its crucial role in our daily lives. Although we often take for granted the seamless delivery of
products to our doorsteps and store shelves, the supply chain network is actually a highly
intricate system encompassing various processes such as sourcing raw materials,
transportation, storage, and distribution.
Within the supply chain, material handling plays a significant role. This article explores the
concept of material handling, emphasizing its significance and discussing the fundamental
principles, processes, and equipment required for its efficient operation.
2
Introduction to Material Handling in Logistics
Put simply, material handling involves safely and efficiently moving, storing, controlling,
and protecting materials throughout the supply chain network. It is vital in several industries
like manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and logistics. Logo Logistics specializes in
optimizing these processes to enhance your supply chain efficiency.
Material handling covers a broad spectrum of activities such as loading and unloading,
transporting, managing inventory, fulfilling orders, and packaging. Having efficient material
handling systems and storage solutions in warehouses is crucial for making operations more
streamlined, cutting costs, and maintaining seamless workflows.
3
Benefits of Material Handling Logistics
Efficient material handling logistics provide numerous benefits to businesses, some of
which are as follows:
1. Prevents Workplace Accidents
Implementing proper safety measures and equipment in material handling logistics
significantly reduces workplace accidents and injuries. This not only protects employees but
also minimizes downtime and associated costs.
4
2. Improves Employee Satisfaction
Efficient material handling systems and equipment simplify tasks and reduce manual labor
for employees. This improves their overall job satisfaction and morale, leading to higher
productivity and retention rates.
3. Improves Productivity and Efficiency
Optimized material handling streamlines processes, reduces cycle times, and eliminates
unnecessary steps or movements. Specialists like Simple Global implement strategies that
directly contribute to these improvements, focusing on fine-tuning every aspect of the
material handling process. This results in increased productivity, faster order fulfillment, and
improved customer satisfaction.
4. Saves You Money
Efficient material handling minimizes waste, reduces operational costs, and improves
inventory management. By optimizing storage space, eliminating product damage, and
enhancing workflow efficiency, businesses can save money in the long run.
Material Handling Best Practices
5
Safety in Material Handling Operations
Safety is of paramount importance in material handling operations. Implementing proper
safety measures, conducting regular safety training programs, performing inspections,
enforcing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing clear signage
and safety protocols significantly reduce workplace incidents.
Sustainable Material Handling Practices
Adopting sustainable material handling practices is crucial in today's environmentally-
conscious world. These practices include reducing energy consumption, optimizing
transportation routes, recycling packaging materials, and minimizing waste generation.
Implementing sustainable practices not only helps protect the environment but also lowers
costs and enhances the company's reputation.
Preventive Maintenance for Material Handling Equipment
Regular preventive maintenance is essential to keep material handling equipment in optimal
condition. Adhering to manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedules, conducting
inspections, and promptly addressing repairs minimize equipment downtime, extend its
lifespan, and prevent costly breakdowns.
Continuous Improvement in Material Handling Processes
Embracing a culture of continuous improvement is vital for enhancing material handling
processes. Encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions for process
improvement. Regularly analyze workflows, identify bottlenecks, and implement changes
that streamline operations and increase efficiency.
6
Efficient Material Storage and Retrieval
Efficiency is crucial when structuring material handling systems. Efficient logistics are
necessary when reacting to and planning for customer and warehouse requirements. Consider
the four dimensions of material handling process efficiency: movement, time, quantity, and
space.
● Movement: Efficiently moving products from receiving to outgoing, such as using
forklifts or conveyor systems.
● Time: Minimizing the time products live in storage, reducing receipt-to-shipment
time frames.
7
● Quantity: Maximizing the amount of product that can be stored in the allotted space.
● Space: Utilizing the available space efficiently.
Types of Material Handling Systems
A material handling system forms the core of a distribution operation. Selecting the right
system enables efficient storage and retrieval of materials. Material handling systems are
not one-size-fits-all and depend on specific needs, including SKU profiles, warehouse layout,
and desired distribution operations. Common types of material handling systems include:
Racking Systems
Racking systems are versatile solutions for storing large quantities of materials. Different
types of racking systems offer their own benefits within an operation, such as selective rack,
push-back rack, pallet flow rack, carton flow rack, cantilever rack, and drive-in and drive-
through rack. Integrating multiple types of racking systems within an operation can provide
optimal efficiency.
Automation Systems
Material handling automation systems significantly enhance efficiency. Options for
automated and semi-automated systems include conveyor systems, automated storage and
retrieval systems (AS/RS), pallet runners, vertical lift modules (VLMs), voice picking
systems, and pick-to-light & put-to-light systems. The choice of an automated system
depends on factors such as SKU profiles and desired throughput.
Shelving Systems
Shelving systems are ideal for storing lighter, unpalletized items. Options include boltless
rivet shelving, wire shelving, and mobile shelving. Boltless rivet shelving provides flexibility
and easy assembly, while wire shelving offers excellent visibility and airflow. Mobile
shelving systems maximize storage capacity by compacting shelves on tracks.
Pick Module Systems
8
A pick module system combines various material handling systems to create a
comprehensive solution. These systems can include racking systems, automation systems,
shelving systems, mezzanines, and order-picking technologies.
When implemented correctly, pick module systems efficiently organize and sequence
products for picking and packing, improving accuracy, reducing labor costs, and enhancing
order fulfillment speed.
Types of Material Handling Equipment
9
The correct implementation of material handling equipment is essential for efficient and
safe storage, movement, and protection of goods throughout various processes. Let's explore
some common types of material-handling equipment:
1. Picking and Transportation Equipment
Material handling equipment assists pickers in the safe and efficient transport of products
within a warehouse. Forklifts are commonly used for picking and placing pallets onto racks
or automated systems.
Pallet jacks are ideal for transporting pallets within a warehouse. Wheeled carts expedite the
transport of cartons, totes, or bins. Retractable conveyors facilitate the movement of items
from one point to another.
2. Storage Products
Containers, bins, and totes are commonly used for storage in material handling logistics.
These products come in various sizes and options, including attached lids, stackable, nestable,
titled fronts for easy viewing, and dividers.
3. Safety Products
Safety products protect both materials and employees. Safety barriers, guards, column
guards, and end-of-row protection minimize accidents and damage to rack systems. Frame
extensions prevent materials from falling off the top beam level.
Conclusion
Material handling logistics is a multifaceted discipline that plays a crucial role in the
smooth operation of various industries. By implementing efficient material handling
systems and equipment, businesses can enhance productivity, reduce costs, improve
workplace safety, and optimize their supply chain.
Consider the specific needs of your operation, consult with a material handling systems
integrator, and choose the right system and equipment to drive success in your material
handling logistics. Optimize your material handling with Logo Logistics and Simple Global
today!

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What Is Materials Handling? Logistics Glossary

  • 1. 1 What Is Materials Handling? Logistics Glossary The importance of the supply chain has been highlighted by recent shortages, reminding us of its crucial role in our daily lives. Although we often take for granted the seamless delivery of products to our doorsteps and store shelves, the supply chain network is actually a highly intricate system encompassing various processes such as sourcing raw materials, transportation, storage, and distribution. Within the supply chain, material handling plays a significant role. This article explores the concept of material handling, emphasizing its significance and discussing the fundamental principles, processes, and equipment required for its efficient operation.
  • 2. 2 Introduction to Material Handling in Logistics Put simply, material handling involves safely and efficiently moving, storing, controlling, and protecting materials throughout the supply chain network. It is vital in several industries like manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and logistics. Logo Logistics specializes in optimizing these processes to enhance your supply chain efficiency. Material handling covers a broad spectrum of activities such as loading and unloading, transporting, managing inventory, fulfilling orders, and packaging. Having efficient material handling systems and storage solutions in warehouses is crucial for making operations more streamlined, cutting costs, and maintaining seamless workflows.
  • 3. 3 Benefits of Material Handling Logistics Efficient material handling logistics provide numerous benefits to businesses, some of which are as follows: 1. Prevents Workplace Accidents Implementing proper safety measures and equipment in material handling logistics significantly reduces workplace accidents and injuries. This not only protects employees but also minimizes downtime and associated costs.
  • 4. 4 2. Improves Employee Satisfaction Efficient material handling systems and equipment simplify tasks and reduce manual labor for employees. This improves their overall job satisfaction and morale, leading to higher productivity and retention rates. 3. Improves Productivity and Efficiency Optimized material handling streamlines processes, reduces cycle times, and eliminates unnecessary steps or movements. Specialists like Simple Global implement strategies that directly contribute to these improvements, focusing on fine-tuning every aspect of the material handling process. This results in increased productivity, faster order fulfillment, and improved customer satisfaction. 4. Saves You Money Efficient material handling minimizes waste, reduces operational costs, and improves inventory management. By optimizing storage space, eliminating product damage, and enhancing workflow efficiency, businesses can save money in the long run. Material Handling Best Practices
  • 5. 5 Safety in Material Handling Operations Safety is of paramount importance in material handling operations. Implementing proper safety measures, conducting regular safety training programs, performing inspections, enforcing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing clear signage and safety protocols significantly reduce workplace incidents. Sustainable Material Handling Practices Adopting sustainable material handling practices is crucial in today's environmentally- conscious world. These practices include reducing energy consumption, optimizing transportation routes, recycling packaging materials, and minimizing waste generation. Implementing sustainable practices not only helps protect the environment but also lowers costs and enhances the company's reputation. Preventive Maintenance for Material Handling Equipment Regular preventive maintenance is essential to keep material handling equipment in optimal condition. Adhering to manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedules, conducting inspections, and promptly addressing repairs minimize equipment downtime, extend its lifespan, and prevent costly breakdowns. Continuous Improvement in Material Handling Processes Embracing a culture of continuous improvement is vital for enhancing material handling processes. Encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions for process improvement. Regularly analyze workflows, identify bottlenecks, and implement changes that streamline operations and increase efficiency.
  • 6. 6 Efficient Material Storage and Retrieval Efficiency is crucial when structuring material handling systems. Efficient logistics are necessary when reacting to and planning for customer and warehouse requirements. Consider the four dimensions of material handling process efficiency: movement, time, quantity, and space. ● Movement: Efficiently moving products from receiving to outgoing, such as using forklifts or conveyor systems. ● Time: Minimizing the time products live in storage, reducing receipt-to-shipment time frames.
  • 7. 7 ● Quantity: Maximizing the amount of product that can be stored in the allotted space. ● Space: Utilizing the available space efficiently. Types of Material Handling Systems A material handling system forms the core of a distribution operation. Selecting the right system enables efficient storage and retrieval of materials. Material handling systems are not one-size-fits-all and depend on specific needs, including SKU profiles, warehouse layout, and desired distribution operations. Common types of material handling systems include: Racking Systems Racking systems are versatile solutions for storing large quantities of materials. Different types of racking systems offer their own benefits within an operation, such as selective rack, push-back rack, pallet flow rack, carton flow rack, cantilever rack, and drive-in and drive- through rack. Integrating multiple types of racking systems within an operation can provide optimal efficiency. Automation Systems Material handling automation systems significantly enhance efficiency. Options for automated and semi-automated systems include conveyor systems, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), pallet runners, vertical lift modules (VLMs), voice picking systems, and pick-to-light & put-to-light systems. The choice of an automated system depends on factors such as SKU profiles and desired throughput. Shelving Systems Shelving systems are ideal for storing lighter, unpalletized items. Options include boltless rivet shelving, wire shelving, and mobile shelving. Boltless rivet shelving provides flexibility and easy assembly, while wire shelving offers excellent visibility and airflow. Mobile shelving systems maximize storage capacity by compacting shelves on tracks. Pick Module Systems
  • 8. 8 A pick module system combines various material handling systems to create a comprehensive solution. These systems can include racking systems, automation systems, shelving systems, mezzanines, and order-picking technologies. When implemented correctly, pick module systems efficiently organize and sequence products for picking and packing, improving accuracy, reducing labor costs, and enhancing order fulfillment speed. Types of Material Handling Equipment
  • 9. 9 The correct implementation of material handling equipment is essential for efficient and safe storage, movement, and protection of goods throughout various processes. Let's explore some common types of material-handling equipment: 1. Picking and Transportation Equipment Material handling equipment assists pickers in the safe and efficient transport of products within a warehouse. Forklifts are commonly used for picking and placing pallets onto racks or automated systems. Pallet jacks are ideal for transporting pallets within a warehouse. Wheeled carts expedite the transport of cartons, totes, or bins. Retractable conveyors facilitate the movement of items from one point to another. 2. Storage Products Containers, bins, and totes are commonly used for storage in material handling logistics. These products come in various sizes and options, including attached lids, stackable, nestable, titled fronts for easy viewing, and dividers. 3. Safety Products Safety products protect both materials and employees. Safety barriers, guards, column guards, and end-of-row protection minimize accidents and damage to rack systems. Frame extensions prevent materials from falling off the top beam level. Conclusion Material handling logistics is a multifaceted discipline that plays a crucial role in the smooth operation of various industries. By implementing efficient material handling systems and equipment, businesses can enhance productivity, reduce costs, improve workplace safety, and optimize their supply chain. Consider the specific needs of your operation, consult with a material handling systems integrator, and choose the right system and equipment to drive success in your material handling logistics. Optimize your material handling with Logo Logistics and Simple Global today!