As a manufacturer, you want to ensure your business runs as smoothly as possible and can produce your products efficiently. Taking the time to arrange the best material handling solutions will go a long way to help you achieve these goals.

Material handling experts focus on the short-distance transportation of materials, whether that takes place in your warehouse, distribution centre, or storage facility.

1. Your material handling system

Even a relatively small manufacturing process will incorporate material handling solutions into its daily operations. Do you need to swiftly transport parts for a product from one area of a factory to another? Or do your operations require that goods be distributed to various parts of a building site?

Whatever your situation, this is where material handling solutions come in. Companies specializing in this area can assess your existing systems and make proposals for improvements and advise on the establishment of a system if you are yet to implement one.

2. Unit loads

In certain cases, your production process may be made more efficient by making use of unit loads. This describes a material handling system that divides up quantities of goods, such as liquids or gases, into smaller containers like drums, bags, or boxes according to production need. They can then be transported on one truck or a conveyor belt to reduce cost.

3. Methods of material handling

If two stages of the production process are located close to each other in a factory, you may make use of a conveyor belt system to move finished parts between the two operations. If you need to transport materials across a greater distance, such as from different parts of a large distribution site or from various separate locations, your material handling could involve the use of trucks, cranes, trains, ships or aircraft.

The methods you choose to use will depend on several things, including cost, reliability, the type of materials you wish to move, and the kind of business you operate. Material handling solutions experts can assist you in considering these questions.

4. Manual handling

This refers to material handling where a worker uses their hands to move materials. For example, they may carry, lower, empty or fill containers containing items used in the course of manufacturing.

There are restrictions to what an individual worker can safely move without causing injury. Recommended weights for manual handling vary in accordance with the type of items being handled, the distance they must be moved, and other factors.

5. Automated handling

Technological improvements, including the development of robots, mean that a growing number of material handling processes can be conducted by automated systems. These are systems that do not require human intervention to perform a task, such as loading a container.

Due to the nature of handling, a lot of solutions are semi-automated. This is because human skills are often required for such tasks as driving.

6. Benefits of effective material handling

You will experience significant improvements to your business if you take the time to adopt the best material handling solution to meet your needs.

Just consider some of the drawbacks if your system does not work well. You may suffer production delays if an insufficient number of parts are delivered to the next stage in the manufacturing process, or if they are not delivered on time. You may lose materials while they are being transported, either because of damage, spillage, or other avoidable mishaps.

Whatever the precise problem, the impact on your business will be negative. Delayed production will have a knock-on effect on the efficiency and profitability of your operations. In a competitive environment, this can make all the difference between the success and failure of a business venture.