Meaning of Material Handling


Moving goods or materials within short distances in a storage area is known as material handling (called by some materials handling).

The activity includes loading, unloading, palletizing (storing and transporting goods stacked on pallets, shipped as unit loads), as well as, de-palletizing and a number of similar operations.

Fork-lift trucks are the equipment used most frequently in material handling.

Manual material handling ranges from movement of raw material, work in progress, finished goods, rejected, scraps, packing material, etc. These materials are of different shape and sizes as well as weight. Material handling is a systematic and scientific method of moving, packing and storing of material in appropriate and suitable location.

It is critical for manufacturing organization to identify importance of material handling principle as the critical step in promoting the job improvement process. Manual material handling significantly increases health hazard for the workers in from lower back injuries.

In the current competitive and globalized environment, it is important to control cost and reduce time in material handling. An efficient material handling process promotes:

  • Design of proper facility layout
  • Promotes development of method which improves and simplifies the work process
  • It improves overall production activity.
  • Efficient material handling reduces total cost of production.

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