In every company where manufacture and processing are the order of the day, material handling and management are part of the routine processes. Optimizing this process is essential, especially to the manufacturing industry.
If you’re wondering how you can improve your business or company’s material handling and management process, you’ve come to the right place. This article will help you understand the process better and give you ways to optimize it.
What Is Material Handling And Management?
Material handling is the movement of materials after manufacturing up to distribution. In between, there might be other processes such as transportation and storage before distribution. It’s heavily involved in the delivery and shipping stages in the entire supply chain, packaging, and the movement of goods either in units or in pallets. It uses machines like robotunits conveyor belt systems and put-away technologies.
On the other hand, material management involves the planning and execution of the supply chain to meet the requirements of materials for your company or your organization. Material management is the supply of the right quality of materials according to manufacturing standards.
The importance of proper material handling and management can be best understood when you consider the impact it has on manufacturing. A proper material handling process allows material to be handled in an efficient and safe manner. This enables the proper transfer of material from its original source to its final destination and prevents waste of material.
Proper material handling also has an impact in terms of safety, especially when raw materials or products are hazardous. Without proper material handling procedures of these materials, it can cause accidents and lead to injuries or damages to employees
How To Optimize Material Handling And Management Process
To optimize the handling and management of materials during the whole process of manufacture, distribution, use, and disposal, you can leverage the following strategies to improve on material handling and management:
1. Define The Current State Of The Process
You need first to have an understanding of the relevant data concerning your company’s operation. This includes information such as the number of processed orders, number of lines each operator has done, number of working forklifts, cost of leasing and operating forklifts, utility costs for running the distribution center, and the entire cost of running the distribution center per square foot.
Once you’ve understood how the current material handling and management process works, you can make the necessary adjustments and changes based on its weaknesses. For example, if you’ve discovered there’s a lot of downtime happening, you can make plans to minimize these incidences.
You can achieve this by doing regular checkups and maintenance of all equipment involved. Machines such as carousels, conveyors, palletizers, case erectors, tapers, and stretch wrappers need good maintenance. Ensure that all the equipment is inspected, maintenance logs are well-stored, and any problem is corrected immediately.
Plan regular maintenance of all equipment in the distribution centers, monitor the motor temperature, and lubricate your equipment. Ensure that you have spare parts such as belts, rollers, motors, and bearings. Such measures will always keep your orders moving.
2. Use The Right Tools
To have a productive and efficient material handling and management process, you need to use the right tools for the job. Ensure that the diverse modules and components involved in the material handling are homogeneous and reorganized. Work with well-established suppliers who can be distributing your products because the lack of local support can affect the continuity of production and lower production level. Using the right tools helps you level up efficiency, responsiveness, and accuracy.
3. Automate The Process
It’s said that automation is the future of warehousing. Automating material handling is essential for the sole reason of optimizing responses and operations to both internal and external clients. It helps reduce the manual work and saves a lot of time, which can be put to better use for other productive works. Automation also allows you to develop consistency and be predictable so you may reduce operational costs. You can automate the handling of materials concerning flow, desired type, and process.
All the modern material handling types of machinery comes with a control panel used for performing all the operations. This controls all the related types of machinery that facilitate the smooth functioning of the entire process. As the number of machinery increases, so does the size of the equipment and the cost.
4. Conduct Storage And Flow Analysis
Storage flow and analysis involve determining material flow from point A to point B. This is critical in storage designs because it helps reduce the travel time of the materials throughout the business premises.
Storage and flow analysis also plays a vital role in determining the size of storage facilities. In large organizations, storage and flow analysis may involve the use of simulation models to determine optimum solutions to problems storage, material flow and transport and inspection processes. It involves the modeling and analyzing of the entire life cycle costing of any process and evaluating the impact on total cost of the process.
Good design ensures efficient storage and the flow of material toward production is critical. The material in high use should be placed in areas that provide the shortest distance to the point of use.
If you use a warehouse outside your premises, have a good plan for efficient transport of empty containers and how this affects the distance from the dock to the market and the line. The final analysis of material flow determines the labor needed for material handling and the equipment that’s to be used in the process.
In essence, storage design and material flow work as a unit, so you can’t plan for one in the exclusion of the other. To have the correct balance of quality, cost, safety, and delivery without having to compromise on any of them, efficient tools are needed for evaluating the space and offer data-driven solutions that work in reality.
5. Implement Intelligent Storage Layout
You can work with an expert facilities engineer to help you create an efficient and intelligent storage layout for your materials. A facilities engineer helps design and implement new processes or improvements on different operations in a facility. They also analyze labor costs, procedures, and standards to ensure the continued efficiency of the storage facility.
An intelligent and efficient storage layout should always consider the following: