From start to finish, a product passes through many departments. It changes hands many times before it ultimately becomes a fully finished product. Material handling solutions help improve this process from start to finish. They can make many steps easier and faster, saving time, energy and resources in production.
If any one step in the material handling process is interrupted, it could affect more than just the company making the products. An interruption at this stage moves all the way down the distribution line to the customer.
There are a wide variety of material handling solutions available today that can be used to help avoid this disastrous scenario. These solutions can be automated, non-automated, or partially automated, and can be implemented in almost any area of the production process. Material handling solutions in general are all about making things quicker, easier, safer, and more cost efficient.
When raw products actually arrive at the warehouse, the material handling process begins. Material handling solutions allow for the easy organization of arriving shipments, the accurate verification of manifests, and the efficient unloading of the trucks. Automated and non-automated solutions work in tandem to create efficient processes in the receiving department.
These solutions can include anything from making an important piece of equipment mobile that used to be static to a fully automating all paperwork to speed up processing and decrease human error.
Within a production process there is almost always a storage phase. This can either be raw materials that are stored while not in use, or final products awaiting shipment. Either way, storage can be optimised with material handling solutions like organized, easy to access storage units or automated logs which indicate detailed locations for all products in the warehouse.
These are just a couple of examples, but using material handling solutions in storage can help increase organization within the warehouse which ultimately helps speed up processes.
3. Manual transportation of materials
Moving materials around from department to department can be difficult without the proper equipment. Material handling solutions can also assist with this aspect of the material handling process. A solution could even be customized around the materials requiring transportation in order to facilitate this process even further.
These solutions can relieve employees of a significant amount of manual labour which allows them to ultimately complete more work more quickly without getting burnt out. It can also reduce the risk of work-related injuries, which saves the company money and puts workers’ minds at ease too.
4. Connecting workspaces
While some steps may require that employees manually transport materials, another way to improve processes is to connect workspaces in order to facilitate the relocation of materials. Conveyor belts are a very common material handling solution which can make significantly cut down on the hours of manual labour required for moving materials from station to station.
This allows employees to focus on other steps in the material handling process which increases production. Conveyor belts also decrease the possibility that materials will get damaged in the transportation process because the element of human error is almost completely removed.
Similarly to the receiving process, material handling solutions in regards to shipping could include things like fully automated item lists and equipment to assist in the facilitation of sorting and organizing orders or loading products onto the trucks.
Improving shipping processes can increase the number of shipments that can be made over time and make packing and loading the materials easier for employees. This process can be made completely paperless which saves time, money, and again reduces human error to almost zero.