Material Handling: Definition, Cost, Types, and Best Practices

Material Handling: Definition, Cost, Types, and Best Practices

Materials handling with a robotic arm. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com/FUN FUN PHOTO

Material handling refers to the process of storing, picking, and distributing goods and materials, typically within a factory or warehouse. Various technologies are used to achieve this and can include: manual handling, forklifts, robotics, and conveyors. Any industry that deals in the production of physical goods makes use of material handling throughout the product life cycle. Common examples include: consumer goods, food and beverage, and manufacturing industries. Well planned and executed material handling techniques can reduce lead times, increase cost savings, and limit product damage.

This article will discuss what material handling is in general, how it works, the various types of equipment used, as well as the advantages of good material handling practices.

What Is Material Handling?

At its essence material handling refers to the process of moving materials or goods from one location to another, typically within a warehouse, manufacturing facility, or processing plant. Material handling is an integral part of every industry, and optimizing the process can result in significant gains in productivity. Traditional material handling was performed manually by material handlers and machine operators, however, modern material handling techniques make extensive use of automation due to the sheer volume of material that needs to be handled efficiently. 

How Does Material Handling Work?

A typical material handling system consists of the following steps:

  • Receiving:  Raw materials, components, or completed products are first received from various suppliers or departments. Typically this step consists of unloading the materials from a truck, train, plane, or ship, inspecting them, logging them into the system, and potentially placing them in a staging area for further processing.
  • Storage:  The items are then moved into the relevant warehouses or stockpiles. Depending on the type of materials and storage method used by the facility, the items are stored on shelves, racks, or placed in free-standing stockpiles. 
  • Picking:  When an order is placed—by a consumer, company, or another department—the relevant items are retrieved from storage using one of many different material handling technologies, like forklifts or automated robotic systems.
  • Sorting:  The items are then sorted and consolidated, so they can be efficiently handled and ultimately shipped to their final destination.
  • Packaging:  The items are then packaged depending on shipping requirements; typical packaging can include boxes or pallets for example. These packaged items are placed in staging areas ready for transport.
  • Transport:  Finally, the packaged items are collected from staging areas and are then loaded onto trucks, trains, ships, or aircraft for shipping to their final destination. 

It must be noted that throughout this process the items are monitored and logged into software systems to keep track of where they are in the process. This is critical to the effective functioning of the material handling system.

How Much Does Material Handling Cost?

The cost of material handling depends on many factors, and it is not possible to list a simple cost value. These factors can include the types of materials to be handled, the handling technologies employed, the scale of the operation, and the distances between the various warehouses or processing stages. On the cheapest level, manual techniques like: handling by hand, carts, pallet jacks, and forklifts are used. On the more capital-intensive side, robotic arms and self-navigating autonomous vehicles are used to reduce the labor component of the cost.

Can the Cost of Material Handling Be Reduced?

Yes, in most cases you can reduce the cost of material handling by performing detailed analyses of the system as a whole to determine the optimal method of moving and storing materials while striking a balance between capital and operational expenditure. For example, automation can require a high initial capital investment, but over time the reduction of labor costs can make it more cost-effective. This is especially true for larger, complex material handling facilities. However, for smaller facilities, it may be more cost-effective to maintain a manual material handling system.

Who Handles Material Handling?

Material handling is a complex process that requires a diverse team with multiple different skill sets. At the most basic level, a material handler is directly involved with physically handling the goods. Logistics coordinators and managers ensure that the flow of goods throughout the supply chain is controlled and efficient. Industrial engineers are tasked with analyzing complex material handling systems to find more efficient and productive workflows. And finally, maintenance technicians are required to keep all the material handling equipment functional to prevent unexpected downtime. 

What Are the Different Types of Material Handling?

There are many different types of material handling technologies. Many are used in conjunction with each other to improve overall efficiency and productivity during the material handling process, the most common are listed below.

1. Robotics

Robotics in general are widely used in large-scale materials handling scenarios, specifically in warehouses in which the environments are controlled and safe. Technologies like robot arms and self-navigating carts have become common, however, advances in manufacturing and machine learning are starting to give rise to humanoid robots which can operate in the same environments as humans while costing significantly less than a human in the long run. These robots are designed with a humanoid form factor, so they can operate in environments originally designed for humans. 

2. Forklifts

Forklifts have been a staple in the materials handling industry for decades, with very little change in their fundamental mode of operation. Forklifts are designed to move palletized materials and have enough reach to access pallets stored on warehouse shelves. Forklifts can cover a wide range of capacities from a few hundred kilograms to many tons. 

3. Conveyors

Conveyors are another staple of the materials handling industry. There are many different types but in general, conveyors are designed to move goods over relatively short distances between locations which do not vary significantly in terms of elevation. For consumer goods applications, roller-type conveyors are common; these consist of multiple rollers next to each other and can either be powered or free-running. More-advanced conveyors are designed to automatically detect, sort, and direct goods to different areas for further processing. Standard conveyors consist of a rubber belt that is tensioned between at least two pulleys and runs along multiple flat or troughed idler pulleys. These conveyors, especially troughed conveyors, are more often used for conveying bulk raw materials.

4. Manual Handling

Manual handling refers to the practice of moving goods and materials by hand. This solution is only effective for small volumes and low-weight goods. Manual labor is typically not cost-effective in markets with worker-centric labor laws, as such manual handling is limited to smaller niche applications or at least performed in conjunction with automated and mechanized solutions. 

5. Shelving and Racking

Shelving and racking are commonplace in every warehouse on the planet and typically follow a standard design. Shelves and racking are the most efficient way to store materials in a given floor space while still allowing easy access for retrieval and storage by forklifts and other material handling solutions. Shelving is typically used for lightweight, easy-to-access goods whereas racking is used for heavier goods, commonly loaded onto pallets.

6. Cranes and Hoists

Cranes and hoists are used to efficiently lift heavy materials and move them within a predefined area. It is common for cranes to offload containers from trucks, trains, and ships, from which the goods can be unloaded and distributed to a warehouse or stockyard. 

7. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

AGVs refer to a class of material handling vehicles that are designed to autonomously navigate a warehouse environment performing sorting, storing, and retrieval tasks with limited or no intervention from a human operator. Various techniques are used by these vehicles to navigate their environments; common examples include following lines or wires placed on the floor around the warehouse or by utilizing a combination of visual or lidar sensors to autonomously navigate. AGVs are designed with collision avoidance capability to prevent damage to equipment or injury to personnel. 

8. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)

AS/RS refers to a system often incorporating multiple technologies to retrieve and store goods within a warehouse setting. These systems are integrated with software to intelligently move goods to where they are needed. An example of such a system would consist of a retrieval robot, which can take many different forms such as: a shuttle, crane, or robotic arm, that can traverse the racking within a warehouse and navigate to the required goods, remove them from storage and then transfer them to a waiting AGV, conveyor, or similar system. The goal of these systems is to have little to no human interaction while improving speed and increasing the available storage space by removing the need for wide passages between racks to allow forklift access.

9. Packaging and Sorting Systems

Packaging systems typically prepare goods for transport or further storage and can consist of a wide range of different technologies. Typical examples include machines designed to wrap palletized goods with flexible plastic to ensure they don’t fall off the pallet during transport. For more-complex packaging systems, items are automatically loaded into boxes for further distribution. Sorting systems are designed to ensure that goods are directed to the correct storage or staging areas for further processing. Typical examples can include conveyors which can be integrated with cross-belt, sliding-shoe, or tilt-tray sorters to direct goods from one conveyor onto another one or into a chute for further processing. Goods are scanned using barcode scanners or other OCR (Optical Character Recognition) systems to identify and track them.

10. Palletizing and Depalletizing Systems

Goods are often transported on standard pallets that are designed to be easy to move using forklifts and manual pallet jacks. Stacking goods onto a pallet is known as palletizing and this is typically done using automated systems; goods are fed to a palletizing machine which efficiently stacks them onto a steady supply of pallets. Pallets are often stretch-wrapped with plastic once the palletizing is completed, the pallet is then ready for shipping. De-palletizing is the opposite process, a pallet is placed in a de-palletizing machine which de-stacks the items from the pallet and distributes them throughout the warehouse. 

Which Industries Use Material Handling?

Every industry makes use of material handling in some form. Listed below are three of the most common industries that make extensive use of material handling processes and technologies. 

  • Manufacturing:  The manufacturing industry requires a steady supply of raw materials while also distributing completed components to assembly lines or shipping them to other facilities for additional processing. 
  • Food & Beverage:  The food and beverage industry makes extensive use of automated material handling systems due to the sheer quantity of items produced. In addition, fast, efficient distribution is key to ensuring fresh goods are delivered to their destination in time. 
  • Consumer Goods:  The delivery of a new cell phone, gaming console, or microwave to your doorstep within a few days at most is all dependent on a vast, global supply chain that would not be possible without highly automated material handling systems.

What Are the Advantages of Proper Material Handling?

An effective material handling system can offer a wide range of benefits as described below:

  • Lower Costs:  Effective material handling can dramatically reduce costs on multiple fronts. For example, labor costs can be reduced with automated systems. Wastage and lost goods can be eliminated with automated tagging and sorting technologies.
  • Reduced Delivery Times:  Consumers want their items as quickly as possible. With all other things equal, they’ll often prefer buying from a supplier with a shorter delivery time. Delivery times can be significantly reduced with proper material handling systems and technologies.
  • Reduced Space Requirements:  Shelving and racking integrated with AS/RS systems and AGVs can allow for space to be used more effectively. For example, the space between shelving can be reduced as there is no requirement for forklift access, meaning that more goods can be stored per square meter, thus reducing warehouse space requirements. 
  • Reduced Damage:  Automated material handling systems are designed to carefully handle goods to prevent accidental damage which is common with human material handlers. This ultimately reduces customer dissatisfaction and profit loss due to damaged goods.

What Is the Importance of Material Handling in Different Industries?

Material handling is a critical component in every industry that deals with the production and distribution of physical materials and goods. Inefficient material handling practices can result in cost overruns.

Is There Any Risk in Material Handling?

Yes, there are many potential risks in material handling. For example, automated and manual material handling systems have the potential to result in serious injuries if not properly used or controlled. Forklifts, for example, account for a large number of workplace accidents. Automated systems are more predictable and are designed to operate alongside humans without posing a danger.

Is There a Material Handling Guide?

There is no specific catch-all guide to material handling as each solution is specific to the environment in which it will be deployed. However, there are many guides available describing the various technologies and how they can be utilized within common scenarios. 

What Are the Different Types of Material Handling Equipment?

There exists a wide range of material handling equipment that can be broadly categorized into manual and automated equipment. Manual examples include: forklifts, pallet jacks, and hoists whereas automated equipment can include: robot arms, automated guided vehicles, and palletizing equipment. 

What Are the Best Practices for Material Handling?

The material handling industry covers a vast range of technologies and strategies. Despite the complex environment, there are some universal best practices as described below:

  • Standardization:  Standardization is a critical factor for an efficient material handling system. This does not only include standardizing the types of storage systems and handling equipment but also the software and procedures used. Standardization can help reduce the complexity of expanding handling capacity while also improving efficiency across the board. For example, standardized shelving and racking can make extending capacity as simple as adding additional shelves to the existing ones without compromising systems designed to work with the current shelving and racking solution.
  • Effective Equipment Selection:  Material handling equipment must be carefully selected based on several factors. For example, the type of material, budget constraints, potential future expansion, and availability of skilled operators and technicians must all be considered. A facility designed to move bulk raw materials may not be suited to AGVs and can be better served with conveyors and front-end loaders. Conversely, a consumer goods facility can make use of conveyors, AGVs, forklifts, and robotic arms.
  • Regular Maintenance:  Material handling systems rely on the seamless integration of many different technologies. A failure in any one of these can result in the breakdown of the entire system, as such following a preventative maintenance plan is essential to maintaining uptime. 
  • Automation:  Automation is becoming ever more prevalent in the material handling industry. This is due to the technologies becoming cheaper and easier to implement. Companies that do not automate are at a distinct disadvantage when compared to companies that have integrated automation. However, automation is not always viable. For example, smaller facilities might still be better suited to traditional manual handling systems. 
  • Safety:  Safety is critical in a complex material handling environment, especially when mixing automated and manual processes. Human material handlers can be exposed to fast-moving automatic systems that can cause serious injury if not properly designed with safety features. Manual equipment like forklifts also pose a serious hazard to employees. 
  • Ergonomic Systems:  Ergonomics are important to ensure that the system is designed with human capabilities and limitations in mind. This helps prevent injuries and improve worker satisfaction while optimizing for efficiency.

What Is the Difference Between Material Selection and Material Handling?

Material selection often refers to the process of picking a material for a specific use case. The decision is often based on application requirements, for example, applications that require high strength while keeping weight low would benefit from a material like aluminum. Material handling on the other hand refers to how raw materials and finished products are moved throughout the supply chain from raw material to completed product. 

To learn more, see our full guide on Material Selection .

Material Handling Equipment (Types, Applications and Suppliers)

Plastic Bottle Manufacturing Process – How Plastic Bottles are Made

Industrial Packaging: Types, Materials, and Processes

Types of Pallets – A Thomas Buying Guide

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Essays on Materials Handling

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Essay on Materials Management: Top 6 Essays | Production

make an essay about materials handling

in this essay we will discuss about ‘Materials Management’. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Materials Management’ especially written for school and college students.

Essay on Materials Management

Essay Contents:

  • Essay on the Systems of Inventory Control

Essay # 1. Introduction to Materials Management :

For running any industry or business, a number of resources are needed. These re­sources are popularly known as 5 M’s of any industrial activity i.e., men, machines, mate­rials, money and methods. All these re­sources, which are basic inputs, are impor­tant but their relative importance depends upon the particular type of industry and also other environmental factors.

Earlier, when many modern machines were not even known, whole activity was around men. But now the importance has shifted from men to machines and in the present environment, materials are the life blood of any industry or business and for their proper running, materials should be available at proper time in proper quantity at proper place.

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Materials are any commodities that are used directly or indirectly in producing a product such as raw materials, component parts or assemblies. The materials require serious attention in any work of production.

Material forms the major proportion of the final product and total cost of production. Nearly 60 to 70% of the total cost of any product is because of materials. So materials offer a considerable scope for reducing cost and improving profit. An effective system of material control should be introduced to keep material costs within limits. This is possible only if a proper system of material management is introduced.

Materials management is one of the major areas covered by the process of management. The manpower in any organization is looked by personnel management. But for the efficient running of any organization, it is necessary that materials costs, its supply and its utilization are controlled in such a way which leads to maximization of profit and minimization of cost of production. Materials management covers all aspects pertaining to materials cost, materials supply and materials utilization.

Essay # 2. Definition of Materials Management :

Some of the definitions of materials management are:

Materials management involves planning, programming, organizing, directing, controlling and coordinating the various activities concerning the materials.

Materials management is the management of the flow of materials into an organization to the point, where, those materials are converted into the firm’s end products.

Materials management covers the whole range of functions involved in converting raw materials into finished products.

Materials management is a function responsible for co-ordination of planning, sourcing, purchasing, moving, storing and controlling materials in an optimum manner so as to provide pre-decided service to the customer at minimum cost.

From the above-mentioned definitions, it is clear that materials management is concerned with effective control and management of materials right from first stage i.e. raw materials at time of procurement and up to the final stage of materials in the form of finished product.

Essay # 3. Objectives of Materials Management :

Some of the objectives of materials management are:

a. To maintain continuity of production by ensuring uniform flow of materials.

b. To minimize material cost.

c. To maintain good relationship with the suppliers of materials and also develop new suppliers for the products for which reliable suppliers do not exist.

d. To purchase the required materials at minimum possible prices by following the prescribed purchase policies.

e. To develop better relations with customers and suppliers.

f. To report changes in market conditions and factors affecting the concern.

g. To cut down costs through simplification, standardization and value analysis.

h. To supply materials of consistent quality i.e. of quality that meets user specification and is fit for service.

i. To ensure training and development of personnel employed in the department so that good industrial relations are maintained.

j. To maintain proper and up-to-date records of all stores transactions and purchases.

k. To assist technical/design department in developing new materials and products which may be more profitable to the organization.

l. To make economic ‘make or buy’ decisions.

m. To contribute in the product improvement.

n. To contribute in the development of inter departmental harmony.

Essay # 4. Functions/Scope of Materials Management :

The scope of materials management varies greatly from company to company and may include:

i. Materials Planning.

ii. Purchasing.

iii. Store Keeping.

iv. Inventory Control.

v. Receiving, Inspection and Dispatching.

vi. Value Analysis, Standardization and Variety Reduction.

vii. Materials Handling.

viii. Disposal of Scrap and Surplus, Material Preservation.

i. Materials Planning :

The function of material planning department is to plan for the future procurement of all the required materials as per the production schedule. At the time of material planning, the budget allocated for the materials will also be critically reviewed, for better control.

ii. Purchasing :

Purchasing function is one of the most critical functions as it provides the input for the organization to convert into output. Materials are the lifeblood of any organization. At the time of purchase, right quantity and quality of materials must be purchased at right time, at the lowest possible cost and select the efficient purchasing system, to derive maximum benefit. Purchase department is the unit of an organization that performs purchasing function.

The objectives of purchasing are:

a. To provide an uninterrupted flow of materials and services for company operations.

b. To find reliable alternative sources of supply.

c. To buy at the most economic order quantities.

d. To buy the best value: a combination of right quality at the best price with the best supplier service,

e. To maintain good relations with vendors.

iii. Store Keeping:

After the items are purchased, proper storage facilities must be provided so that, the wastage is reduced to a minimum. The manufacturing company appoints a person for careful storing and safeguarding materials in a store who is called storekeeper. Storekeeper is responsible for safeguarding the materials and supplies in proper place until they are required for production activities.

Storekeeping activities include:

a. Maintaining the proper record of materials relating to the receipt and issue of materials.

b. Checking the physical quantity of materials.

c. Preventing unauthorized entrance into the store room.

d. Maintaining the stock registers, entering therein all receipts, issues and balance of materials.

e. Checking and controlling losses due to theft, damage etc.

iv. Inventory Control:

Inventory control is an important function of materials management. The main objective of inventory controls is to keep the total cost associated with the inventory to a minimum. Inventory control includes deciding about the types of ordering system, fixing the safety stock limits, fixing up the reorder level and maximum/minimum stock level.

v. Receiving, Inspection and Dispatching:

The responsibility of receiving, inspection and dispatching department is to receive the materials when delivered by the suppliers. After receiving it, the quantity and quality must be checked. Production parts and materials are checked against blueprints and specifications. Non-production items are also reviewed. When once it is as per the specifications given, the goods will be accepted.

vi. Value Analysis and Standardization and Variety Reduction:

The value analysis and standardization offer greatest scope, in reducing the materials cost. It also reduces the number of varieties and also helps in finding the substitute for the materials at lesser cost.

vii. Materials Handling:

Materials handling is basically the movement of materials to various departments. Utilizing efficient handling of materials is a vital part of any industry as it provides a continuous flow of materials and reduces the stress of labour.

viii. Disposal of Scrap and Surplus Materials Preservation:

Finally the disposal of scrap and surplus must be done periodically to release the capital locked in those items.

Essay # 5. Essay on Inventory:

The dictionary meaning of inventory is ‘a list of goods’. In a wider sense, inventory can be defined as an idle resource, which has an economic value.

Inventory is a stock of direct or indirect material, from raw material to finished goods stocked in order to meet an unexpected future demand. In other words, inventory is a physical stock of goods kept for the future purposes.

In arty organization, inventory is of following four types:

a. Raw Materials Inventory.

b. Consumables and Spares.

c. Work in Progress Inventory.

d. Finished Products Inventory.

a. Raw Materials Inventory:

These may include all raw materials, components and assemblies used in the manufacture of a product;

b. Consumables and Spares:

These may include materials required for maintenance and day-to-day operation.

c. Work in Progress Inventory:

These are items under various stages of production not yet converted as finished goods;

d. Finished Products Inventory:

These are the finished goods, which are not yet sold or put into use.

Need of Maintaining Inventory :

Maintaining inventory is necessary because of the following reasons:

a. It helps in smooth and efficient running of an enterprise.

b. It helps to avoid stock-outs and shortages.

c. It provides service to customer at a short notice.

d. It helps in availing quantity discounts because of bulk purchasing.

e. It acts as a buffer stock when raw materials are received late.

f. It acts as a hedge against price increase and inflation. Since the prices of materials are consistently increasing, thus it is better to invest in inven­tories.

g. It provides protection against fluctuation in demand.

h. It helps in optimum use of all resources such as men, materials and machines.

i. It helps in reducing machine idle times by providing enough in process inventories at appropriate locations.

j. It helps in avoiding unnecessary wastage and blocking up of valuable working capital.

Inventory Costs :

The costs linked with inventory are:

i. Procurement Cost or Setup Cost.

ii. Inventory Carrying Cost or Stock Holding Cost.

iii. Shortage Cost or Stock Out.

i. Procurement Cost or Setup Cost :

Procurement cost includes all costs that do not vary with size of the order but are incurred each time an order is placed for procuring items.

These include costs of:

a. Receiving quotations.

b. Processing purchase requisition.

c. Follow up and expediting purchase order.

d. Receiving material and then inspecting it.

e. Processing vendor’s invoice.

Procurement cost is expressed in terms of Rs./order

ii. Inventory Carrying or Stock Holding Cost :

These are the costs incurred for carrying or holding inventory items in the warehouse.

a. Money or capital tied up in inventories.

b. Storage space.

c. Depreciation and deterioration.

e. Overheads (e.g., heating, lighting, security).

f. Obsolescence.

g. Theft/insurance.

Inventory carrying is expressed as percent/unit time (e.g., 10% per year) or Rs per unit item per unit time (e.g., Rs.10/item/year).

iii. Shortage or Stock out Cost :

Stock-out simply means the non-availability of the stock. These costs are associated with delay in meeting demands. This includes cost of loss of customer, loss of goodwill, loss of lagging behind in competition, loss through losing profit and incurring losses.

Essay # 6. Essay on the Systems of Inventory Control:

The following are the main inventory control systems:

(i) Fixed Order Quantity System or ‘Q’ System

(ii) Periodic Review System of Fixed Order Period System or ‘P’ System

(iii) Two-Bin System.

(i) Fixed Order Quantity System or ‘Q’ System :

In this system the order quantity is fixed for all the orders. A replenishment order of fixed size is placed when the stock level falls to the fixed reorder level. Thus a fixed quantity is ordered at variable intervals of time. EOQ is an example of the fixed-order-quantity system since the same quantity is ordered every time an order is placed.

In this system reorder point is calculated, so that when the stock level touches this point, an order for predetermined number of units is placed. This system of inventory management is also called the Q-system. It is presumed that the next lot shall arrive by the time the present depleting stock touches the safety stock, keeping a stable lead time and a stable usage rate. Often called Min-Max systems, these involve both a maximum and minimum inventory level at which reorders are generated.

Q-System

The Fig. 4.2 shows the working of a Q system. When EOQ is received at point A, the stock reaches point B. The stock starts consuming as the production process continues and when the stock reaches point C, then order is placed.

Advantages :

i. Each item is procured in the most economical quantity.

ii. An item is attended to only when it needs attention i.e. when its stock has reached the reorder level.

iii. Control can be exercised on inventory w.r.t. maximum and minimum levels.

Disadvantages :

i. Needs continuous monitoring of stock level of each item.

ii. This system is difficult to operate for items with unstable usage and lead time.

(ii) Periodic Review System of Fixed Order Period System or ‘P’ System :

The fixed-order-period system is used when orders have to be placed at fixed time intervals such as weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Orders are placed for each item equal to the difference between current inventory level and a predetermined maximum. This system requires periodic checks of inventory levels. By this method variable quantities are ordered at fixed time intervals.

The difference between the ‘Q’ and ‘P’ system is that, in case of Q system the size of order is fixed and the time is not and in case of P system, the time after which the quantity is ordered is fixed but the size of order is not fixed.

P System

The Fig. 4.3 shows the working of a ‘P’ system. The review intervals (t 1 , t 2 and t 3 ) are fixed and equal and the order quantity (Q 1 , Q 2 and Q 3 ) is allowed to vary.

i. This system is suitable for materials whose purchases can be planned months in advance and for materials which exhibit an irregular or seasonal usage pattern.

ii. This system is useful where ordering costs are small. This occurs when many different items are ordered from one source.

i. It compels periodic reviews of all items.

ii. This system is not effective to combat stock out situations.

iii. Actual ordering quantities may deviate from optimum quantity.

iv. There is no automatic trigger for reorder before the review time in the event of increased usage, which generally leads to increased inventory levels as a means of stock out prevention.

v. System does not permit effective use of economic order quantities.

(iii) Two-Bin System :

Two-bin system is an inventory ordering system in which two bins/containers of raw materials are available for use. One bin contains stock just enough to last from the date a new order is placed until it is received in inventory. The other bin contains a quantity of stock, enough to satisfy demand during period of replenishment.

To start with, the stock is issued from the first bin. When the first bin is empty, an order for replenishment is placed, and the stock in the second the is utilized until the ordered material is received. The two-bin is widely used handling low-value items.

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Material Handling Requirements Research Paper

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Introduction

Crane requirements, reference list.

Material handling is one of the most sensitive operations in construction. This is because it involves human capital which is the most valued and fragile resource that exists in any construction process. Proper material handling principles are very important as they ensure employee safety and thus cut potential costs in the form of accident covers and insurances.

In Melbourne for a person to work on a construction site, he has to be well trained on the proper material handling systems and accident prevention methods. The person should also be preferably trained by a certified construction school (Bailey, 1998).

Many injuries result from improper material handling. Back pains are caused by repetitive and heavy jobs in unnatural positions. This is the most common construction-related injury. Strains in the hands, legs and other parts of the body are caused by continuously working the body without allowing it time to recover. Accidents such as falls are also caused by improper material handling.

The Melbourne authorities have issued specific guidelines to all construction personnel to aid in their work:

Material lifting requirements

Loads should always be lifted when the back of the operator is straightened; all heavy loads should be lifted from a squat position. Personnel should always avoid lifting loads that are heavy; in such a case the operator should call for assistance or employ the use of lifting machinery. Lifting of loads from a low point should always be done using the legs, the legs should serve as a lifting mechanism to the operator at all times. Jerking motions and twisting motions while lifting or carrying a load is ill-advised (Chew, 2000). The construction personnel should be provided with grip aiding gloves and equipment so as to eliminate the possibility of accidents occurring.

Material carrying requirements

The operator should ensure that he can properly see where he is going and that his vision has not been obstructed by the load. While moving loads the operator should only use nonslippery and clean routes. In cases where the route is not clean, the operator should report the issue to the site supervisors.

Storage of materials

A comprehensive plan and system should be prepared as to how materials are to be stored. Logical systems on how materials, tools, and equipment are to be located are mandatory. This will enable easy retrieval and inventory keeping. Materials such as tiles, bricks, and plumbing supplies should be arranged in tiers and the tiers secured to prevent accidents.

Planning and design as pertains to material handling

Material movement pathways and routes should be carefully designed. They should be in such a way to minimize unnecessary movement and congestion of the pathways. Sufficient lighting and ventilation should also be considered when planning on where to locate the pathways. Steep gradients and slopes should be avoided as they tend to encourage the occurrence of accidents.

There are various requirements that have been set so as to govern the use of cranes in Melbourne. According to (Bailey 1998, pg 16) the first type of requirement is the manufacturer – user requirement. This highlights the mandate that the crane manufacturer bestows to the user and the responsibilities that each has.

Manufacturer – contractor requirements

The building contractor must adhere to the specifications of the crane. He should operate the crane below the maximum limit and is responsible for ensuring its proper use at all times. All crane capacities and their capable speeds and loads should be posted on the crane. The post should be visible to all users and operators. The contractor is responsible for ensuring that all staff that operates the machinery are properly trained. The staff should be continually assessed to verify if they qualify to operate the cranes. Eyesight and the ability to interpret sound are of utmost importance to all crane operators to avoid accidents. All cranes should be regularly checked and assessed for damages. Hour limits should be set for every working part of the crane and replacements should be done regardless of whether the part is worn out or not after the part has exceeded its working limit. Lastly, the contractor is bound not to make any modifications or adjustments to the cranes that would otherwise affect the performance or the safety of the cranes.

Crane inspection requirements

Pre-inspection is the first step in inspecting a crane. This is the gathering of data on the operator’s skill and the specifications of the crane. This should be done before the actual inspection. The crane setup should also be reviewed to assess the levelness of the ground in which the crane stands, the stability of the crane, and the structural integrity of the equipment as a whole. Electrical dangers and potential risks in the crane itself and the surrounding environment should be checked. Load charts are also made available to the operators and their ability to interpret the charts is also analyzed. (Jacobs, 2009)

There are two types of inspection; the first type is the frequent inspections which are done daily or monthly. These inspections are done at each shift by the operator before starting his machine. It involves the basic components of a crane. The second type is periodic inspection. Periodic inspections are done every one to twelve months and is done by qualified mechanical engineers. These are thorough and involve the replacement of worn-out parts.

Recommended types of crane for the project

No major construction process has ever been done by a single type of crane. This is because the construction process involves a collection of unique scenarios that require unique solutions. Each crane is suited to a certain type of load and movement. In Melbourne construction, there are several types of cranes that will be needed.

Tower cranes will be needed for lifting heavy loads to high altitudes. This crane is the most reliable type of crane and is suited to Melbourne construction. However, the main shortcoming of this crane is that it cannot be moved since it is fixed to the ground. The company will also need to invest heavily in the crane setup; it is costly and time-consuming.

Moveable cranes such as truck-mounted cranes will be needed to complement the tower crane where it lacks. The moveable cranes will be used for light lifting work and manipulation of the construction materials. The setup costs for the moveable trucks are low and they are easy to install.

Telescopic cranes should also be used in the construction as they can reach more areas as compared to truck-mounted cranes. These cranes have a boom that can be manipulated using controlled hydraulics by the operator. This will prove beneficial in the construction process ( Jacobs, 2009).

There are many types of cranes available locally in Australia and they can be easily acquired for construction activities.

Bailey, Ian., 1998. Construction Law in Australia . Australia: Lawbook Company.

Chew, M., 2000 . Construction technology for tall buildings . Singapore: National University of Singapore Press.

Jacobs, B., 2009. Tower Cranes . Mexico: ASME books.

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Material management essay

Materials management functions as materials planning and control, purchasing, inventory control, store keeping, material handling, warehousing, standardization & simplification and organization & appraisal of materials. 1) Materials planning and control: Material requirement lies at the core of successful material management. This function is at the core of all the material requirements in any manufacturing process. 2) Purchasing: This function identifies the sources of supply, does market research, call tenders and select suppliers, negotiate with them and makes available the raw materials

3) Inventory control: This function is responsible for the location and storage of materials so that they remain available at the minimum cost and quickest time. 4) Store keeping: This function is responsible for the receipt and issue of the materials. The materials are stored in such a way that minimum handling is required and wastage is minimal. 5) Material handling: This function aims at minimizing handling and provision of equipments for handling materials. This function is crucial for minimizing space requirements, effective distribution and for providing better working space.

6) Warehousing: This function is responsible for the storage facilities for the materials, weighing facilities, materials handling equipments, material distribution facilities, fire fighting instruments etc. 7) Standardization and simplification: This function selects items of great demand and sets the standards for quality, raw material, sizes and performance of any product. 8) Organization & appraisal of materials: This function helps in effective functioning by proving smooth flow. It provides coordination and avoids delays and wastages.

An integrated materials management system helps in taking judicious decisions that in turn leads to lower cost for materials. As our organization is having low inventory carrying costs, less stock outs etc. , it is bound to do well. Riordan has now become multidimensional in nature. Total materials management concept evolves to address this dimension and avoid conflicting objectives. Total material management helps in establishing accountability so that response to a problem is quick and appropriate. The material functions are accomplished in more coordinated ways with the help of this integrated approach.

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When this happens there is increased communication for the need of materials and hence our company will get lower costs, better inventory turnover, reduce stock outs and other significant benefits MATERIALS FLOW The aim of our organization is to manage Men, Machines, Money, Methods and Materials effectively. The purpose of this coordination is production of superior goods at minimal costs. Flow of materials from vendor/supplier to the warehousing/customer and the organization is abounded in information flow.

Materials and information both are extremely important and both should be readily available at a time when needed. The effectiveness of the materials flow is dependent on decision-information. Our organization will be able to control these two flows easily and effectively and finally it will definitely render goods products at a low cost and also would be able to offer good service. ADVANTAGES TO THE COMPANY Materials Management will serve core objectives and many secondary objectives. The core objectives are: • Proper, cost effective material procurement.

• Proper storage of materials so as to minimize wastages and material hold • Making available the material TIMELY. Besides these primary objectives a materials management system indirectly fulfills many secondary objectives also. Some of these secondary objectives are: • identifying new or better sources of supply • Development and sustenance of relationships with the vendors • Creating a standardized quality of the products • Performing the value analysis of inventory. This can be related to the cost of materials.

• Creating a smooth flow of materials and information among the various sections of materials management system. SUITABILITY OF THE WEST BUILDING STORE Stores play a vital role in the effective operations of a company. Incoming materials and supplies, in process goods, and finished goods are important assets to a business enterprise. In a majority of manufacturing organizations, materials constitute the major fraction of cost, i. e. , 40 to 80% of total cost. The cost of capital blocked in inventories is substantial.

Since production and consumption cycles rarely match, the success of our company in the business, besides other factors, depend largely on the process of efficient storage and material control of these assets in order to provide uninterrupted supply to the points of use or consumption and the store is the place for the operation of this process. Our company is concerned with carrying the right kind of materials or goods in right quantity neither in excess nor in short supply and also keeping it safe against any kind of deterioration, pilferage or theft.

Stores is the custodian of the organization’s money, as money is locked up in stocks. PROPOSED SETUP The suitability of the stores building is a crucial decision which has to be taken with utmost care as the process of relocation, once the facilities are installed and made operational, may be an expensive exercise. The present proposed building i. e. , the West Building is suitable in all respects as its optimal location will result in the following advantages: • Minimization of total transportation, handing and other related costs.

• Minimization of delays in providing materials and goods to the point of use. • Maximization of effectiveness of stores operations. • Conservation of efficiency of human, machine and equipment. • Better Facility planning. • Lending flexibility and adaptability to the company’s futuristic outlook. There are three kinds of items which are normally be procured to start functioning the new company’s warehouse. a) Raw materials used in production. b) Semi-finished goods part way through production process or work in progress.

c) Finished goods awaiting sale. In general, the problem of inventory is, if too much of stock is kept then it amounts to wasted cost. On the other hand, if too little stock is kept then it leads lost sales. Therefore, the ideal situation is to have stock at desired levels. Like any stock, inventory has inflow and outflow. Stock inflow is from new production or receipt of material from suppliers. Stock outflow is finished goods to customers or use of materials in the production process.

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    Material lifting requirements. Loads should always be lifted when the back of the operator is straightened; all heavy loads should be lifted from a squat position. Personnel should always avoid lifting loads that are heavy; in such a case the operator should call for assistance or employ the use of lifting machinery.

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