Material Handling Systems Explained

Material handling is one of those terms that we may have heard in passing without fully understanding it. We may have a vague idea of what it entails, but many don’t think about it much beyond that. However, material handling systems are incredibly important to the way our society functions.

That might sound grandiose, but it’s true. Everything you see on a store shelf has gone through a material handling system. This is also true for the materials those shelves are made from. In fact, most things you come into contact with have gone through the supply chain with the help of a material handling system.

But what is the supply chain? And what are material handling systems? Let’s look into the specifics of how these systems propel our everyday lives.

What Are Material Handling Systems?

To understand this question, we have to first understand the supply chain. To put a complicated system simply, the supply chain is a series of processes that encompass everything from the production to the distribution of a product. This essentially means it covers the trip a product takes from the factory to your doorstep.

The supply chain is made up of several different stages. First, raw materials are sourced by a supplier, which are then put into production. These products are frequently sent to a storage facility before they are moved by a distributor to either the direct consumer or a sales facility which then connects with the consumer.

This process from manufacturing to consumption by the consumer is performed through material handling systems. There are various factors that go into this process, including the protection, control, storage, and movement of the materials and products. This is done throughout their journey from manufacturing, to warehousing, to distribution, and to the ultimate consumer.

The supply chain is the path products take to get to you. Material handling systems are the mechanisms that take them there. And even beyond that, material handling is also involved in the disposal of these materials.

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How It Works

Because of the fact that material handling systems cover many different services within the supply chain, there are various mechanisms and services used to complete their specific tasks. If you think about the differences between manufacturing, storage, and transportation, you can see why this is necessary.

And with the continuing advancements in technology come the evolution of the tools and equipment used to complete these tasks. This increases efficiency which is good for both the consumer and the supplier. The consumer is able to receive their product sooner, and the supplier is able to make the process more efficient and reduce overhead costs.

Automation

This can be used in many stages throughout the supply chain, but not all. Automation is currently used in the warehousing stage for gathering and assembling orders. Companies like Amazon are working on using automation for their home deliveries, but still need more time to perfect the practice. Driverless vehicles have been in production for years, but they are still working to perfect the technology, as well.

Assisted Working Equipment

Much of the work can be done with human power, but the assistance of technology makes it much more efficient. This includes the use of lifting equipment, conveying equipment, storage equipment, and ergonomic equipment to increase safety.

Information Technology

The ability to track products is an essential aspect of material handling systems. Orders can be filled much quicker when the exact location of items within a warehouse is known. This also allows real-time updates to consumers as to when they can expect their products to arrive. Information saves time, and time is money. Efficient processes rely on adequate information. The systems will only continue to grow more efficient as information becomes more readily available.

Sustainable Green Solutions

A focus on sustainability has arisen in the last few years. This is due to many different factors—public perception, environmental impact, and legislation. But aside from that, sustainable practices can actually save companies money. Practices such as load consolidation and route planning optimize efforts in the distribution section of material handling systems. This not only diminishes the effect on the environment, but also saves on resources used by the company.

All of these efforts help companies improve resource allocations and product planning. This enhances product visibility and tracking while ensuring quick and accurate delivery services.

Outsourcing Material Handling

3PL stands for third-party logistics. This is becoming an increasingly popular way for companies to navigate the supply chain and make use of professionals with well-established material handling systems. DCS Innovations helps companies with automated warehouse services to streamline their storage needs.

Are you in need of an efficient storage material handling systems? Visit DCS Innovations and see how they can help you today.