Overview of Material Handling: Definition, Function, and objectives of material handling.


Overview Of Material Handling

In a company that produces physical commodities, people transferring materials and finished goods from one location to another is a familiar sight. Raw materials must be transported from suppliers to a location where they can be utilized in production. Final goods are similarly placed into trucks and transported to their final destination. Material handling is, without a doubt, one of an organization’s most important activities.

As a result, a business must learn about the most effective strategies to achieve optimum production.

Learn about material handling, its types, purposes, and concepts in this article.

Definition of Material Handling

Material handling is the transfer of materials or products from one location to another within an organization, as well as the flow of materials or products to or from vehicles. The actions are normally limited to within an organization’s borders. Transportation activity, which is not included in material handling activities, is the moving of materials from one organization to another.

It’s not only about the flow of materials. It also entails the storage, protection, and control of materials as they move through various departments such as a warehouse, production, and manufacturing. It is one of the most important responsibilities for businesses to complete. Before it can be used for manufacturing or shipped to retail establishments, a poorly treated material becomes garbage.

Because of the lack of technology in the past, it was mostly done manually. As a result, there were a lot of accidents when handling materials. Almost all work is now done utilizing automation or semi-automation, thanks to the development of technology. Technology has not only reduced the number of accidents but has also made work more efficient.

Material Handling Processes Definition:

Material handling is the science and art of receiving, packing, storing, and transporting any type of material.

Objectives of Materials Handling Processes

Material handling is one of the most important tasks that take place in a company. Material handling accounts for a significant amount of a company’s total operating costs.

As a result, the major goals of the material handling process can be considered obtaining the lowest cost and greatest production.

  1. Using a material handling system, you can save money.

The first and most important goal of material handling is to reduce production costs. Because material procurement, storage, and movement account for a significant amount of total production costs. The importance of the material in the manufacturing process cannot be overstated.

If the material is not delivered in adequate quantity and on time, the manufacturing process will come to a halt. As a result, material management is given top priority. Companies are continuously on the lookout for new ways to make better use of their resources.

The cost of production can be significantly decreased by employing sophisticated procedures.

  1. Material waste is reduced.

Another major priority of a company is the reduction of material waste. Sometimes the stuff is thrown away due to insufficient storage, and other times it is thrown away while being moved from one location to another.

Appropriate material handling takes into account not only the transportation of material but also the placement of appropriate orders, the usage of material at the proper time, keeping the appropriate quantity of inventory, and moving material with improved skills and safety.

All of this is taken care of to minimize material waste. Furthermore, lesser material wastage results in cheaper expenses. As a result, the company’s profit margin will improve.

  1. Working conditions have improved.

All moving and storage tanks were done manually before the introduction of technology. These responsibilities were delegated to specific laborers. They were in charge of the entire loading and unloading process.

Because of the terrible working conditions, there are a lot of accidents on the job. People executing the work are also protected by proper and well-thought-out material handling.

  1. Distribution was improved.

The delivery of finished items to retailers and wholesalers is referred to as distribution. Poor packing and storage cause a lot of material to be damaged during shipment.

It aids in the prevention of product damage during shipping and handling. Furthermore, it is concerned with the material’s storage location. The odds of material being harmed in the storage house were minimized thanks to an appropriate storage placement.

  1. Warehouse capacity has been increased.

The cost of storage is also factored into the final product’s pricing. The ability to store items in a warehouse is referred to as warehouse capacity. To maximize warehouse capacity, it’s critical to pay attention to the warehouse layout, flooring, and aisle space.

Warehouse capacity optimization also aids in lowering total manufacturing costs.

  1. Material flow has improved.

When the material enters the company as raw material at the moment it is needed and exits as finished items, it is said to have a smooth flow of material. When the material is not accessible when it is needed for production or is damaged rather than being used for production, the material flow is disrupted.

It is concerned with the organization’s seamless material movement. It promotes material circulation within the organization, resulting in material remaining in the warehouse for less time and being utilized for production as soon as possible.

  1. Utilization of all equipment

The manufacturing process necessitates the employment of costly machinery and equipment. Because of improper material handling, this equipment does not work to its full potential.

Because the speed at which the material is supplied and received is crucial to the equipment’s performance. As a result, material handling aids in the maximum exploitation of the equipment’s capacity.

  1. Occupational safety

Last but not least, workers’ safety is a priority. Poor material handling can lead to manufacturing accidents, which are extremely dangerous for factory workers.


The principles that you will learn in this section are used to design material management methods. The principles are as follows:

  • The cost concept is to encourage the use of as little money as possible when managing goods.
  • The goal of computerization is to maximize the use of computers and automation as materials.
  • Principle of Energy Consumption: This principle is concerned with energy consumption.
  • The ergonomic principle is to determine the human limitations and capacities to complete the task.
  • The ecological principle is to ensure that material handling work has the least possible influence on the environment.
  • Principle of Flexibility: To encourage the adoption of tools and processes that can be employed in a variety of work situations.
  • Gravity Principle: To encourage people to think about gravity when handling items.
  • The layout concept is concerned with the sequence in which material handling procedures are performed.
  • The maintenance principle is used to ensure that machines and devices used in material handling are properly maintained and repaired regularly.
  • Mechanization principle: The deployment of mechanization methods to speed up work and reduce human effort is referred to as the mechanization principle.
  • Before embarking on preliminary planning, it is necessary to investigate existing procedures and challenges.
  • Planning principles: Include basic requirements and alternate materials handling procedures in your planning.
  • The standardization concept promotes the standardization of tools and techniques.
  • The simplification principle is concerned with making the material handling process as straightforward as possible.
  • Principle of space utilization: The principle of space utilization advocates the most efficient use of available space.
  • System Concept: In materials handling, the system principle is concerned with material and storage activities.
  • The system flow principal deals with the integration of physical material flow and data flow.
  • The safety principle is concerned with the laws and regulations governing the safety of workers in the materials handling industry.


It is critical since material handling costs account for a significant amount of the manufacturing cost. With good handling, the cost of production can be decreased to an extraordinary level.

Furthermore, the material must travel to various locations before being turned into finished goods. As a result, improper handling can cause materials to be damaged before they can be turned into finished goods. The cost of damaged goods is also added to the manufacturing costs, reducing the organization’s ultimate profit.

When it comes to the safety of the organization’s employees as well as the safety of the machinery and equipment utilized in the manufacturing process, material handling plays a key role. Workers are in charge of loading and moving materials throughout the company.

Poor material handling can lead to mishaps during this procedure, resulting in damage to the material as well as an increased risk to the workers’ lives. As a result, it is important for the sake of the organization’s employees as well as to reduce production costs.

Types of Material Handling

Because of technological advancements, the types of material handling have evolved. In this section, I’ll go through many types of material handling that are used in businesses to receive, store, and transport materials around.

Let’s take a look at different sorts of material handling in the sequence in which they were introduced to the industry.

  1. Material processing by hand

Manual material handling is the first method utilized for material movement. The workers are responsible for the entire movement’s work in this form of handling. Workers use their hands to lift, carry, deliver, and empty the material container. This sort of material handling is a time-consuming way of material movement that causes production delays and prevents efficient machines from operating at maximum capacity.

Manual handling not only slows down production but also poses a risk to the people who perform it. They perform a great deal of physical labor, which has an impact on their health. Workers’ shoulders and lower backs get strained, affecting not just their work capacity but also the organization’s general work capability. Furthermore, because they undertake a lot of physical work, they are prone to accidents.

Workers are sometimes gravely hurt in accidents and suffer life-long injuries. This is bad for the workers since they lose their ability to make a living, and it also adds to the company’s financial burden.

  1. Semi-automated material handling:

Semi-automated material handling refers to when workers do material handling tasks with the assistance of machinery, such as trollies and trams. In the early days of technological adoption, semi-automation becomes prevalent in the industry. It’s a good manual handling substitute. Semi-automation not only decreased workers’ physical labor but also accelerated manufacturing.

Workers in semi-automated handling handle the loading and unloading manually, but instead of carrying the material on their backs or holding it in their hands, they can transport it using trollies or trams.

It is cost-effective for a business since it employs a smaller number of individuals to complete the same amount of work. Furthermore, it minimizes the rate of mishaps in the company, resulting in fewer medical expenses for the firm.

  1. Automated material handling:

The automated material handling system is the next type. Manual labor is reduced or eliminated with automated handling. Work is done by machines and robots in automated handling. Robots have fully supplanted manual labor. Most industries in wealthy countries, such as Japan, have replaced their staff with worker robots.


Material handling is a significant part of any business. Every business owner, as well as his concerned team needs to be aware of different aspects of material handling to ensure optimum efficiency and maximum productivity.

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