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Material Handling

Materials handling made easier with the right storage equipment

According to market research, material handling and storage costs can account for up to 55 percent of a business' indirect operating costs, though any business owner would want to reduce that number. Some companies that can help with this will specialize in material handling, some in storage, and some do both. All of them offer resources that can prevent those costs from rising to that 55 percent breaking point, paving the way for reduced costs and greater profits.

A top-notch material handling system relies not only on the best equipment, but also on the maximum use of storage space. Companies that provide material handling solutions and storage solutions are constantly coming up with new methods and ideas.

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Material Handling Solutions

How can material handling costs be reduced? For one thing, the materials themselves can be moved more effectively, both horizontally (by using flow racks, for example), and vertically (by making use of all the storage space in a warehouse). Order picking speed and accuracy can be improved. Materials can be made to flow more smoothly, errors can be minimized and even employee walking time around the warehouse can be reduced. On top of increased efficiency, a safer material handling solution and storage system can reduce injuries, and thus reduce worker compensation and production costs.

Reducing the Costs in Material Handling

Another way to cut costs for material handling and storage is to hire a consulting company. These companies analyze how many times a stored inventory item is handled in the warehouse, and they find ways to reduce that number. If a package goes through fewer hands, the risk for damage is reduced, and that can save money. Another example of material handling efficiency is seen in the growing popularity of warehouse mezzanines, which can bring more of the upper reaches of the facility into use. Why just be concerned with available floor space, when there is also perfectly good vertical space you could use?

Bulk Material Handling

Advances also have been made in bulk material handling equipment. With certain pieces of advanced equipment, it is said that a single employee can move up to 5,000 pounds of bulk material not only in warehouses, but on farms, mines, shipyards and oil refineries. Material handling carts also have been improved for easier and more productive use, in many cases adding sidewalls and screens in order to keep materials in a stable position.

Written by Michael Thompson