A vague concept to those outside the warehouse or industrial supplies businesses, materials handling is often considered to be the simple process of moving stuff around for the average layman. However, to a person whose job is related to ensure proper handling of goods and materials, has a great deal to say about handling the materials smoothly and efficiently since it is at the heart of their business.
Companies dealing with warehouse supply define materials handling on a broader aspect, as for them it is not just transportation or manipulation of materials. A warehouse is a dynamic system, like a machine, of whose all the parts are interlinked. Hence, everything that is linked to time-efficient and safe handling and storage of material is an integral organ of the whole warehouse.
For instance, a pallet rack is a stationary object, however, to the warehouse staff it is as essential as the forklift, which, to a layman is a more relevant equipment for material handling. A forklift changed how the goods were transferred and moved; almost revolutionizing the warehouse industry, however, to function without pallet racks would reduce its efficiency.
The industrial designers and engineers formed a link between the material stored on the pallet rack and the function that the pallet rack must adhere to, thus designing various types of pallet racks for different purposes. Pallets containing any perishable items, by law of nature need to be moved on a ‘first in, first out’ basis, thus the pallet flow racks have been engineered accordingly to allow gravity to move pallets in order of placement for efficient rotation of stock. On the contrary, the Selective pallet rack allows the forklift operator to choose from the different pallets and select whichever suits the need.
Forklifts, along with pallet racks are most essential for products to be moved into the warehouse, within the warehouse and out of it. However, there are also many more material handling operations requiring specialized supplies in the warehouse.
Something as trivial as a tape dispenser has an indispensable role to play in the process of packing the goods efficiently in different boxes. It must operate quickly and smoothly to optimize the time and effort while also ensuring the safety of the handler, eliminating any risk of injury. Safety, alongside efficiently are the most important factors for any material handling equipment, big or small.
To discuss of the heavier, potentially dangerous equipment, the problems of construction and design are obviously more complex. For instance, some warehouses cannot function efficiently in the absence of a vertical personnel lift however, this lift must be designed keeping in mind the safety of the operator without compromising on the ability to perform the job.
Material handling requires integration of working hands with the equipment that make the work an organized sector. Thus, everything from a small tape dispenser to vertical personal lifts must include in their definition safety and efficiency to become essential to material handling in warehouses.