Material handling is an essential part of manufacturing and logistics. Optimizing your material handling processes impacts the efficiency, safety, quality, and profitability of your operations.
Maximizing efficiency in material and logistic positions helps reduce costs and wastage. These reductions help your company stay competitive.
Implement these tips to maximize efficiency in material and logistic positions.
Create Your Material Handling Equipment Setup
The equipment you use impacts your material handling performance. This equipment may include automated and semi-automated systems, overhead and gantry cranes, turntables, and transfer trolleys.
You can use the strengths and limitations of each piece to customize the equipment according to your applications and scenarios:
- Automated machines perform repetitive tasks with speed and precision. However, the upfront and maintenance costs are high.
- Semi-automated machines combine human skills and efficiency. However, these machines often lack flexibility and scalability.
- Manual machines are cost-effective and easy to operate. However, these machines often have limited production and significant error rates.
- Blending automation and labor may be best for your material handling system setup.
Follow Material Handling Principles
Adherence to the following material handling principles can improve efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction:
- Use consistent unit loads throughout the supply chain. Your unit loads may consist of pallets, crates, boxes, or containers. Maintaining consistency in these loads should reduce handling time and minimize damage, loss, and inventory costs.
- Minimize your movement distances. Optimizing the flow of materials within or between facilities saves time, energy, fuel, and labor costs. Creating the shortest routes and using conveyors, robots, and other automated systems help transport materials faster, more reliably, and with fewer delays.
- Maximize your use of space. Vertical or horizontal storage systems that optimize height or width can increase your storage capacity. Also, modular or adjustable storage systems can adapt to different material sizes or shapes. The result is higher storage capacity, improved safety, lower waste, and reduced overhead costs.
Optimize Your Material Handling Processes
Continuously improve your material handling processes with these tips:
- Measure and assess your current processes. Collect and analyze the data to uncover areas for improvement. Your metrics may include throughput time, cycle time, order accuracy, inventory turnover, labor productivity, or equipment utilization.
- Implement continuous improvement. Regularly monitor and evaluate your material handling processes to ensure they reach your goals and standards. Also, implement preventative measures and corrective actions as needed. Additionally, use lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, or related tools for improvement.
- Standardize your components. Ensure the materials, equipment used to handle them, employees who operate the equipment, procedures followed, and documentation created are consistent and compatible with each other. This standardization reduces confusion, errors, delays, and costs.
- Leverage time and space. Schedule your material movement according to demand and capacity. For instance, coordinate with your suppliers and customers to avoid peak hours or congestion. Also, optimize the layout and design of your facility or vehicle to avoid clutter or empty spaces.
- Automate your material handling processes where possible. Automation increases the speed, accuracy, reliability, and safety of your movement. The technology also reduces human errors, injuries, labor costs, and environmental impacts.
Find Your Next Material and Logistic Employee
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