Material Handling is the movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption and disposal. That is a mouthful. But, as many of you know by learning this industry and trying to teach it, there could be volumes upon volumes of literature to try to encompass it. (And there is already.) So can we simplify it for new comers to the industry? Is it possible to create an adequate shortcut to make it easier for new employees and sales people to navigate these waters without becoming instantly ‘grounded’.
I don’t have that answer, but maybe this short blog (by a guy who just started in this industry as well) can help.
Material Handling Defined
When moving materials and products from one location to another, whether inside a warehouse or onto a truck to be shipped, this is what we define as “Material Handling” (or MH). Our people and our product are our livelihood. So we need to make sure that we are moving safely and under control, while seeking to do so as efficiently as possible. The quicker we move product, the more product moves. And the more product moves, the more profit we enjoy. However, we need to balance that efficiency with the safety of our employees because without them, the whole production comes crashing down.
So How Does this Industry Provide for these Basic Needs?
The moving process is sometimes labeled as Logistics, though this term can also be used in reference to the actual shipping process. It can also refer to the whole process of moving, storing and supplying or redistributing product. Whatever you choose to call it, however, moving product and materials is vital to the MH Industry. Some of the equipment and products we might use to efficiently ‘move’ our products include:
Forklifts, Conveyors, Machine Bases and Tables, Cranes and Hoists
But also include newer and more advanced products like Auto-Storage Retrieval Units (Like turning your warehouse into a vending machine) or Automated Guided Vehicles (AVGs).
Safety and Protection
Keeping your employees and staff safe is ESSENTIAL to any good business. And Keeping your product safe is important too. MH Industry leaders across the board, agree. And so, nearly all of them dedicate multiple pages on their websites to products that promote and maintain important safety practices! In 2019, companies reported t5,333 deaths in warehouse, work-related incidents. And there were 79 recorded forklift-related deaths in the work place in the United States.
Safety is hugely important. Some products we sell to keep our products, and more importantly our employees safe include:
Guard Rails and Barrier Systems, Safety Tape for Floors, Spill Containment
But also include some of the most state of the art equipment. Outfit your entire Warehouse with warning lighting for when a forklift or pedestrian are passing between aisles or crossways. Checkout our Warning Lights & Dock Door Monitors or our Height Awareness Sensors to keep from clipping a low hanging opening.
Protect your people because a safety system costs less than one of their lives!
Storage and Packaging
Typically, two separate categories, together they make up a huge portion of this industry. And everything in the industry seems to relate closely if not directly with them. These include the bulk of our products including Pallets, Containers, Dunnage (which is the stuff used to keep product in position while inside any given container), Cabinets and Shelving.
Outside of these, and something that sets some of us apart from the rest, is the fact that we do Custom Products. for example, a customer needs a pallet that is larger than average to fit a specific product on it. Let’s say a 50″ X 50″. And the product is too heavy for a conventional pallet, so it needs to be made stronger than conventional means. Our team comes together and creates the product that company needs. We have done this for fortune five hundred companies, international companies and even some large but local companies. Reach out and see how we can help you by building something custom for your needs!
The Warehousing Facility
This is where you would need to look to outfit your warehouse with all of the essentials as far as the facility itself is concerned. Think about the huge concrete room with nothing in it. Before you add shelving for products, or products themselves, what do you need to do to get it ready? Well, this could be anything from Dock Equipment to Mezzanines for more storage space, Modular Offices, Industrial Stairways and Landings and even Air Curtains to keep bugs out and your air conditioning in!
These products help maintain safety as well as save money. They also come with peace of mind guaranteed when the Dock Master or Warehouse Manager doesn’t have to fight to solve an issue like a truck not being tall enough to reach the Platform. They can worry about the things that matter, like being sure orders going out and coming in are correct and documented.
Lastly, a part of Material Handling we don’t discuss quite often enough… the other services we provide. This is another piece of a company that may differ among the industry, but it is one that helps us to connect to and enhance the needs of customers and clients.
These could include Container Modifications and Repairs, Cleaning used Dunnage, Pallets and Containers, Installation Services and much much more.
When you truly help a customer, they will want to help you. Customers are most loyal to the ones who loyally care.
In a nut shell, this is what the Material Handling Industry is… what we are. It isn’t an exhaustive blog because the industry is never exhausted. Let’s continue to grow WITH the industry and never against it – As we look forward to a brighter tomorrow!!
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