The market volume of material handling equipment has been on the rise encompassing about 1.5 million units in 2019 up from 974,000 units in 2011. These numbers point to a rapidly and consistently growing market. This growth combined with the fact that material handling comprises more than 20% of the U.S economy, means that there has never been a better time to adopt these solutions.
Below we look at some of the benefits of using material handling equipment.
1. Save Money
With decreasing profit margins within the construction industry, saving money is a big consideration for logistics and manufacturing projects. Material handling equipment may initially be costly but is a huge money saver in the long run. Using such equipment delivers products more efficiently without stretching the budget or adding more manpower.
Reducing the number of people needed to sort, ship, and handle items not only saves money but dramatically reduces the time it takes to ship a package. What this means is that work gets done faster with less people.
Equipment such as robotic delivery systems help with load consolidation and route planning, which helps save on resource expenditures.
2. Maximize Space
Space within the production floor is important for ease of movement of staff, products, and equipment. Storage and handling equipment such as stackable frames help maximize space on the production floor as they help with holding products that are not being transported. In turn, this saves on storage space and maximizes space utilization on the production floor.
Using storage equipment such as stackable frames means materials can be stacked higher resulting in more space on the facility floor. Equipment such as Automated storage & Retrieval Systems (ASRS) that help with inventory storage and retrieval also maximize floor space by storing large volumes of material within a small footprint.
3. Decrease Product Damage
Manual movement of materials or products across the facility floor could result in product damage if the materials are not handled carefully.
Requiring facility staff to lift and transport goods manually increases the risk of product damage. For instance, this could happen when one accidentally drops products, hence destroying them. This is where material handling equipment comes in, delivering products safely thereby decreasing product damage. This is also a money saver for the facility since damaged products could prove to be costly if the facility is required to replace and ship them all over again.
An example of such equipment would be forklifts that are meant to lift heavy materials, protecting them from accidental drops and damage.
4. Improved Customer Service
Shorter shipping and delivery times translates to more business and happier customers. Using material handling equipment ensures faster production and delivery times facilitating faster order fulfillment.
Ensuring that customers receive their shipments on time and undamaged, not only helps maintain the customer base but brings in new business through customer referrals.
5. Increase Work Efficiency and Productivity
Staying competitive within manufacturing sector (predicted to have a 1.9% growth in 2021), requires increased efficiency for operations and logistics. Incorporating material handling solutions is one way to increase efficiency as it enables workers to focus on one project at a time. Without having to do everything at once, workers can prioritize projects which improves productivity.
Material handling systems also increase efficiency of floor staff through automating labor. Consequently, workers are able to accomplish more work in less time. These systems are also able to increase the unit load by reducing the number of trips in a warehouse facility.
Material handling solutions not only increase work efficiency but also productivity. When workers are forced to handle bulk materials, they experience fatigue which often decreases productivity. Material handling equipment increases productivity by taking this burden off the workers’ shoulders. Equipment such as automated conveyer belts also increase productivity by speeding up the manufacturing speed and cycle.
6. Reduce Accidents in Facilities
Much of the material moved across a facility floor is heavy and comes in bulk. Manually moving such materials can not only result in product damage but also in employee injuries .
The construction industry is already known to present many hazards to its workers resulting in a higher injury rate compared to other industries. Construction activities such as lifting heavy and bulk materials could potentially cause lifelong injuries.
Reducing the number of materials to be handled manually reduces the number of potential back and hand injuries. Therefore, opting for material handling solutions is a measure that can help improve the safety of facility workers.
Systems such as automated conveyer belts use integrated automation to move materials around the manufacturing facility with little manual effort. As the unit load increases, lift trucks mitigate the risk of employees overexerting themselves in the event that the total weight exceeds their physical limitations.
7. Attract employees and Improve Worker Satisfaction
Implementing ideal material handling systems that keep workers safe will help attract good quality workers. This type of environment also attracts high caliber employees with experience and training to handle such systems.
Employees are also able to perform tasks with confidence since these systems help ensure accuracy, control, and safety. In turn,. this promotes a positive workplace culture and a higher level of employee satisfaction.
Incorporating material handling equipment means that workers will have an easier time performing their job. They will be able to prioritize projects and accomplish more in a shorter period, promoting not only their satisfaction levels but also their productivity. When inventory is at the right place at the right time, workers are not forced to search for misplaced items. Employees also do not have to deal with damaged products which could result in frustration and lower morale.
Learn more about material handling equipment and how they can be implemented in any manufacturing and logistics project.