Tuesday, 9 January 2007
20 Principles of Material Handling
These principles are guidelines for the application of sound judgment. Some principles are in conflict with others, so only the situation being designed will determine what is correct. The principles will be a good checklist for improvement opportunities.
1. Planning Principle
All material handling and storage activities need to be planned to obtain maximum overall operating efficiency. Material handling planning considers every move, every storage need and any delay in order to minimize production costs.
2. System Principle
The system concept is that all material handling equipment should work together so that everything fits. The system principle integrates as many steps in the process as possible into a single system from the vendor through your plant and out to your customers. It is to integrate as many handling activities as is practical into a coordinated system of operations, covering vendor, receiving, storage, production, inspection, packaging, warehousing, shipping, transportation and customer.
An example will be a oil company purchased plastic bottles from an outside manufacturer. The bottles were packaged in a carton of 12 with separators in between. These cartons were placed on a pallet and shipped out to the company’s oil bottling plant. In the plant, the bottles were dumped onto a filing line and filled with oil. The empty cartons was conveyed to the packout end of the filing line and repacked with 12 bottles, closed, stacked on a pallet and shipped to the customer.
3. Material Flow Principle
It is to provide an operation sequence and equipment layout optimizing material flow.
4. Simplification Principle
Using Cost Reduction Formula to simplify handling (Eliminate, combine and reduce unnecessary movement and/or equipment).
5. Gravity Principle
There are many ways to make use of gravity to move materials between workstations. Thus, utilize gravity to move material wherever possible.
6. Space Utilization Principle
It is to make optimum utilization of the cubic capacity of the warehouse. Racks, mezzanines and overhead conveyors are a few of the material handling equipments that maximize space utilization.
7. Unit Size Principle
Strength, durability, versatility, weight, size, cost and ease of use must all be considered when choosing a unit load. It is to increase the quantity, size, or weight of unit loads or flow rate.
8. Mechanization Principle
It is to add power to eliminate manual moving. Mechanization implies the use of mechanical tools to aid in the movement of material.
9. Automation Principle
Automatic storage and retrieval systems place material into storage racks automatically and remove it when needed. Many machines are automatic because material handling equipment loads and unloads the machine. Automation is the way of the future, thus even users of the manual system must consider when it can be justified. Provide automation to include production, handling and storage functions.
10. Equipment Selection Principle
In selecting handling equipment consider all aspects of the material being handled – the movement and the method to be used.
11. Standardization Principle
It is to standardize handling methods as well as types and sizes of handling equipment. Cost of material handling systems can be grouped into two categories: the cost of ownership of the system (includes the initial purchase price and the subsequent maintenance costs) and the cost of operation of the system (includes cost of training personnel to use the system safely, energy cost and other direct and indirect costs associated with the use of the system). An example will be choosing a material handling equipment and stay with that brand, type and size because spare parts inventory, maintenance and operation of this equipment will be most cost efficient.
12. Adaptability Principle
Use methods and equipment that can best perform a variety of tasks and applications where special purpose equipment is not justified. Examples will be the purchasing of standard size pallets that will handle a range of parts and purchasing of storage equipments that can store a wide variety of products. In this way, change will be less costly.
13. Dead Weight Principle
Do not buy equipment that is bigger than necessary. Tare weight refers to the weight of the packaging material. Products are packaged to prevent damage while moving. However, packaging is expensive and it costs as much as the product to ship this tare weight. Thus, the goal is to reduce the tare weight and save money.
14. Utilization Principle
Material handling equipment and operators should be used fully. Identifying the work required, the number of times per day and the time required per move will help manage the workload of both labour and equipment. Plan for optimum utilization of handling equipment and manpower.
15. Maintenance Principle
Material handling equipment must be maintained. Preventive maintenance (periodic and planned) is cheaper than emergency maintenance. Hence, a preventive maintenance program including schedules must be developed for each piece of material handling equipment.
Pallets, storage facilities need to be repair. Missing slats on pallets can cause product damage and safety problems. Thus, plan for preventive maintenance and scheduled repairs of all handling equipments.
16. Obsolescence Principle
As equipment wears out, good maintenance records will help identify worn-out equipments. Replace obsolete handling methods and equipment when more efficient methods or equipment will improve operations.
17. Control Principle
Materials are costly and material handling systems can be a part of the inventory control system. With the aid of technology (e.g. conveyor, RFID, barcode), quality inspection, inventory control and item tracking can be incorporated into the material handling systems. It will reduce or eliminate the need to count or track the material physically. A good material handling system allows a tremendous savings in operation time and significant improved costs, accuracy and reliability. Hence, use material handling activities to improve control of production inventory and order handling.
18. Capacity Principle
Use handling equipment to help achieve desired production capacity.
19. Performance Principle
It is to determine effectiveness of handling performance in terms of expense per unit handled. Material handling labour moves material and a measurement of output could be units of materials moved. Input is labour hours. Therefore, productivity can be improved by increasing the units of material moved or reducing the labour hours.
Performance of material handling can also be calculated by ratios:
Percent of Material Handling = (material handling hours)/(total labour hours)
Performance includes a lot more than labour. Segregating material handling cost from total operation costs would result in a better ratio.
20. Safety Principle
Manual handling is probably the most dangerous method of material handling. Material handling equipment can also be a source of safety problems, so safety methods, procedures and training must be part of any material handling plan. It is management responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Safety considerations must be a major factor in selecting material handling equipment. Therefore, it is important to provide suitable methods and equipment for safe handling.
Material Handling Equipment