Business

What Is Material Handling?

Are you interested in a career in material handling? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US should see a 3 percent growth in material handler jobs through 2029, with over 4 million jobs opening up in the next ten years.

But what is material handling? What does a material handler do?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about material handling.

What is Material Handling? 

Material handling involves moving items within a short distance- generally, within the scope of a building. Moving these items requires using a variety of equipment, including automated, semi-automated, and manual equipment. Some of the equipment used in material handling includes:

  • Conveyors
  • Controllers
  • Dock equipment
  • Software
  • Racks
  • Industrial robots
  • Hoisting equipment
  • Wheels and casters

The material handling process also involves the protection, movement, storage, and control of materials. Material handling typically takes place in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing shop floors, and material disposal facilities.

No matter what type of facility you’re working in, material handling is an important part of the process. You can check out Arbor Material Handling to learn more about the material handling process.

The Material Handling Process 

The material handling process consists of four dimensions that impact the flow of production. These dimensions include movement, time, quantity, and space.

The movement dimension involves moving the product from receiving to outgoing. The time dimension refers to how long a product sits in storage, and the quantity dimension refers to how many product items can be stored in a certain space.

Lastly, the space dimension refers to the amount of allotted space available.

The Importance of Material Handling 

Why is the material handling process so important?

Material handling improves the efficiency of your business by forcing the logistics system to quickly respond to inter-company and consumer requirements. Material handling plays a very important role in outbound logistics, as it affects the movement of goods, the time it takes to locate stock, the accuracy of filling orders, and how rapidly orders are prepared for shipment.

How to Become a Material Handler 

To become a material handler, you’ll need at least a high school diploma. Generally speaking, you should have a few years of experience working in a warehouse before you apply for a job as a material handler.

For some positions, you may also need a certification to ride a forklift. As a material handler, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Identifying and labeling materials
  • Loading and unloading materials
  • Operating forklifts, trucks, and cranes
  • Complying with warehouse safety regulations and guidelines

To be a successful material handler, you also need to be a good team player and have a willingness to work flexible hours, including nights and weekends.

Material Handling: Time to Start Your Career 

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is material handling?”, you should have a better idea of whether or not this is the right career for you. As you can see, material handlers play a very important role in warehouse logistics, so it can definitely be a fulfilling career.

Be sure to check back in with our blog to learn more about material handling.