It is vital to follow best practices when developing a material handling system to ensure that all equipment and procedures function as a cohesive system in a facility.
1.Planning: Define the needs, strategic performance objectives and functional specification of the proposed system and supporting technologies at the outset of the design. The plan should be developed in a team approach, with input from consultants, suppliers and end users, as well as from management, engineering, information systems, finance and operations
2.Get the right tools: You might have a plethora of items of material handling equipment but you have to choose the right one for ensuring maximum efficiency. Consider both the pros and cons of the tool you want to use ,then only carry out the work .For simplicity, begin by asking:
- How sensitive is your handling of the materials?
- What are you going to do with them?
- How many times are the materials required to move?
- Are the goods that you store perishable or not?
3.Ensure smooth functioning of the process: Make sure forklifts, pallet jacks and motorized pallet trucks are managed smoothly between the lanes of storage racks, which could otherwise cause tail backs and increase the chance of accidents.
The production facility should have certain rules that everyone should adhere to ,such as having separate lanes for placement and retrieval of items of storage.
4.Well Trained personnel: To achieve maximum efficiency ,you must train all your employees about how to use these material handling equipment so that in case any employee doesn’t show up ,another can take up his place. Additionally, Reference sheets, posters can be made handy so that employees do not have to hunt for a handbook.
5.Unit load: Because it takes less effort and labor to transport several goods together under one load, unit loads–such pallets, containers, or totes of products –should be utilized instead of moving multiple items at a time.
6.Space usage: To maximize the effective use of space in a facility, work areas should remain ordered and uncontrolled, density in stock areas should be maximized (without compromise accessibility and flexibility) and overhead space should be used.
7.Systems: Material movement and storage across all operations, including reception, inspection, storage, manufacture, assembly, packing, unifying and order selection, transport and processing of the returns should be synchronized.
8.Automation: Automated material handling techniques should be implemented wherever practicable to increase operational efficiency, responsiveness, consistency and predictability.
9.Cost of life cycle: An analysis of life cycle costs should be performed for all equipment selected for the system. Capital investment, installation, set-up, programming, training,
testing, operation, maintenance and repair, reuse value and final disposal should be considered.
10.Hear out to those who work on the ground: if you listen your employees will step up. Having an inclusive company culture where people bring in ideas has been linked with greater productivity, employee retention and innovation. You have to hear from the individuals who really work on your factory floor if you want to ensure that your processes are running as effectively as possible. They will offer suggestions on how to enhance procedures and may even come up with some fantastic thoughts that you never had.