Many types of materials, viz., raw materials, purchased components, materials-in-process (i.e. semi-finished goods), finished goods, packaging materials, maintenance and repair supplies, scrap and waste and rejects or rework are used and handled in manufacturing organizations. These materials are of various size, shape and specific features. The characteristics of the materials to be used in production are determined by product design decisions. The layout of facilities is directly affected by the nature of these materials. For example, large and bulky materials, heavy materials, fluids,
solids, flexible and inflexible materials and materials requiring special handling to protect them from conditions such as heat, cold, humidity, light, dust, flame and vibration affect the layout of facilities for handling, storing and processing
Definition of Materials Handling
Materials handling is defined as the art and science of moving, packaging and storing of substances in any form.
Other definitions include:
(a) Creation of time and place utility
Movement and storage of material at the lowest possible cost through the use of proper methods and equipments.
b.Lifting, shifting and placing of material which effect a saving in money, time and place.
c. Art and science of conveying, elevating positioning, transporting, packaging and storing of materials.
d.Functions of Material Handling.
General electric company (G.E.C.) based at U.S.A. who are leaders in the field of materials management listed the function of materialse handling under following heads:
(1) Planning and programming for materials purchase.
(2)Stores and inventory control.
(3) Receiving and issue of the material.
(4) Disposal of wastage
(6) Transportation and material handling.
Scope of Materials Handling
The scope of materials handling activity within an organization depends on the type of the product manufactured, the size of the organization, the value of the product and the value of the activity being performed and the relative importance of materials handling to the enterprise.
There are three perspectives about materials handling, viz.:
(a) The traditional point of view,
(b)Plant-wide concern for overall flow of materials.
(C) The systems point of view.
In the traditional point of view of materials handling, the emphasis is on the movement of materials from one location to another within the confines of the individual plant.
The concern is to find the best way to move the materials from one place to another within the plant. Plant wide concern focuses the attention on the overall flow of material in
the plant. The main concern is the inter-relationships be tween all handling problems and the possibility of establishing an overall materials handling plan. The systems point of view of material handling requires visualization of materials handling problems, the physical distribution activities and all closely related functions as one, an all-encompassing the system.