EVALUATION OF MATERIAL HANDLING SYSTEM - Production and Operations Management

The cost factors include investment cost, labor cost, and anticipated service hours per year, utilization, and unit load carrying ability, loading and unloading characteristics, operating costs and the size requirements are the factors for evolution of material handling equipment. Other factors to be considered are source of power, conditions where the equipment has to operate and such other technical aspects. Therefore, choices of equipments in organization will improve the material handling system through work study techniques. They usually result in improving the ratio of operating time to loading time through palletizing, avoiding duplicative movements, etc. Obsolete handling systems can be replaced with more efficient equipments.

Evaluation of Material Handling Management system

The evaluation and effectiveness of the material handling system can be measured in terms of the ratio of the time spent in the handling to the total time spent in production. This will cover the time element. The cost effectiveness can be measured by the expenses incurred per unit weight handled. It can be safely said that very few organizations try to collate the expenses and time in this manner so as to objectively view the performance and to take remedial measures. Some of the other indices which can be used for evaluating the performance of handling systems are listed below:

Equipment utilization ratio is an important indicator for judging the materials handling system. This ratio can be computed and compared with similar firms or in the same over a period of time. In order to know the total effort needed for moving materials, it may be necessary to compute

Materials Handling Labor (MHL) ratio. This ratio is calculated as under:


Personnel assigned to materials handling

Total operating work force

In order to ascertain whether is the handling system delivers materials work centers with maximum efficiency; it is desirable to compute direct labor handling loss ratio. The ratio is:


Materials handling time lost of labor
Total direct labor time

The movement’s operations ratio which is calculated after dividing total number of moves by total number of productive operations indicates whether the workers are going through too many motions because of poor routing.

It should, however, be emphasized that the efficiency of materials handling mainly depends on the following factors:

  1. Efficiency of handling methods employed for handling a unit weight through a unit distance,
  2. Efficiency of the layout which determines the distance through which the materials have to be handled,
  3. Utilization of the handling facilities, and
  4. Efficiency of the speed of handling.

In conclusion, it can be said that an effective material handling system depends upon tailoring the layout and equipments to suit specific requirements. When a large volume has to be moved from a limited number of sources to a limited number of destinations the fixed path equipments like rollers, belt conveyors, overhead conveyors and gauntry cranes are preferred. For increased flexibility varied path equipments are preferred.

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