Haynes defines “Material handling embraces the basic operations in connection with the movement of bulk, packaged and individual products in a semi-solid or solid state by means of gravity manually or power-actuated equipment and within the limits of individual producing, fabricating, processing or service establishment”. Material handling does not add any value to the product but adds to the cost of the product and hence it will cost the customer more. So the handling should be kept at minimum. Material handling in Indian industries accounts for nearly 40% of the cost of production. Out of the total time spent for manufacturing a product, 20% of the time is utilized for actual processing on them while the remaining 80% of the time is spent in moving from one place to another, waiting for the processing. Poor material handling may result in delays leading to idling of equipment.
Materials handling can be also defined as ‘the function dealing with the preparation, placing and positioning of materials to facilitate their movement or storage ’. Material handling is the art and science involving the movement, handling and storage of materials during different stages of manufacturing. Thus the function includes every consideration of the product except the actual processing operation. In many cases, the handling is also included as an integral part of the process. Through scientific material handling considerable reduction in the cost as well as in the production cycle time can be achieved.
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