Comprehensive material handling programs

The material handling problem is not considered isolated but is considered in the context of the following factors:

(1) Type of the product;
(2) Plant layout;
(3) Type of production system;
(4) Factory building;
(5) Production planning and control;
(6) Packaging;
(7) Material handling equipment.

Type of the product

The material handling program is largely affected by the characteristics of the product itself. The material handling services are largely governed by the bulk, shape, weight, fragility, liquidity etc of the materials.

Plant layout

Plant layout affects the material handling program in terms of the sequence of the movement ad the distance to be moved during the processing.

Type of production system

As compared to the continuous production system, the intermittent production system poses the specific problems affecting the material handling program. The problem of waiting (popularly known as bottle necks) and rushing create the necessity for reservoir of materials in sub-stores or possibilities of slacks in the production. Both these situations have a direct bearing on the material handling program.

Factory building

The factory building with its various features like floor strength, ceilings heights, type and strength of roofs, door locations and sizes, partitions, stairs, width of the aisles etc. have a decisive effect on the material handling services.

Production Planning and Control

Material handling function is not a part of production planning and control. However, the routing and scheduling functions of production control are closely related to the material handling services. The routing prescribes the sequence for the flow of the materials during the processing while the scheduling decides timings of the processing. Both these functions presuppose the availability of the efficient material handling system.


The handling of materials during the processing is facilitated through the pallets, while the finished products are packed in the specific containers. Generally wooden boxes, card board cartons etc are used for packaging the finished products. The packing of the finished products should be of a convenient size so that they can be handled easily.

Material handling equipment

The material handling program should be developed in the context of the existing material handling equipment. Their performances should be evaluated from time to time and necessary changes may be made in the light of the economics benefits availed from changes. Thus material handling is not a sporadic piece meal function,, but a comprehensive program having a close inter-dependence with many aspects of industrial management.