The Principles of Material Handling

Material handling, a science of loading, moving, packing, storing and unloading of materials, is a critical process in an industrial environment. It is performed either manually or through an automated process. Why is it important to establish and follow material handling principles? Moving heavy objects manually from one place to another can arise a number of safety and health concerns and increase production cost.

A systematic and practical approach towards manufacturing operations not only ensures employees’ safety but also streamlines work. This is why the modern manufacturing industry takes material handling operations seriously and implement automated processes to reduce production cost and time.

Loading, unloading, moving, and other such processes do not add value to the product. Resources spent on material handling, therefore, should be eliminated or at least reduced. What follows are some common material handling principles:


Thorough planning is essential when it comes to streamlined and profitable manufacturing processes. All material handling activities should be planned. A consultation among managers, suppliers, engineers, consultants, labor, etc. can help you develop a practical material handling plan. Plant layout, location, and storage space should also be considered in the planning process.

Material flow

Material flow can be optimized through equipment arrangement and plant operation sequence. Consider the following steps in the material flow principle:

  • Elimination of obstacles
  • A direct path for material movement
  • Minimum movement between floors
  • Processing of heavy materials close to exit


Automated handling has become enormously important in the contemporary competitive environment. You should consider the automated material handling equipment to manage the following:

  • Hazardous material
  • Heavy equipment
  • Repetitive movements
  • Large quantities of material


A growth-oriented manufacturing environment demands from workers the ability to adapt to evolving working conditions. In material handling, the capabilities and limitation of the workforce should be recognized and documented.


A coordinated and operational system can be developed by integrating all the material movements and storage activities. The system principle refers to well-integrated and interdependent entities that work coherently.


Work related to material handling (MH) can be minimized without compromising productivity. Businesses should focus more on implementing automated MH operations to reduce manual work.


Safety conditions in a workplace can directly affect the productivity of workers. Safe MH methods and equipment in accordance with existing safety codes can certainly ensure a safe working environment.


Maintenance is an inseparable component of a healthy production process. A regular inspection and maintenance of MH equipment can save time and money.

Space utilization

Available space in a facility should be utilized in the best possible way. Following are some suggestions in this regard:

  • Reduce temporary storage
  • Stack material by using racks
  • Remove scrap and unnecessary objects regularly
  • Economic order quantities can help reduce inventory

Mechanical handling of materials from inbound raw material to outgoing finished product help reduce production cost and safety concerns. At BP Automation, we design and manufacture automated material handling systems for a broad range of industries. We will help you manage your MH activities in a unified and efficient way so that you can make a good use of your space and resources.