Material handling is simply the process of efficiently moving materials from one place to another. It covers a wide range of equipment and services, which is why it can be a little confusing. Let us explain.
Let’s get this part out of the way first. We will be using the terms “material handling” and “material handling equipment” a lot. Almost to the point that it might be annoying, so sometimes, for short, we will just say MH or MHE.
Material Handling Equipment. That sure is a mouth full. Probably never in the history of man has there ever been such a term that was intended to describe such an extensive range of equipment and services. This could be due to the fact that the term material handling itself has quite the description. Wikipedia even uses the words “wide range” to describe it. That full description is as follows:
“Material handling involves short-distance movement within the confines of a building or between a building and a transportation vehicle. It uses a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and includes consideration of the protection, storage, and control of materials throughout their manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Material handling can be used to create time and place utility through the handling, storage, and control of waste, as distinct from manufacturing, which creates form utility by changing the shape, form, and makeup of the material.”
Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_handling
Basically, in the definition above, we see that material handling is the process of moving materials. That’s very clear, and it could potentially be the biggest no-brainer ever, right? If that defines material handling, then the material handling equipment would obviously be the varying types of equipment used to move those materials. With those two basic descriptions, I could now start discussing my total disagreement with Merriam-Webster on their classification of the word “handling” as a noun because, in our business, this is most definitely an action word!
However, for the sake of time and not wanting to argue with anyone, including my sister, who holds two Master’s Degrees, a Doctorate in education, EdD, and is a College Professor, I will move on. (By the way, she will win the arguments on language and words. Every. Single. Time.)
“We manufacture conveyor and support equipment. If it has anything to do with loading, unloading or utilizing conveyor to move a carton or pallet from point A to point B inside a warehouse, distribution center or fulfillment center then we can do it.”