How Material Handling Technologies Optimize Your Warehouse


As tech continues to make leaps and bounds, many sectors in the economy, including warehousing, are incorporating the latest innovations to form strategies that improve the way they currently run things. 

One can see this best in how the said sector relies on material handling technologies.

Material handling refers to the movement of goods from one facility or vehicle to the next within a short distance. This process covers everything from retrieving products to be shipped out from shelves to making unit loads for shipping.

Most businesses take this for granted; why think of it when people do it regularly? But like many parts of the supply chain, this can also benefit from smart solutions to improve speed, raise efficiency, and stay on track with timelines. 

Deliberate, digitalized warehouse design accomplishes this. By connecting equipment such as cranes, forklifts, and conveyors to data centers, managers and field crews get a grasp of their operations that no amount of manual oversight could ever achieve.  

Such is the power of material handling technologies. Investing in them and keeping them maintained will entail considerable commitments. But the returns in the form of lower margins of error, quicker delivery times, and greater customer experience make them worthwhile.

From warehouse scales to tracking systems, material handling technologies open the way to effective storage and transport.

If you’ve never considered upgrading your current handling tech or processes, here’s what you need to know about the ways they optimize your warehouse.

1. They Streamline Processes

Proper organization is vital to ensure the steady flow of materials in a warehouse. So, it’s critical to ensure that crews have seamless accessibility to materials in the facility without encountering any obstacles. This should keep everything running on tight schedules.

With material handling technologies, you’re able to achieve these thanks to:

  • Reduced downtime: Identifying items and packing them can take a significant amount of time. You can’t afford to spend much of that when speed is key. Fortunately, automated material handling technologies can accurately do such tasks for you within the shortest time possible, allowing you to stay afloat even as demand fluctuates.

  • Precise recording: Material handling technologies like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and related software help locate, track, and record the movement of products in a warehouse. Combined with barcode labels for easy identification, this cuts out a lot of the time and energy spent on reassessing inventories through every point of the process.

The keyword lies in automation. The latest material handling technologies require only minimal human input, leaving your crew open to more important tasks.

2. They Help Ensure Proper Inventory Management

Speaking of automation, modern material handling technologies do wonders for all steps of inventory management, including:

  • Receiving goods
  • Storing
  • Tracking
  • Distributing

Managing items in a warehouse is an excellent determinant of whether it’ll achieve efficiency. In this regard, your warehouse should integrate an automated storage retrieval system as part of your material handling technology. This software enables you to store and retrieve goods from storage points quickly.

Some of the common equipment that benefits from automated storage and retrieval systems include:

  • Carousels
  • Automatic guided vehicles
  • Vertical lift modules
  • Shuttles
  • Lift trucks
  • Industrial robots
  • Unit loads
  • Monorails
  • Hoisting equipment

You can take it a step further by using AMRs in your warehouse. Some businesses are seeing great ease in accomplishing tasks due to how retrieval systems synergize with this special machinery well. When workers take a specified number of goods, the AMRs, coupled with the retrieval system, automatically return the remaining items to their storage points. This leaves a lot of repetitive tasks out of the workforce’s hands, allowing them to do more with less time.

3. They Enhance Workplace Safety

Most items stored and moved in warehouses are heavy and bulky. This often puts workers at risk of serious injury whenever they have to move goods.

Besides the risk of physical harm, there’s also the likelihood of damaging items whenever accidents happen. Knowing this, managers should constantly work to lower the risk of potential safety hazards if they want to maintain their level of productivity.

Thanks to the automating properties of modern material handling tech, most workers have little to no need to put themselves in harm’s way just to accomplish tasks. They’re basically safe from heavy objects and potentially volatile materials. Having this keeps productivity from dropping and overall workplace health optimal.

Apart from ensuring workers’ safety, material handling technologies can protect the integrity of the facility, keeping physical structures like walls and floors alongside other machinery from unforeseen damage.

4. They Let You Save On Costs

By reducing a lot of the obstacles to quick and efficient supply chain movement, material handling technologies can help you save on operational and maintenance costs. This is vital when you’re hoping to achieve growth in a competitive market.

Investing in smart machines, robotics, and automated guided vehicles may seem beyond your scope at first. But many large-scale logistics companies are using them to maintain the quality of service that puts them on top.

If you want to stay competitive, you need to assess which parts of warehousing processes need upgrading, scan manufacturers for equipment and software that provide that, and then invest.

Doing this lets you save on things like:

  • Floor space: Most modern equipment doesn’t take up a lot of floor space, making more room for efficient movement as well as other more important machinery in a warehouse. This lets it take leaps forward in terms of modernization for better results.

  • Labor costs: Using material handling technologies saves facilities from draining, repetitive tasks. You can now work with less to achieve the same level of efficiency.

The benefits of modern material handling technologies outweigh the initial cost. Consider which ones you need to boost your enterprise and procure them.

The Way Forward

In a data-driven, fast-paced world, automation is the name of the game. Warehouses can’t rely on the same rickety systems to meet the growing demands of customers everywhere. If you haven’t upgraded your material handling processes yet, consider it now. All it takes is a few smart investments and monitoring to make your facility an asset for your overall supply chain.


Author Bio: Amanda Nelson is currently a professional content writer.