What Are the Functions of Material Handling?

Material handling involves the movement of material, either manually or mechanically, in batches or one item at a time. Generally, the movement is horizontal, vertical, or a combination of both. Regardless of the method, material handling is the movement, storage, control, and protection of materials, goods, and products through the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. The focus lies primarily on the methods, mechanical equipment, systems, and related controls used to achieve these functions.

Typically, material handling consists of moving materials from the raw stage through production to the customer with efficiency, saving time and necessitating little effort. This allows companies to produce maximum productive efficiency at the lowest material handling cost. Material handling is particularly concerned with motion, time, quantity, and space, four parameters that we will outline below.


In terms of motion, parts, materials, and finished products must be transported from store to location, and material handling is concerned with finding the most efficient method of moving them.


Time, as you may have deduced, also requires efficiency. Each step in any manufacturing process necessitates supplies on hand, ensuring that the production process runs smoothly and customers receive items when they are required.


The rate of demand usually varies between steps in the manufacturing process. As such, material handling is responsible for ensuring that each location continuously receives the right amount of parts.


Whether storage space is being utilized or not, it is a major consideration in any building as space costs money, and space requirements are generally determined by the material handling flow pattern.

Material Handling By Definition

Material handling can be defined as the art and science of movement as well as the handling and storage of materials during different stages of manufacturing considered as material flow within the plant. Material flow consists of the products making their way into, through, and away from a facility, and this technique enables manufacturers/distributors to get goods to the right place, at the right time, for the right cost. Furthermore, material handling is also considered the art of implementing movement economically and safely. More than that, it is the act of better taking advantage of time and place utility, whereas manufacturing creates form utility.

When material handling techniques are properly applied, you can produce a well-oiled production machine. It is a system designed to get materials at minimum cost, which is a major benefit for many manufacturers. The auxiliary equipment it uses improves the flow of material which reduces production stoppages and increases productivity. Additionally, it is a branch of engineering concerned with the development of specialized machinery for the means of transporting goods through various stages of production.

Functions of Material Handling

Material handling, as previously discussed, consists of the movement of materials between machines or workstations, between departments, or between buildings. It also includes the loading and unloading of carriers, and the storage of materials, tools, and supplies between locations.


If you require material handling equipment or material handling storage and rigging components, rely on Industrial Automation Parts. Industrial Automation Parts is a leading distributor of a wide-range of industrial tools and equipment needed to carry out material handling tasks. Get started today by requesting a competitive quote on any desired item through our Instant RFQ service. Within 15 minutes of submission, an expert team member will reach out with a competitive quote that keeps your part requirements in mind. Kickoff the procurement process with Industrial Automation Parts and see how we can help fulfill your operational needs. For additional questions, call or email us at any time; we are available 24/7x365!


Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships

Thank You for Visiting.

We hope that you will visit us again the next time you need industrial parts and make us your strategic purchasing partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.