What is material handling

Material Handling Overview

Material handling is the movement of goods to, from, and within a warehouse. It involves moving goods from a vehicle into the warehouse or transporting and storing products inside a warehouse facility. Material handling involves the movement of goods to, from, and within a warehouse. It involves moving goods from a vehicle into the warehouse or transporting and storing products inside a warehouse facility. Material handling involves many processes, including packing, palletizing, moving, storing, picking, labeling, and more.

All sorts of semi-automated machines and storage systems make material handling possible. Moving devices like forklifts, cranes, conveyors, and robotics are automating material handling processes – and the technology continues to advance.

Pallet rack systems and steel shelving provide stable storage space for long or short-term storage within the warehouse. 

About the Material Handling Industry

The Material Handling Industry touches every business that deals with physical goods. If a company requires manufacturing, storage, or distribution for their goods or services, they’ll need material handling to bring them from point A to point B.

Moving raw material down an assembly line, loading finished goods into a truck, palletizing, and lifting goods onto pallet racking are all material handling.

Of course, these processes are only possible with warehouse layout design. Warehouse design is a critical first step of material handling that ensures a safe and functional facility to manufacture and store goods. Contact us today to get started on your warehouse design layout.

Why is Material Handling Important?

Material handling ensures the safe, proper, and efficient storage of goods, allowing businesses to offer better customer service and improve their overall productivity.

Good material handling prevents lost or damaged inventory. Improperly stored material is a liability issue, posing a threat to personal safety and well-being. 

Material handling safety standards are in place to protect warehouse employees and customers, not only the product in question. 

Material Handling Processes & Equipment

Material handling processes span the entire supply chain from manufacturing to distribution. These processes include storage, transportation, packing/palletizing, and protection. Each process requires different manual and automated equipment to get the job done.


  • Conveyor systems
  • Cranes
  • Pallets
  • Pallet Wrappers
  • Boxes


  • Pallets
  • Pallet Racking
  • Shelving
  • Wire decks
  • Bins
  • Containers
  • Dividers


  • Pallet rack backing
  • Partitions
  • Safety cages
  • Column protectors
  • End-of-aisle guards
  • Safety nets
  • Bollards
  • Safety gates
  • Guardrail 


The 5 Principles of Material Handling

  1. Planning — all material handling processes should be thoughtfully planned out to improve efficiency and safety.
  2. Space optimization – storage spaces should be optimized through quality warehouse design and layout.
  3. Standardization – material handling processes must adhere to proper warehousing safety standards and follow all codes and regulations.
  4. Simplification — material handling should be simplified to optimize efficiency and prevent unnecessary strain on employees and equipment.
  5. Safety – safety measures should be put in place, such as forklift safety, personal protective equipment (PPE), and proper storage, like avoiding unit loads.

Find Material Handling Help With AK!

AK Material Handling Systems specializes in warehouse layout and offers high-quality storage systems and material handling equipment. For help choosing the right products or designing your warehouse, call 800-722-5908 or fill out a quote form.

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About AK Material Handling Systems

We deliver value to our customers by providing the absolute best combination of quality products, helpful customer service and competitive pricing. We specialize in warehouse layout & design, pallet rack systems, engineered sales, mezzaninesmodular offices and completed turn-key warehouse systems. For more information email us or call (800) 722-5908