Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris

Material handling

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_590


Material handling is concerned with moving raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods into the plant, within the plant, and out of the plant to warehouses, distribution networks, or directly to the customers. The basic objective is to move the right combination of tools and materials (raw materials, parts and finished products) at the right time, to the right place, in the right form, and in the right orientation. And to do it with the minimum total cost.

It is estimated that 20% to 50% of the total operating expenses within manufacturing are attributed to material handling (Tompkins et al., 1996). Material handling activities may account for 80% to 95% of total overall time spent between receiving a customer order and shipping the requested items (Rosaler and Rice, 1994). This indicates that improved efficiencies in material handling activities can lead to substantial reductions in product cost and production leadtime; better space and equipment utilization,...

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; TechnionHaifaIsrael