Materials handling is the function of moving the right materials to the right place in the right time, in the right amount, in sequence, and in the right condition to minimize production cost.
Materials handling covers virtually all aspects of all movements of raw materials, work -in-process or finished goods within a factory or warehouse. Basically, material movement is considered as a non value adding activity.
Hence, primary objective of a supply chain manager should be to eliminate material handling where is possible. This includes minimizing inventory, travel distance, bottlenecks and loss due to spillage, wast, wrong handling, damage etc. Manual sorting of materials is quite labor-intensive.
It involves separating & regrouping picked items into the customer orders. Items have to be physically examined and placed on to pallets or containers for the purpose of dispatching to customers. This is not only time consuming but also error-prone.