Within the manufacturing industry, material handling principles help manufacturers streamline the resourcing, moving, shipping, and replacing parts for production. In an industry where customer satisfaction relies on delivery, material handling is an essential tool to prevent delays while reducing wasteful steps and costs that impair your company’s production process. Learn how to implement material handling into your manufacturing process through these ten material handling principles: 

Learn How Breiner Helped One of the Biggest Auto Manufacturers in the World

Key Material Handling Principles for Manufacturers


As the starting point of material handling principles, planning helps manufacturers determine what flaws, goals, and steps must be examined in your company’s production process. The key to effective planning is communication between departments. By consulting department managers or specialists throughout your organization, you develop a better understanding of manufacturing procedures and of which steps help or hinder production.  


Standardization is the material handling principle which helps businesses upgrade their production procedures, equipment, and controls to global industry standards. This process requires implementing an updated manufacturing process that will not only perform to current industry requirements but also handle different tasks under various operating conditions.  


Work must be streamlined to the utmost efficiency during manufacturing to not compromise business product delivery or quality. To reduce the amount of work on employees, manufacturers rely on lean manufacturing principles to remove wasteful steps, thus improving workflow between departments.

Implementing a successful work principle also requires a clear understanding of the essential equipment and procedures needed to continue production. For example, using gravity can eliminate manual delivery between assembly stages by allowing parts to drop onto a conveyor belt or down a pipe. 


Ergonomics is a unique material handling principle that works to make the material handling process safer and easier to manage for workers. As such, this principle focuses on implementing the most effective operations that also ensure the safety of engineers.

With respect to human labor, ergonomics looks towards selecting interactive equipment that is safe to use, doesn’t cause physical or mental strain, and helps complete tasks too strenuous for employees to complete.  

Unit Load

The unit load principle ensures that all material loads are properly sized to streamline inventory throughout the company’s supply chain. By ensuring each unit load is appropriately sized to handle multiple parts, work is reduced from transferring individual parts, enabling a better flow of supplies and final output of products.

For example, using smaller units to transfer different materials throughout assembly creates a just-in-time inventory system, speeding up delivery time with an effective distribution of resources. 

claw lifting hot metal poles from stack

Through the Unit Load material handling principle, manufacturers can quickly and efficiently distribute materials.  

Space Utilization

Space utilization that works to adapt all available space effectively and efficiently to organize the production floor. This process requires manufacturers to clean the cluttered space of inventory or spare materials with storage units or updated equipment, creating a more productive and mobile space for employees.  


Since material handling impacts each step of a business’s manufacturing process, the entire system must likewise coordinate how each part is transferred and stored until delivery. This process requires coordinating how materials are:  

  • Received 
  • Inspected 
  • Stored 
  • Produced 
  • Assembled 
  • Packaged 
  • Unified 
  • Organized for Selection 
  • Shipped 
  • Transported 
  • Handled for Claims 

This principle requires coordination of not only internal departments, but also between external vendors, distributors, partners, and clientele. Through this process, wasteful inventory is reduced or eliminated across all stages of manufacturing production, allowing supplies to be consistently tracked and delivered on time to each customer.  


Automation is one of the easiest material handling principles to integrate. By using automated equipment to mold, test, load, and assemble parts, organizations can streamline production procedures by having machines handle more hazardous work, which reduces both risk to employees and delivery time to customers.

In addition, automated systems can easily transfer information and materials between assembly stations, thereby improving the completion of products while meeting all required industry standards. Common equipment used for automation include robotic arms, welding apparatuses, and pallet loaders to handle tasks.  


Manufacturers have become more environmentally conscientious in recent years, and thus look to reduce the waste of materials or energy during production. Material handling principles help reduce waste by integrating more efficient equipment into production, such as using recyclable material containers or repurposing defective parts for other projects. In doing so, overall inventory waste is eliminated, which also improves company expenses over time. 

Life Cycle Cost

The last step to integrating material handling principles comes down to analyzing the whole life cycle costs of all material handling components. These life cycle costs account for all material handling: 

  • Equipment 
  • Investments 
  • Computer and System Programs 
  • Training 
  • Testing 
  • Labor and Utilities Operation 
  • Maintenance Repairs 
  • Remanufacturing Value 
  • Disposal  


Material Handling Help from Breiner

Through these material handling principles, you create a more productive environment for your organization. With the help of material handling, wasteful procedures and costs can be eliminated, allowing parts to quickly reach clients faster.

At Breiner, we understand the importance of keeping material supply chains unimpaired, using material handling principles to improve our delivery of custom parts each day. Curious about how we uphold these standards? Read our Capability Statement or visit Breiner Innovative today! 

Common types of gasket materials. This helpful infographic takes a look at the most common types of gasket materials. Download your infographic here.