Improving Material Handling with Floor Markings

Material handling is a common activity in most facilities. Any time a material needs to be moved from one place to another there is a risk of it being damaged, lost, or have other problems. In addition, moving things around can also make them less organized if it isn’t taken care of properly. While it is not possible to eliminate the need for material handling entirely, there are things that can be done to reduce how often it has to happen and the negative impacts it can cause. One of the best tools that a facility has available to deal with material handling is floor markings.

Floor markings, whether it be floor marking tape, paint, or lights, can make it a lot easier for those moving materials around to make sure it is done right. Coming up with an effective material handling strategy that will ensure everything is able to get where it needs to go while also keeping it safe is important for any organization.

Placing Materials Where they Need to Go the First Time

One of the best ways you can improve your material handling is to make sure that when something arrives at the facility, it is placed where it needs to go right from the start. If a specific type of material will always be needed at a particular machine, for example, then it should be unloaded and brought to a storage area near that machine. The closer the material is kept to where it will be used, the less it is going to have to move.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure that the material has to be moved and handled as few times as possible. This means to make sure you organize the storage areas in such a way as to ensure that everything is accessible. You don’t want to place one material in front of another so that they both have to be moved when the one in back is needed. The fewer times that something has to be handled, the safer it will be.

Effective Floor Marking Strategy

When planning out your material handling strategies, it is a good idea to use floor markings to make the policies you create visible. For example, if you have a specific area where one type of material is going to be kept until it is being used, mark that area with floor marking tape. You can use tape letters to further identify the area as reserved for storing one particular product.

If an area is set aside for storage in general, you can still segment it off to help keep things organized. Making sure that materials are properly stacked and have plenty of room between them will ensure you are able to fully take advantage of the storage room you have in the facility. Of course, there are many different ways to organize a storage area. The important thing is that it is done intentionally so you get the most efficient use out of the floor space.

Whenever using floor markings for any use, it is important to make sure you keep the relevant OSHA requirements in mind. OSHA allows companies a lot of flexibility for what type of markings to use, and even what colors in most cases. For aisles where materials are stored, however, they do want to make sure that it is wide enough that people can travel safely. Going over your OSHA regulations while planning out your material handling and floor marking strategy will help to ensure compliance.

Always Keep Efficiency in Mind

When it comes to creating a material handling policy, there are many things that should be considered. Having a well-organized facility where materials are only handled when it is actually necessary is important. You do, however, need to also think about the overall efficiency of your operations. Making sure your material handling and floor marking fit in with any existing lean manufacturing, just-in-time, or other programs that you use is very important.

For companies that already have Lean or other similar programs in place, a good material handling standard will fit right in. In fact, it could be considered a Lean project since it will reduce the unnecessary movement and other types of waste that may currently exist. No matter what prompts you to start thinking about improving your material handling strategies, a good plan of action should improve efficiency, eliminate waste, and improve the way your facility operates.

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