Understanding your Material Handling needs: A guide to select the Right Equipment

Do I need material handling equipment for my operation?

If yes, which material handling equipment, Hand Pallet truck, Battery Operated Pallet Truck, Stacker, Forklift Truck, Reach truck or any other equipment?

In order to get the answer to these questions, first of all, we have to understand the standard supply chain mechanism for product flow applicable for any industry.

Depending upon the position in the supply chain, we need to identify the basic need of the mechanism required to efficiently and effectively control the flow of the product. This forms the first step for selecting the correct material handling equipment.

Challenges to be countered:

– Manpower Issues

– Productivity or Throughput Concerns

– Safety Concerns

– Overall Cost Worries

The second step is to define and finalize the path of material movement from one point to another point. The most common type of equipment used for material movement are conveyors, cranes, and industrial trucks.

– Conveyors: Used for a fixed path

– Cranes: Used for a variable path with a restricted area

– Industrial Trucks: Used for a variable path and unrestricted area

Industrial trucks could be further categorized based on the type of operations into three types:

Transport or Horizontal Movement

Stack or Vertical Movement

Order Picking application

Material Flow


Transport or Horizontal Movement:

The most common trucks used for horizontal movement of material within the premises of any worksite are:

Hand Pallet Trucks

Battery Operated Pallet Trucks

Tow Trucks

AGV (Automated Guided Vehicles)

Stack or Vertical Movement:

Trucks used for such applications are:

Diesel Forklift Truck

Battery Forklift Truck


Reach Truck

Order Picking application:

The order picking application could be defined as an operation that deals with selective picking of goods from vertical storage. Trucks used for such applications are:

Order Picker

Very Narrow Aisle Truck

In conclusion, understanding your specific material handling needs and considering factors such as manpower, productivity, safety, and cost will help you choose the most suitable equipment for your operation. Whether it’s for transport, stacking, or order picking, selecting the right material handling equipment is essential for optimizing efficiency and ensuring smooth operations in your business.

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