Assessment Of The Role Of Efficient Materials Handling In A Manufacturing Firm

Project and Seminar Material for Purchasing and Supply PS

Assessment Of The Role Of Efficient Materials Handling In A Manufacturing Firm


The effective movement of materials is being seen as business in its own right materials heading is a feature of almost all the companies, although it has for many years been an unexplored area in recent time; this area has been many changes and which continues to change new equipment and machines are appearing in the market and most firm now operate complex system of efficient movement of materials.

This research project is designed to open up some of the basic elements and aspects of the subject. It is also an attempt to relate materials handling methods employed to the operation of rest of the organization. In an endeavor to remedy this situation, this project has been written to pull together in one thought as many facts on materials handling and its management as possible managers, technicians, driver and aspiring ones to those tasks in this firm (unclear Nigeria plc Aba) will thereby have a foundation job and function of this expensive business.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Material handling is an important part of factory and industrial process. It covers the entire spectrum of function such as waste handling, assembly line management, storage and material transport. Material handling system includes several smaller components that work side by side, to make the every day business more efficient and cost effective. Material handling is a costly operation and therefore the methods and equipment employed should be efficient at all times. As in many other aspect of store keeping the approach depends on nature of the business concerned, the type of materials flocked and the size of the store house. Efficient materials handling is very important in the storehouse and also throughout the production process.

1.2 Statement Of Problems

The firms are fast springing up in a high rate in Nigerian and the difference in distance and location due to the vast nature of the country. The teething problem of material handling in Unilever Nigeria plc Aba is as follows:

1. Lack OF Finance:

Handling of materials in any organization is very expensive in terms of material handling equipment, plant and labour. Therefore it was noticed that in the firm Unilever Nigeria plc Aba. That due to lack of finance the organization cannot handle their material efficiently.

2. Lack OF Material Handling Equipment:

The size of wrong materials handling equipment which resulted to double handling of material is a problem in the company due to the lack of a material handling equipment.

3. Lack of Skill and Experience Operator:

It was noticed in Unilever that the operators of the various materials handling equipment that are used in the firm are not well trained and they lack the required skill to operate the machines which result to high damage of materials handling equipment.

4. Poor Surface and Road Network:

In the Unilever Company, the floor surface and the road network were not properly constructed thereby resulting to water logging in the whole area in the stockyard in the firm. On the other hand, the road network to the storehouse were not properly constructed which cause the double handling of materials from the storehouse to the production center.

5. Poor Maintenance Culture:

There are a lot of machines and equipment breakdown in the firm due to the poor maintenance culture in the firm. This is cause by the lack of skill operators that can maintain the equipment and machines.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

It is paramount that every study must have objectives. However, the objectives of the study in Unilever Nigeria:

  1. To find out the method of reducing the overall cost through efficient management of material handling equipment.
  2. To find out the extent to which efficient materials handling methods adopted in a manufacturing firm have helped to achieve their aims.
  3. To examine the caliber of staff operators involved in various activities of materials handling. These activity areas include, unloading, loading, stores production and maintenance.
  4. To find out ways of improving co-ordination and more efficient control of various activities that contributes to total material handling management.
  5. To know and maintain the contribution of material handling equipment employed to profitability and to the efficient running of the system.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

The researcher intends to explain the fact that material handling is expected to provide a reliable bedrock for effective and efficient material control in an organization. In the department of purchasing and supply you must carryout the research work before you have your HND certificate. Furthermore, it is believed that the study will help the firm identify its drawbacks and how to eliminate them which will ultimately contribute to profitability of the organization, there by reducing waste, cost and obsolescence.

The study will also be useful to all purchasing and supply students as it will be a vital academic material handling. This will enable them have a wider knowledge of the important of efficient materials handling in a firm.

1.5 Research Questions

Base on this project topic and the objectives as stated, the following research questions have been formulated:

  1. Does an efficient material handling contribute to the profit of the organization?
  2. Can the material handling contribute to efficient operation of production department?
  3. Is the material handling equipment used in the organization purchased by qualified technologist?
  4. What type of material handling equipment is in use in the organization storehouse?
  5. Does total material handing cost affect the unit cost of the product, services and competitive position adversely?

1.6 Hypothesis

Hypothesis I
  • Ho: Efficient material handling does not contribute to the profit of the organization
  • Hi: Efficient material handling contributes to the profit of the organization
Hypothesis II
  • Ho: Material handling does not contribute to efficient operation of production department.
  • Hi: Material handling contribute to efficient operation of production department.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

The research is limited on the activities of efficient material handling in Unilever Nigeria plc. The level of relationship and communication that exist between the firm and its customers and some of the problems the firm encounter in the course of handling.

1.8 Limitations Of The Study

In a real sense, this study would have involved the study of some other manufacturing firms, but because of the geographical location of these firms, it was not practicable for the researcher to carryout has research work on these firms. In view of this, the researcher has decided after carefully study the various firm to concentrate on Unilever Nigeria plc Aba.

In addition to the above, there was the problem of finance. The source of income of the researcher is very low, and as such cannot afford the money for all the expenses she/he is to incure. Also the issue of limited time for the research work cannot be over emphasized.

1.9 Definition Of Terms

Material Handling:

This embraces the movement handling and storage of everything within and around an establishment, including raw materials, components and supporting goods regardless of shape, size, form, nature or weight

Packaging Methods:

This is an aspect where suppliers should be instructed to pack incoming goods in a convenient manner in such quantities that they may be handled in store with the minimum effort.

Manual Handling:

This is the natural way of handling material by hand. The human hand is capable of the almost indefinite variety of grips and postures.

Mechanical Handling:

It covers the use of mechanical aid in the movement storage and handling of materials.

Economy of Movement:

This is the actions of lifting the goods transporting them and laying them low again.

Lack of Space:

This is the most common cause, especially in organizations that have developed and grows over a period of time.

Poor Design:

Wrongly designed store house affects the activities in the stores and causes double handling of materials.

Lack of Training:

If the stores staffs are not properly trained on how to handle materials, it will also lead to double handling of materials by the staff concerned.

Fork Trucks:

These are available in considerable variety, both electric – powered and diesel powered as well as un-powered. They are primarily used for moving goods on pallets.


A land operated chain block at a fired point to lift heavy materials for loading on vehicles or machines.


An electrically operated version of the pull-lift for basically the same purpose


A single overhead reail from which a pull-lift or electric hoist is suspended on rollers, to allow loads to be moved to any point over which the monorail passes.


Tankers are normally felted with pumps which enable them to discharge where ever required.


Where a continuous flow of goods or materials is passing between tow or more fixed points and the cost and utilization of space can adequately be justified, a conveyor may be installed.

Slides and Chutes:

They are used for movements of parcels and cartons.

Gravity Roller Conveyors:

May be applied where order picking and how are more or less continuous and are concentrated into well defined bin area.

Uses of Motor Transport:

Delivery vehicles are used extensively, both within large complexes and for collection and delivery of goods

Material Damage:

Material damage can be a very expensive business and will undoubtedly reduce the stock life of many materials in the stores.

Material Flow:

Material flow has to be maintained if output and distribution are to e maintained. Materials must be transported from the point of storage to the point of production.

The Cost Factor:

The cost factor is vital in terms of operational cost, profit and overall or production handling material in any organization is very expensive in terms of material handling equipment, plant, time and labour.

Training of Operator:

To get the best services from any machine and to minimize damage to equipment, buildings and materials, the drivers and others concerned with the operation of any mechanical handling devices.

Overhead Cranes:

A power driven vehicles which is mounted in a fixed gentry running the whole length of the working area.

Fork Lift Trucks:

They are widely used and are available with an even wider range filtering and adoptions pallet loads are of course intended for folk lift movement and it is therefore an advantage if loads are palletized.


They also have a wide range of uses in loading and unloading they are particularly useful where large and heavy loads are involved.


When considering the employment of mechanical handling. It is advisable to consider the best form of storehouse that will suit any particular type of equipment.

Assessment Of The Role Of Efficient Materials Handling In A Manufacturing Firm

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