Modern Challenges Faced by the Material Handling Industry

Although logistics and material handling industry is currently undergoing a digital transformation, businesses continue to struggle with traditional challenges. According to MHI’s Annual Industry Report of 2018, problems such as hiring skilled workers and meeting customer demands are relevant issues managers are unable to deal with.

Additionally, the need to enhance operations and meet compliance laws continues to put pressure on companies to improve operations.

In this blog, we discuss a few modern challenges faced by the material handling industry.

Material Management

Warehouse managers that lack complete visibility of their inventory face problems such as over and under-stocking which then leads to decreased cash flows and increased material expenses.

Inventory shortages result in unfulfilled orders and dissatisfied customers. The primary challenge lies in striking a balance between maintaining optimal inventory levels and profitability margins.

Retail businesses are struggling to manage both in-store and online channels effectively. Today, the majority of manufacturing expenses are linked to materials which underline the need to adopt effective material management strategies.


High hourly compensation coupled with decreased employment rates makes it difficult for companies within the material handling industry to retain the best talent.

Distribution and manufacturing facilities are facing high turnover rates that are creating a negative impact on the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, warehousing jobs are experiencing some of the highest turnover rates, a trend that continues to rise year after year.

Labor Costs

Material handling companies are tasked with moving thousands of tons of materials daily while relying on a large number of manual labors. Businesses are buckling under the costs of maintaining heavy load-moving machinery as well as spending constantly on employee training programs due to high turnover rates.

Given how fierce the competition within the industry is, there’s a greater need to cut down on manufacturing costs in order to remain competitive. Add to this the costs employee shortfall and medical expenses, and you have small businesses struggling to maintain profitability.

Safety Concerns

Using heavy machinery to move loads around the workplace is bound to involve accidents and injuries. Forklifts alone are responsible for 85 fatalities, 34,900 serious, and 61,800 non-serious injuries each year.

Instances include being crushed between vehicles, getting struck or run over by forklifts, falling from heights, and injury due to falling loads. Switching to pneumatic tools to move heavy loads helps business to reduce instances of workplace injury and also remain compliant with the industry’s safety regulations.

Hovair Systems Inc. provides air-powered tools and systems to the material handling industry. Their products include air-lifting jacks, machine rigging equipment, air bearings, and a range of equipment that makes moving heavy loads easier and safer. Contact us today for more information.

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