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Handling Material - Material Handling
Material handling involves short-distance movement within the confines of a building or between a building and a transportation vehicle. It uses a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and includes consideration of the protection, storage, and control of materials throughout their manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Material handling can be used to create time and place utility through the handling, storage, and control of material, as distinct from manufacturing, which creates form utility by changing the shape, form, and makeup of material.
Material handling plays an important role in manufacturing and logistics, which together represent over 20% of the U.S. economy. Almost every item of physical commerce was transported on a conveyor or lift truck or other type of material handling equipment in manufacturing plants, warehouses, and retail stores. While material handling is usually required as part of every production worker's job, over 650,000 people in the U.S. work as dedicated "material moving machine operators" and have a median annual wage of $31,530 (May 2012). These operators use material handling equipment to transport various goods in a variety of industrial settings including moving construction materials around building sites or moving goods onto ships.