How Material Handling Containers Make the Retail Industry Safer (And More Efficient)

For retailers, nothing’s quite as important as efficiency. However, when trying to improve productivity, retailers often focus on improving training and sales tech — without considering the obvious impact that high-quality material handling containers can have on their bottom line.

Material handling containers are essentially a much-needed upgrade to cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and other holdovers from the pre-digital era. These disposable solutions produce safety concerns, since low-quality containers are more likely to break down during transit and storage. More pressingly, cheap containers sacrifice some opportunities for better inventory management.

This isn’t a minor point. Per a study from the Freedonia Group, demand for material handling containers will grow by about 2.3 percent annually through 2023. Should those predictions hold true, those containers will comprise a $1.2 billion market — and retailers are leading the charge.

When used properly, material handling containers can improve efficiency in several ways:

  • Better Organization – High-quality containers make it easier to organize SKUs within the storage cube; Flow Through Racks that match the dimensions of reusable containers provide continuous access to high-throughput items.
  • Flexibility for Online Orders As online order fulfillment continues to become more and more important for retailers, picking staff need quick, easily identified ways to separate multi-item orders. Plastic bins are ideal for the purpose.
  • Streamlined Material Handling – Like pallets, material handling bins give distribution centers uniform dimensions for differently sized products. This allows them to use a single family of material handling equipment — Bin Dumpers, for instance, or Warehouse Trailers in a picking train — for every item on the shelf.
  • Fewer Long-Term Costs – What’s good for sustainability is often good for the bottom line, and that logic holds true in the case of plastic material handling containers. These items are built for continuous, rugged use and reuse, making them a one-time investment that provides a measurable ROI over time.

In short, material handling containers allow retail operations to effectively shape their workflow. While they’re not as glamorous of an upgrade as a new high-tech inventory management system, they’re a key component of a truly efficient warehouse. But efficiency isn’t the only benefit these tools provide.

In Retail Spaces, The Right Equipment Allows for a Safer Workplace

Modern material handling containers also improve safety in the retail industry. This benefit isn’t always immediately recognized, but it becomes clear when you consider the crucial safety issue of ergonomics.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes common material-handling tasks as serious risk factors for developing musculoskeletal disorders, including heavy lifting, repetitive tasks, and awkward postures. In order to remove these hazards, OSHA recommends using “a device to lift and reposition heavy objects” or eliminate the strain associated with repeated tasks.

A combination of uniform material handling bins and dedicated handling equipment, including Bin Dumpers, will allow even a small workforce to move large volumes of orders without incurring the risk of injury.

Reusable material handling containers, then, are poised to become a powerful new standard in the retail industry. Why wait to access the competitive benefits?


Ergonomics: Identify Problems.OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 4 Jun. 2019.

Ergonomics: Solutions to Control Hazards.OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 4 Jun. 2019.

Retail Will Boost Demand for Material Handling Containers.MHLNews. Informa, 30 Mar. 2019. Web. 4 Jun. 2019.