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In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to analyse and understand what went wrong for these SME’s and this study will fill that gap with empirical evidence of the losses/impacts suffered by the small firms during the period of recession. Also, the marketing strategies, innovative tactics and new concepts adopted by them in order to survive the Recession will be researched upon. This is done so that the future SME’s can take preventive measures and be proactive if at all Recession occurs in the future.

The overall aim of this project is to investigate the Recession-related effects on small firms, their responses to tackle that (i.e. their strategies) and the resulting impact on the performance of the firm. More specifically, this study aims to answer the following research questions:

RQ1: How did recession affect the SMEs?

RQ2: What were the impacts suffered by SMEs as a result of Recession?

RQ3: How did the SMEs respond to the Recession conditions?

RQ4: What are the factors that drive the SMEs performance under Recession conditions?

These questions will help answer the most important aim of this project: providing the best options/schemes that any SME can follow in order to survive economic downturns.

Under these circumstances, the following are the benefits of conducting this research proposal:

It will help those who wish to understand how Recession influences SME’s activities and performance. Also, they must also take into account the mechanisms through which Recession conditions exert an influence.

This research proposal will also help broaden the understanding of how Recessionconditions shape a SME’s business activity and performance.

SME managers can make use of the strategies presented in this research to fight Recession where in this research proposal will help them to identify the right focus areas during and post-recession. But, there is no guarantee of a single ‘bestmethod’ that can ensure a SME’s survival under economic downturns.

This proposal will be extremely useful to new ventures/start-ups as they canunderstand the causes, effects and impacts of Recession. This, in turn will help them be better prepared and pro-active in case Recession occurs in the future.

Ø Individually less diversified in their economic activities.

Ø Have a weaker financial structure.

Ø Lower or no credit rating.

Ø Heavily dependent on credit and have lesser financing options.

Ø More vulnerable as they bear the brunt of the difficulties of the large firms.

Ø Narrower base of customers and product lines across which to spread risk.

Ø Less bargaining power with a variety of external actors that include customers, suppliers and financial providers.

Problem Statement

The term material handling can be defined as an art and science which is used to be applied for moving, storing and packing of materials in any form. There are number of benefits associated with material handling, such as- increase the efficacy of plan layout, reduces cost, add value to product cost etc. Efficient material handling is crucial for operations related to manufacturing ( Fowler, 2009). It is important that the supplies supplied by vendors should be unpacked, and moved over and done with review and assembly operations to stores and as a final point to the distribution department. This study is responsible for outlining the research project which aims to evaluate the risk associated with the material handling system and then manage those risk which can affect the system of material handling associated with business operations ( Marsden & Wright, 2010).

As a result, this study draws a brief outline of the problem for which research is necessary to be conducted. Therefore, aims and objectives are set for the research in this study.Furthermore, this study moreoverelucidates a brief idea concerning the methodologies which is important to be used in the project.

Major concern of the research is the problem associated with assessing the risk in addition to managing the risk linked with material handling systems. To handle the material is one of the business operation of organizations. The processes of Material Handlings System is consist of the storage, protection and control measure of material by promoting on place and time value.

Though, Material Handling Systems faces severe challenges or issues in context to costs of operations, level of inventory, delivery precision, quality of delivery, safety in addition to flow of information. Furthermore, these challenges or issues in the long rungenerateconcernsrelated to the organization`s business operations who deals in retailingof product ( Ellis, 2010). Because of expansion of new markets, demand of manufacturing for a great range of machineries and ultimate product assemblages is analyzed greater than before. This ultimatum progress of demand has led to haste increases and variations in how tools as well as materials should be transported and handled in order to monitor the requirements of manufacturing (Montreuil, 2012). For that reason, the risk evaluation as well as risk management associated with Material Handling System is the most important concern for this specific research.

Research aim

Research aim is a broad statement which emphasize on the desired outcomes. The aim of research concentrates on what a researcher want to accomplish from the research. This research`s main aim is to evaluate the risk and manage those risks which are linked with the Material Handling systems i.e. operation of business organizations.

Research Objectives

Objectives of the research is associated with the aim of the research. These objectives are set in such a way so that, they shall facilitate in achieving the aim of the research. Research’s objectives are highly feasible and focused in order to achieve the aim (Kutz, 2009). This research’s major objectives are as follows:

  • Measure the risks accompanying with material handling systems of business operations.
  • Consider the strategies which can facilitate in addressing the issues with material handling systems.
  • Determine the plan for risk management to mitigate the issues arise in material handling systems( Engel, et al., 2014).

Research Question

Research question of this proposal is derived from the problem statement. The main question of the research is-

Research Aim, Objectives and Research Question

“What are the risk associated with the Material Handling systems and how those risks can be managed?”

Research`s Justification

This research will be important for the manufacturing business organizations. As material handling in appropriate way will enhance the production of the business organizations. Organizations which are indulged in manufacturing operations will be benefitted with this research as they will come to know the benefits which can be availed by proper material handling system (Tanchoco, 2012). Through material handling system, manufacturing companies will be able to reduce the time cycle of manufacturing, establish better working conditions, better control regarding flow of material could be achieved by the companies. After going through the research, manufacturing companies will be able to maintain quality by avoiding damages of products ( Graves, et al., 2012). In addition to this, business organization will also understand about higher productivity at lesser manufacturing cost through material handling. Risks with the material handling and the ways to mitigate those risk will also be easily understood by the business organizations after going through the research. Therefore, this research will be important for the manufacturing organizations as well as other business organizations who are linked with material handling. In addition to this, research will also be important for the researchers who wish to further research in the same topic (Montreuil, 2012).

 The expected outcomes or result of the research are given below:

  • Risks which can arise at the time of material handling is one of the expected result that can be achieved after completion of the research.
  • Another expected outcome of the research is, the ways or methods which can be used to mitigate the risk associated with material handling(Andres, 2012).
  • One of the other expected outcome of the research is, important aspects of material handling.
  • Importance of material handling for the business is other expected result of the research.

Material handling system is one of the elementary constituent of manufacturing system. For any productive activity material handling is significant and vital element. The purpose of a material handling system consist of both the assortment of suitable equipment for material handling in addition to the transfer of operations of material handling to specific piece of equipment (Kutz, 2009). Therefore, selection of material handling system can be well-defined as the assortment of equipment of material handling in order to perform operations for material handling in a working premises, bearing in mind that all aspects of the merchandises to be handled.

  • For manufacturing operations, efficient material handling is crucial.
  • The movements of material handling such as- loading, unloading, packaging etc. do not add value to the product but these movements enhance value to the cost(Tanchoco, 2012).
  • Material handling system and plant layout complements each other as they both enhance the effectiveness of each other.
  • Use of appropriate methods for efficient operation of material handling facilitates production by raising its maximum capabilities and also helps in reducing costs.

According to (Zaezilia & Seibold, 2016), an effective process of material handling supports design of suitable facility layout, advances overall production operations, decreases total cost of production and promotes expansion of methods which simplifies and improves the work process. Principles of material handling are given below:

  • Planning Principle- This principle establish a plan that embraces basic requisites, desirable alternatives as well as planning for emergency.
  • Orientation Principle- The orientation principle reassures study of all system relationships earlier moving in the direction of initial planning. The study involves exploring the existing methods, issues etc.
  • Systems Principle: It assimilates the activities of handling and storing that is cost operative into unified system design(Stephens & Meyers, 2014).
  • Principle of Space Utilization:  it encourages the utilization of available space in effective way.
  • Unit Load principle: this principle lays emphasis on handling the product in a unit load.
  • Standardization Principle: Standardization of equipment and handling methods is encouraged by this principle.
  • Energy Principle: This principle, studies energy consumption throughout the process of material handling( Frazelle, 2016).
  • Ergonomic Principle: This principle assess the limitations and human capabilities by designing handling equipment in effective manner.
  • Ecology Principle: This principle, emboldens least impact upon the environment during handling of material.
  • Safety Principle: Reassures provision for harmless handling equipment as per safety regulations and rules.
  • System Flow Principle: Reassures assimilation of data flow with manual material flow.
  • Computerization Principle: Reassures material handling computerization and storage systems.
  • Maintenance Principle: It reassures formation of plan for scheduled repairs and preventive maintenance.

There are some factors which affects the selection of material handling equipment, such as production problem which includes class of material, volume of production and plant layout; involvement of human element concerning to safety of workers or employees; and availability of the capabilities of handling equipment which includes flexibility, speed, load capacity, adaptability, requirement of space, speed, cost, ease of maintenance, environment, requirement of space etc.

There are several types of material handling systems, which are discussed below in brief-

  • Equipment Oriented Systems- Handling of materials can be done through the systems which are equipment oriented. The subsystems of this system are-fork lift system, underground system, industrial truck system, tractor transfer system and convey system(Zaezilia & Seibold, 2016).
  • Material Oriented Systems- Material handling done through the systems which are material oriented includes subsystem such as- liquid handling system, unit handling system and bulk handling system( Young & Coleman, 2010).
  • Methods Oriented System- The handling of material through the systems which are methods oriented, embraces subsystems which can be used to handle the materials such as- mass production system, automated system, manual system and job shop handling system.
  • Function Oriented System- Some system of material handling are function oriented and the activities of material handling are performed through subsystems such as- conveying systems, elevating systems, transferring systems and transportation systems.

Unit Load Concept in Material Handling- unit load can be defined as bulk materials or number of items, so organized that the mass can be picked up and transferred as a particular object, excessively large, for manual handling (Stephens & Meyers, 2014). There are some disadvantages associated with this concept such as- cot of de unitizing and unitizing, issues related to returning empty pallet, bare weight of unitizing medium, transfer equipment often not available at both ends of the move.

Justification and Potential Outputs of Research

Flow Pattern Concept in Material Handling- The flow pattern results as a flow chart when it is drawn on a paper that helps in locating needless crisis crossing and back tracking of movements of material. Once the movements which are unnecessary are assessed then measures can be taken to lessen or eliminate such unwanted moves (Zaezilia & Seibold, 2016). There are number of benefits associated with appropriate flow pattern such as- better utilization of equipment and floor space, increases production efficiency, reduces walking distance, provides a base for an efficient plan layout, minimal accident hazards, reduces process inventory and idle time, faster supervision, logical work sequencing, improves process of scheduling, minimal back tracking, smoother flow of production, reduces crowded conditions and better housekeeping. An example of flow pattern concept is given below:

According to ( Ellis, 2010), material Handling equipment`s selection is one of the important decision which shall be taken for material handling in proper way. As selection of equipment for handling material can affect the efficiency and cost of the handling system. Aspects which should be considered while selecting the equipment for handling material are- properties of material, characteristics and layout of building, flow of production, consideration of cost, nature of operations, engineering factors, equipment reliability etc.  Types of material handling equipment are discussed below-

  • Conveyors: Conveyors are powered or gravity devices which are used for transferring loads from one point to another point over stable paths(Molecey & Price, 2013). Types of conveyors are- roller conveyors, chain conveyor, screw conveyors, gravity or chute conveyors, pipeline conveyors, pneumatic conveyors, belt conveyors, bucket conveyors, vibratory conveyors. These conveyors do not requisites operators as well as inexpensive to operate.
  • Hoists, Cranes and Elevators- These are overhead maneuvers which are used for transferring capricious loads occasionally to concerning points in an area. Hoists includes horizontal hoist, vertical hoists, chain or electric hoist. Elevators can be vertically and between floors. Carnes includes ground rails and overhead rails.
  • Industrial Trucks- They can be gasoline, electric, diesel or gas powered. It includes fort lift trucks, pedestrian – led powered industrial truck, band truck and pallet trucks(Stephens & Meyers, 2014).
  • Auxiliary equipment- Attachments or devices which are used with the handling equipment in order to make their use more versatile and effective. It includes- skit boxes, expendable pallet.
  • Various handling equipment- Industrial robots (they can be programmed, controlled and possess versatile characteristics), automatic transfer devices, pipelines, automatic guided vehicles (computer is requisite with remote control, therefore operator is not required, signals through wires on floor, flexibility in paths).

An example of material handling finance is given below. This example states the financial expenditure on handling of material in industry.

Research methodology can be described as a systematic manner for collecting data and embraces a deliberation of conceptions as well as theories which underlies the method. Through the research methodology further research will be conducted in systematic manner to reach at a conclusion. This research is quantitative in nature, as emphasis will be laid on gathering quantitative data which is in form of numbers and figures.

Data Collection Method – The term data collection can be described as the way to collect the data, which is useful for the research and the collected data is measured over the besieged variables in an organized manner. There are usually two methods or source available for collection of data i.e. primary data collection method and secondary data collection method( Vogt, 2011). Data collected through primary method is more reliable than the data collected through the secondary methods. As the primary data is first hand data and the researcher can collect the data which is more relevant through this source. Techniques through which primary data can be collected are- observation, surveys, interviews etc. In addition, techniques for collection of secondary data make use of the data gathered for past researches, which is collected from a number of sources for example, peer-reviewed journals, articles, cases, magazines, business reports, internet etc. Though, techniques of primary method for collecting data will be used for the research (Montreuil, 2012).

Primary Data collection- Survey method will be used to collect the data. In the survey method, a questionnaire will be developed and then dispersed among employees who are linked with material handling system`s manufacturing. Almost, 50 employees will be approached for the survey through random sampling technique.

Through data analysis, the collected data can be reviewed, transformed as well as displayed in a meaningful order by means of supporting the decision making and details could be discovered which facilitates in giving answer for the question of research or we can say, a solution for the research problem. Through data analysis, recommendations can also be given for betterment. There are two major techniques which can help in data analysis, which are- qualitative data analysis and qualitative data analysis ( Fowler, 2009). The data analyzed through qualitative techniques comprehends number of processes through which researcher transfers from the data collected, into some systems of clarification, accepting or elucidating the considered scenarios. On the other hand, quantitative data analysis, lays emphasize to consider a systematic manner for investigating strategies in the course of gathering numerical data that permits researcher to convert the important figures and facts noticed in the numerical data.

In the research techniques of quantitative data will be used to analyze the data. As in the research, data in numeric form i.e. quantitative data which includes figures will be gathered by conducting a survey on 50 employees who are linked to material handling system`s manufacturing; and this type of data can be better analyzed through quantitative techniques for data analysis ( Vogt, 2011). Statistical measures would be used to analyze the gathered data as the data in a form of numerical figures can be analyzed in better way through applying statistical measures.

Research`s organization is discussed below:

  • Outlining of proposal for the assignment.
  • Problem statement`s discussion for which research is important to be conducted.
  • Formulation objectives,aims and the question of research( Marsden & Wright, 2010).
  • Justification of the research which will entail the importance of research for different users and discussion about expected results of research.
  • Providing a conceptual framework that comprehends the description of aspects related to material handling system.
  • Discussion about methodology of research, that how the data will be collected and analyzed to reach at come conclusion(Andres, 2012).

Activities undertaken for Research

Undertaken Activity`s Starting date

Completion date of Undertaken Activity

Overall Duration taken for  Completion of Research Activity (in days)

Establishing Problem Statement




Research Aim , Research objective and Research question




Research`s Justification




Expected results of research




Review of Literature




Research Methodology




Over-all days for completion of the research activities



Thirty - five

Budget of Research and Expense`s justification

Expenditure will incur on carrying out the activities for research project as for gathering information, review of literature, data analysis etc. Explanations for the expenditures that can incurred in the research are given below-:

  • Expenditures on review of literature - $700. Review of literature is required in the research and the conceptual framework requires to go through from peer reviewed articles in addition to journal articles published on the material handling system( Vogt, 2011). In context to access the literature material required for research there will be expenditure of $ 700.
  • Preparation of questionnaire for survey- $1400. In the research data will be gathered by conducting a survey in which questionnaire would be prepared and distributed among the samples selected for the research. Therefore, an expenditure of $ 1400 will be incurred on questionnaire`s formulation( Engel, et al., 2014).
  • Analysis of Collected Data- Analysis of gathered data is requisite in each and every research in order to reach a conclusion. The research is quantitative research and the data collected for the research would also be in numeric form. To analyze the data quantitative techniques are going to be used and this demands for statistical method. Software is going to be used for analysis as well as presentation of data. Therefore, an expenditure of $ 1500 will incur on this research activity.

Estimated budget in the summarized form is given below (Bates, 2014):

Expenditures on Research Activities

Amount of Expenditures

Conceptual framework or review of literature

$ 700

Formulation as well as distribution of questionnaire

$ 1400

Analysis of  Gathered Data

$ 1500

Over-all estimated budget for the research project

$ 3600

The table displayed above discerns information about the expenditures which is going to be incurred in the research project. The expenditure amount of activities are estimations and the amount can be slightly vary from real expenditures.


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