Materials managers are responsible for a wide variety of different job duties and responsibilities that may include supervising the activities of subordinate workers, planning and administering a department budget, planning and scheduling tasks over both short and long term time periods. Other job duties may include determining and administering policies and procedures that are related to shipping and receiving as well as the storage of different kinds of materials, supplies and equipment. A materials manager may also act as a liaison in addition to preparing and maintaining different merchandising and financial reports and records. They may also recommend important material and equipment purchases.
Materials Manager Job Responsibilities
The goal of a materials manager is often to obtain the best deal possible for their organization or company by purchasing the highest quality equipment and products at the lowest possible prices. This is accomplished by studying historical sales records as well as inventory stocks. A materials manager takes into consideration the quality, price, reliability, technical support and availability when choosing merchandise and suppliers. In order to be successful a materials manager must have a solid working knowledge of the services and goods that will be purchased.
A materials manager will typically work in an office. It is not uncommon for a materials manager to work in excess of the standard 40 hour work week due to the need to meet deadlines. Weekend and evening work may also be common. Travel is occasionally necessary. This is particularly common when the manager is employed by a company that is internationally based or has multiple branches across several regions.
One of the most important elements involved in materials management is ensuring that materials and parts utilized in the supply chain meet the minimum requirements for quality assurance standards. Many of the issues related to the daily work involved with materials management deals with quality assurance issues. Materials and parts must often be tested, prior to the placement of purchase orders as well as during use.
Materials managers may specialize within a certain field such as in the medical and health industry.
The employment outlook for this occupation is expected to be good throughout the year 2018, with this field growing at a rate that is about as fast as that for other occupations.
Materials Manager Training and Education Requirements
A materials manager may start out as a trainee or assistant manager. Most employers tend to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and who are also familiar with the materials they will be responsible for handling. It is not unusual for certification or continuing education to be required for advancement. Precise educational requirements often vary according to the size of the employer or the organization.
Large employers and organizations often prefer candidates who have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, particularly a degree with an emphasis on business. Manufacturing companies usually place an even stronger emphasis on candidates having formal training and often prefer candidates who have either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in business, engineering or economics. In order to advance, a master’s degree is often required.
Even with education, a new employee will usually need to learn the specifics of their particular employer’s business procedures. The time period for training can vary, but most tend to last from one to five years. In a manufacturing facility, the candidate may often work with an experienced manager in order to learn about suppliers, prices, markets, etc. An assignment to the production planning department is common in order for candidates to learn more about materials requirements.
A materials manager will also need to have an understanding of how to utilize different types of software as well as the Internet. Other qualities that are important to this career include good communication, math and negotiation skills, the ability to analyze financial and technical data and a solid understanding of supply chain management.
Individuals who are interested in entering this career field should be good at decision making and planning. Employers typically look for leadership abilities, particularly when the manager must supervise several subordinate employees, such as assistant managers and junior purchasing clerks.
Materials Manager Salary and Wages
In 2008 the median yearly wages for managers in this industry were around $89,000. Salary and wages can be highly dependent upon employer, geographic region and experience. Benefit packages are usually included as an employment perk.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Materials Manager Certifications
Continuing education can be crucial for advancement within this field. Many materials managers will take seminars that are provided by professional organizations as well as college courses offered in supply and materials management. In addition, professional certification has become increasingly necessary in this career field, particularly for those who have just entered the field and who are looking to advance.
The Certified Supply Chain Professional credential is offered by the Association for Operations Management.
Depending upon the manager’s precise job duties it may be necessary for the employee to become certified for handling hazardous materials.
Materials Manager Professional Associations
Professional associations for materials managers include the North American Hazardous Materials Association and the Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management.