A materials manager is a procurement professional that specializes in inventory control and purchasing. Duties often include logistics. It is estimated that approximately 42% of purchasing and materials management personnel are employed in the wholesale trade business. Most are employed in the manufacturing sectors, construction, and private industry, such as hospitals, oil and gas industries, and retail businesses. Materials managers are responsible for maintaining what is similar to homeostasis, only in regard to supply and demand of incoming products, outgoing products, and requisitioned supplies.
Materials management typically includes the purchasing aspect of the business. Simply stated, materials management endeavors to negotiate the best conceivable business deal for their individual companies. These procurement specialists evaluate availability, price, quality, supply and demand, reliability, and the availability of technical support when making a supply, purchase, or requisition decision. Materials management personnel include purchasing agents, purchasing managers, and buyers.
As of 2008, the median annual salary of materials management personnel was $89,160. The highest paid 10% average annual salary was $115,830, while the lowest paid 10% was $51,490. The average salary of purchasing and materials managers of farm products was approximately $49,00. The salary range was between $37,930 and $67,440. The lowest average salary was $28,990; the highest salary was $92,220.*
The salary range of retail and wholesale procurement specialists was between $36,460 and $66,090. The lowest average salary was $28,210; the highest paid 10% earned $90,010.*
The median annual salaries of purchasing and materials management personnel in industries other than farm products, wholesale, and retail industries ranged from $41,670 to $70, 810. The highest paid 10% earned in excess of $88,790; the lowest paid 10% earned $33,650.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
It is possible for a materials management professional to earn a very competitive and lucrative salary in procurement. There were more than 1.5 million purchasing and materials management positions filled in 2008.
Job Description and Outlook
The materials management procurement specialists typically works a longer than 40 hour week due to conferences, sales, and the demands of peak seasons. Travel is often necessary to visit manufacturing plants or suppliers. One primary and essential function of materials management is maintaining inventory. This involves evaluating sales records, production requirements, usage reports, scrap reports, and reconciling the company’s inventory.
Materials management is responsible for estimations of anticipated material requirements and making requisition decisions. They routinely monitor sales levels, check competitor prices, and anticipate buying trends. For example, if a company introduces a new launch of products, the materials manager would review the buying habits of the distributors on the previous launch to project the anticipated demand for the current launch. In this manner, there would be sufficient supplies on hand to fill the initial supply and demand of the new product. Furthermore, they would keep an ongoing record of sales to see which product had the greatest demand and least demand. They would requisition raw materials to be consistent with and accommodate the demand.
As procurement and purchasing employee, materials management is often responsible for determining the best supplier of goods and services, oversees, and conducts contract negotiations in an effort to obtain the highest benefit for the least cost. Another critical function is evaluating suppliers. This is now accomplished through the reviews on the Internet, catalogs, and trade journals.
Essentially, the materials management professional keeps the company functioning by maintaining adequate inventory, obtaining the best prices for goods and services, and ensuring that production has the required parts and materials to meet and exceed the mandates and indications of the supply and demand of the organization.
Requirements Training and Education
Materials management professionals matriculate for four years and can earn a degree in Purchasing and Materials Management. This degree focuses on procurement, inventory control, government contracts, contracts and negotiation, supplier management, logistics, marketing, economics, as well as the core classes. This major prepares the graduate to enter the procurement field as a materials manager with minimum on-the-job training.
Some new materials management employees have a four-year degree in business, manufacturing, or engineering, but are required to enter the field as a procurement trainee. These new employees must learn the business and are typically partnered with a senior materials management and purchasing professional. The training period can range from 1 to 5 years. The training is necessary for the trainee to learn the business climate, practices, procedures, pricing, commodities, markets, as well as learn the materials requisition system and the inventory control procedures,
Additionally, new materials management personnel must learn the computer software packages, Internet utilization for that market, gain the necessary skills to analyze technical jargon and data, learn suppliers and procurement principals, contract negotiation protocol. More over, they need a working knowledge of supply-chain functions and management.
Finally the successful materials management candidate will have good math skills, forecasting or planning ability, be detail oriented, have proficient analytical skills, problem resolution training, possess an interest in marketing and merchandising, have excellent verbal and written communication skills, be a team player, and exhibit exemplary leadership ability. Some employees enter the materials management field as trainees, junior buyers, associate buyers, or purchasing clerks and learn the business in a hands-on protocol
In purchasing and materials management the Certified Purchasing Management (CPM) designation is earned by the completion of a four-part course and program. The applicant must demonstrate competency with passing test scores. The Institute of Supply Management confers the certification. However, this certification was replaced in 2008 by the CPSM, which means Certified Professional in Supply Management, which encompasses a wider range of purchasing and material management skills. Additionally, other certifications are available including the Certified Supply Chain Professional and the Certified Public Buyer certification, which are earned through a combination of continuing education classes and work experience.
The main professional association that is specifically designated for materials management professionals is the NAPM, which is the National Association of Purchasing Management. It offers continuing education opportunities, seminars, and monthly meetings in major cities.
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