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What does a Materials Manager do?

By Tess C. Taylor
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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With growing demands for raw materials occurring all over the world, companies rely on materials managers to handle management of these resources. The materials manager is usually hired by a company to monitor and make best use of materials used to produce products for sale to general, commercial and government customers. This is an important role within a manufacturing or building company, which relies on careful allocation of materials used in production.

A materials manager is often not only in charge of managing materials, but is also involved in the purchasing of these materials. As costs fluctuate depending on the scope and type of materials used, the materials manager must know how and when to purchase the best quality materials at the right price in order to benefit the company the most. A materials manager generally works closely with the executive management team in order to best meet company objectives on existing and future projects.

In order to best supervise this responsibility, the materials manager routinely evaluates existing projects to materials needed to produce finished products in cooperation with logistics managers. This takes continual monitoring of inventory through a supply chain management system. At times, it’s also a requirement to keep spare parts on hand for use in making repairs to returned products that are part of a refurbishment program.

Another key responsibility of the materials manager involves meshing efforts with the design or engineering team. This is to ensure that products that are produced meet or exceed industry standards of quality and performance once they leave the shop. Each project must be carefully examined and the correct materials must be located and purchased in order to meet these demands. Failure to manage this aspect of the process can result in serious consequences for a company.

Materials managers generally come from a background of handling raw materials and inventory management within their chosen industry. This job requires a familiarity of the type of materials used to produce certain types of products. This can come from on-the-job experience over time or a specialized training provided at work.

The materials manager job also requires having the resourcefulness to locate the raw materials needed to produce products that consumers require. This generally involves developing a solid working relationship with vendors and suppliers of the parts and materials needed to get the job done. It also requires being able to negotiate for the best prices and delivery rates so that projects can be completed affordably and on time.

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Discussion Comments
By Azuza — On Aug 19, 2011

@ceilingcat - When you consider how large the construction and manufacturing industries are, you'll realize this job isn't as specialized as you would think.

As the article said, a person in this field can learn on the job and work their way up to materials manager. It sounds like the knowledge is out there for people in the industry if they are interesting in learning it.

By ceilingcat — On Aug 18, 2011

This job sounds really specialized to me. How many people are really knowledgeable about purchasing and managing raw materials? I bet a good materials manager is probably worth their weight in gold!

Thinks about it. If you don't have raw materials, whatever project you're working on is going to come to a screeching halt!

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