Materials Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Materials Manager, or Purchasing Manager, oversees a company’s needs for inventory and supplies by managing vendor relationships, assessing supply needs and coordinating delivery schedules. Their duties include training operations staff, signing purchase orders and tracking the flow of inventory through the company’s supply chain.

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Materials Manager Duties and Responsibilities 

A Materials Manager hires and trains new staff while planning and coordinating the work of purchasing agents and buyers. The specific responsibilities of a Materials Manager can vary from employer to employer but job descriptions for a Materials Manager may contain the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Evaluating suppliers on the basis of delivery speed for their products and services, price and quality
  • Interviewing vendors and visiting supplier distribution centers and plants to examine and learn about prices, products and services. 
  • Attending conferences, trade shows and meetings to network with suppliers and learn about new industry trends
  • Analyzing financial reports, price proposals and other information used to determine reasonable pricing 
  • Negotiating contracts for the organization and working out agreements with suppliers for product delivery
  • Meeting with vendors and staff to discuss unacceptable and defective products and establish corrective action
  • Evaluating and monitoring contracts to ensure suppliers and vendors are complying with terms and conditions
  • Maintaining and reviewing records of inventories, product performance, deliveries, costs and items purchased

What Does a Materials Manager Do? 

Materials Managers generally work in warehouse environments so they can have a hands-on approach to maintaining inventory levels and supervising supply deliveries. They are the main point of contact for vendors, making them responsible for negotiating the terms of supply contracts, researching new material sources and recording delivery schedules. Materials Managers explain the distribution process to their team and adjust business operations to improve reliability and quality. Materials Managers are instrumental in setting appropriate price points for product sales and making adjustments to account for changes in the cost of attaining, storing and transporting materials.

Materials Manager Skills and Qualifications

A job description for a Materials Manager may contain the following skills and qualification requirements: 

  • Analytical skills for evaluating and choosing suppliers offering the best combination of service, delivery, quality and price 
  • Decision-making skills for making timely and informed decisions on selecting products they believe will sell. 
  • Math skills for comparing prices from various suppliers and ensuring the organization is receiving the best deal
  • Interpersonal skills, self-confidence and negotiating skills for establishing contracts with suppliers and vendors.

Materials Manager Salary Expectations   

The average salary for a Materials Manager is $81,243 per year. This information is based on 933 anonymously submitted salaries to Indeed from employees and users along with past and present Materials Manager job postings on Indeed within the last 36 months. 

Materials Manager Education and Training Requirements 

Educational requirements for a Materials Manager position often vary depending on the size of an organization. While a high school diploma may suffice for some businesses, most require a bachelor’s degree in supply management, business or finance. 

There are various certifications available for Material Managers from organizations such as The American Purchasing Society, The American Production and Inventory Control Society, The Next Level Purchasing Association, The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council, The National Institute of Government Purchasing and The National Association of State Procurement Officials. 

These certifications generally include written and oral exams along with work experience and educational requirements.

Materials Manager Experience Requirements 

A Materials Manager position usually requires a minimum of five years of experience as either a Purchasing or Buyer Agent. At upper levels, management duties associated with this position may overlap with other functions including marketing, logistics, planning and production. 

Purchasing Agents and Buyers often become Assistant Materials Managers prior to advancing to roles such as Director of Materials Management, Supply Manager, Purchasing Manager and Materials Manager. 

Purchasing Agents, Buyers and Materials Managers with extensive experience in the industry may also advance to a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) position within an organization. 

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Materials Managers

 

What is the difference between a Materials Manager and an Inventory Clerk?

Materials Managers and Inventory Clerk both work with a company’s products and supplies, but Materials Managers coordinate high-level logistics while Inventory Clerks handle the small details and day-to-day upkeep of inventory organization. Inventory Clerks may also work with a specific type of material, like only working with finished products, while Materials Managers handle the purchase of all raw goods, packaging and even equipment necessary for production. Materials Managers delegate tasks to Inventory Clerks, like re-counting deliveries or recording shipments and tracking deliveries. Inventory Clerks always work on the floor while Material Managers also travel to make deals and inspect materials.

 

What are the qualities of a good Materials Manager

Successful Materials Managers are highly practical and organized people who have a thorough understanding of how scheduling and logistics can impact a business. They are passionate about efficiency and finding better ways to achieve a result. Good Materials Managers are excellent teachers and mentors who are able to delegate tasks to their team and explain clear expectations about the quality and speed of their work. They are polite and professional enough to maintain long-term business relationships, managing the expectations of vendors while still getting the best deal on supply prices, material quality and delivery times.

 

What are the daily duties of a Materials Manager

Materials Managers spend a significant amount of time communicating with current vendors and potential future suppliers. They perform research to determine their prices, material quality and the reliability of their shipment process. They review pricing histories and financial reports to assess the financial risk factors of working with various vendors and decide which suppliers can meet the company’s short and long-term needs. Materials Managers also field issues related to product quality and delivery, process returns and create quality assurance standards. They meet with warehouse staff about delivery goals and track supply needs compared to available materials.

 

What should you look for on a Materials Manager's resume?

To find strong candidates for a Materials Manager role, look for resumes that emphasize interpersonal skills and the ability to negotiate with other business leaders. Previous experience acting as the decision-maker for a department shows which candidates have experience using their judgement to further a company’s mission. Prioritize applications that reference experience sourcing suppliers within your industry to leverage their existing professional contacts and knowledge.

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