Materials Planning Manager

Materials Planning Manager jobs

The need to keep materials coming into the factory in any production enterprise is clearly an essential element in the success of the business. But the way they are ordered is essential for the profitability of the company. Routinely order too much too soon and the need for larger, more expensive stock rooms or hoppers will be required. Unfortunately this is the default for many companies who subscribe to the bird in the hand way for thinking. They might not realise how poor planning is eating into their profitability.

The materials planning manager will be in charge of a company’s, or a single production line’s, incoming materials. He or she will need to find the optimum level of materials purchase and ensure that it arrives as close to the time of need as possible to make best use of storage space. The job will also be a link between the demand-side elements – customers and later stages of the production chain – and the suppliers of materials and components essential for productivity.

The planning manager will need to feed changes in demand through to the suppliers in a timely manner to ensure continued production. At the very least, this will mean ensuring there is a supply of materials, but wherever possible it will mean calculating the optimum way of getting the materials in terms of delivery loads, storage costs and staffing needs.

The skills required

The key skill of the materials planner will be the ability to understand data from a variety of sources and to act upon it in the company’s and the customers’ best interests. Typical sources will be sales teams, customer order information and regular ongoing productivity data, but there could be some degree of analysis or liaison with forecasters to predict future trends, peaks or troughs that will need to be converted into materials orders from the suppliers.

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills will help with the job too. There will be as much understanding of these diverse sources of information as there is explanation to the relevant parties. When orders are complex or liable to change, it is vital that communication channels are kept open and accurate.

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