A materials manager is responsible for all aspects of purchased materials. This can include working with buyers and vendors to ensure materials are available. It can also mean overseeing surplus material disposal, analyzing delivery systems, and managing a purchasing budget. Within the duties of a materials manager, several fields require his or her skill sets.
Material managers must be flexible and have the ability to multitask. They are responsible for generating reports, supervising purchasing agents, developing company purchase guidelines, and resolving differences between vendors and suppliers. Other duties within the scope of materials manager jobs depend on what field they are in.
Government-based materials manager jobs mean that managers are typically involved in a bidding system. Many regional governments mandate the use of a bidding process on any materials or purchases that cost more than a preset amount of money. Bidding rules are specified and companies submit bids to sell materials to the government agency in question. The materials manager usually signs off on on the awarded materials bid. He or she is also responsible for ensuring that received bids comply with the bid parameters.
Private sector materials managers do not usually use a bidding process. Instead, the materials manager focuses attention on locating the best price for materials and buying them at that price. Negotiation of price and shipping are typically part of the expected duties of materials manager jobs in the private sector.
The primary difference in different materials manager jobs has to do with the industry the manager works in. A materials manager in the health field will spend the day supervising the purchase of medical supplies. For the manufacturing-based materials manager, making sure that all needed parts and packaging are on the floor and available to the assemblers as needed is the bottom line.
Duties of a materials manager also depend on the size of the company. In some cases, the materials manager runs a one-person department. He or she is responsible for all buying, shipping, and returns. Larger companies typically provide a staff for the materials manager to supervise. Most materials manager jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree.