Material Planner

Last Updated:
July 18, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Material Planner job description involves managing all aspects of the material supply chain for a manufacturing company. You need to ensure that raw materials, components, and resources are available and delivered on time to support production and maintain inventory levels.

As a Material Planner, you need to monitor production schedules, track inventory levels, and maintain relationships with suppliers. You also use computer software and spreadsheets to analyze data, forecast demand, and generate reports.

You need to work closely with production managers, procurement specialists, and logistics teams to coordinate schedules and inventory levels. You should have strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to multitask.

To qualify for this role, you typically need a Bachelor's degree in supply chain management, logistics, business, or industrial engineering, and experience in materials planning or procurement. Knowledge of inventory management, SAP, and Lean Six Sigma is also highly desirable.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Material planning involves determining the quantity and type of materials needed to manufacture products.
  • A material planner works with suppliers to ensure the timely delivery of materials needed for production.
  • They are responsible for maintaining inventory levels to ensure adequate supply.
  • They communicate with production teams to ensure that materials are available when needed.
  • Material planners work with purchasing teams to order and track materials.
  • They forecast future demand for materials to prevent stockouts.
  • Material planners are responsible for ensuring accurate data entry related to inventory and purchasing.
  • They analyze data related to inventory and production to identify areas for improvement.
  • Material planners may be responsible for negotiating pricing with suppliers.
  • They work closely with production planners to ensure a smooth flow of materials and products through the manufacturing process.

Experience and Education Requirements

To work as a Material Planner in the Manufacturing industry, you usually need to have a blend of education and job experience. 

Employers usually ask for candidates who have a high school diploma, but a bachelor's degree in business, supply chain management, production planning, or a related field is preferred. Some organizations may accept relevant work experience in place of formal education. 

Experience-wise, employers look for individuals who have worked in inventory management, purchasing, production planning, or logistics coordination. On top of that, they expect candidates to have skills in data analysis, project management, communication, and problem-solving. 

In summary, a Material Planner needs a mix of education and experience to succeed in the role. Having a degree in a related field coupled with experience in supply chain management or production planning can set you up for success.

Salary Range

A Material Planner's salary range in the Manufacturing industry in the United States is between $44,000 to $80,000 per year, with an average of $58,000 annually. This range can vary depending on the location, experience, and qualifications of the individual. For instance, a Material Planner with more experience and skills can earn more than someone who is just starting. Good data for other countries is limited, but in Canada, the range is between CAD 45,000 to CAD 70,000 annually. If you are looking to become a Material Planner, it's important to negotiate your salary based on your unique qualifications and job responsibilities. 


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Career Outlook

The career outlook for a material planner in the manufacturing industry over the next five years is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of logisticians, which includes material planners, is expected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. As companies continue to expand their operations and invest in new technologies and processes, the need for material planners to ensure that the right components and materials are available at the right time will remain essential.

Additionally, with the rise of global supply chains and the increasing complexity of logistics operations, skilled material planners will be in high demand. Those who have experience with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, supply chain management software, and advanced analytics will be particularly sought after. In conclusion, if you're interested in a career as a material planner, you can expect to have plenty of opportunities in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a Material Planner?

A: A Material Planner is responsible for managing the inventory and supplies required for production in a manufacturing company. They monitor the stock levels, forecast the demand for raw materials, and collaborate with other departments to ensure materials are available on time.

Q: What are the job requirements to become a Material Planner?

A: Typically, a Material Planner has a bachelor's degree in business, supply chain management or engineering, along with relevant work experience. Attention to detail, analytical skills, and proficiency in supply chain software are also important.

Q: What are the core responsibilities of a Material Planner?

A: A Material Planner is responsible for creating and managing supply chain schedules, ensuring the timely delivery of raw materials to manufacturing sites, updating inventory records, and tracking production forecast data.

Q: What are the benefits of being a Material Planner?

A: Some benefits of being a Material Planner include the opportunity to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, working with different departments across the organization, and being a key player in driving the success of the company's operations.

Q: What are the work challenges faced by Material Planners?

A: Some potential challenges include balancing multiple priorities and responsibilities, adapting to unexpected changes in demand and supply, dealing with logistics issues, and managing inventory levels without overstocking or running out of stock.

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