What are the qualities or skills that a good material manager must have?
Materials management is a logistical function that essentially manages all “raw” components of a supply chain, which involves the sourcing, acquisition, warehousing and overall management of raw materials, parts and other components that go into the creation of a product that is then sold and shipped to end users.
A competent materials manager is crucial to supply chain management, but the qualities or skills required of a “good” materials manager vary considerably and depend on the complexity of the company looking for the manager. A multinational Fortune 500 company that produces multiple products will have far more complicated requirements than a company that produces a single product for a regional or local market.
Materials managers do share some common traits and skills, however, and any company searching for a qualified materials manager should look for five skills.
- Familiarity with various supply chain management systems and measurement tools to ensure shipping efficiency
- Understanding of rapidly changing supply chain management innovations such as new logistics processes, outsourced management of warehousing mobile computing, and real-time inventory management
- Training in project management to support production schedules, to plan requirements for purchasing materials or services, and to ensure delivery of materials to production consistent with established schedules
- Ability in analysis, organization, and communications as well as an ability to use office and computer equipment and software
- Strong skills in change management, problem-solving, customer orientation, global business perspective, team leadership and human resources management.