Coordinate raw materials used to manufacture products in factories.
What does a Material Planner do?
A Material Planner, or Materials Planner, is in charge of coordinating raw materials as well as other parts and resources that are needed to manufacture products. After all, in manufacturing, something must go in before anything can come out. Whether it’s a television, computer, automobile, or frying pan, it comes out as a finished product, but goes in as raw materials – including, for example, wood, oil, paper, plastic, glass, steel, and stone.
As a Material Planner, you work most often in a factory setting. To do your job, you first collaborate with your company’s engineering department, determining – based on blueprints and specifications – what parts and materials are needed and in what quantities. You then team up with your company’s purchasing department in order to actually acquire the requisite materials from vendors. In short, you’re a bridge between design and production, paid to connect the manufacturing dots.
By practicing what’s known as materials requirement planning (MRP) – which is the process that manufacturers use to control inventory and manage production – you oversee the lifecycle of materials from the moment they’re ordered to the moment they leave the factory as finished products. Among your daily duties as a Material Planner, therefore, are finding vendors, scheduling deliveries, and negotiating materials costs. You also manage inventory levels, reduce waste, and balance output with sales.
Ultimately, it’s your job to minimize costs and maximize productivity by maintaining a delicate balance between too much inventory and too little, making sure that the assembly line has exactly what it needs – no more and no less – exactly when it needs it.