Career Development

What Does a Material Controller Do?

Find out what a Material Controller does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Material Controller.

The Material Controller plays an essential role in managing the flow of materials within a company, ensuring that the right quantity of materials is available at the right time to meet production demands. This position involves coordinating with suppliers, maintaining inventory levels, and overseeing the timely delivery of materials to various departments. By effectively balancing supply with demand, the Material Controller helps to minimize costs and prevent production delays, contributing to the smooth operation of the company’s manufacturing processes. Their efforts support the organization’s overall efficiency and productivity, making them an integral part of the supply chain and operations team.

Material Controller Job Duties

  • Oversee the receipt, storage, and issuance of materials to ensure accuracy and integrity of the inventory system.
  • Coordinate with procurement and supply chain teams to schedule deliveries and manage supply levels to meet production demands.
  • Implement and maintain inventory control procedures and systems to minimize loss or damage and to ensure material traceability.
  • Liaise with production departments to forecast material needs and plan for future requirements, adjusting inventory levels as necessary.
  • Perform regular physical counts and reconciliations of material inventories against system records to maintain accuracy.
  • Manage the disposal of surplus, obsolete, or scrap materials in accordance with company policies and environmental regulations.
  • Train and supervise material handling staff, ensuring adherence to safety protocols and efficient material handling procedures.
  • Develop and generate inventory reports and metrics for management review, highlighting trends, discrepancies, and opportunities for process improvement.

Material Controller Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a Material Controller’s salary include industry experience, size and type of the employing company (e.g., manufacturing vs. retail), specific responsibilities (inventory management, procurement, logistics), and expertise in relevant software tools (e.g., ERP systems). Advanced negotiation skills and a proven track record in cost-saving can also elevate salary potential.

  • Median Annual Salary: $70,875 ($34.07/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $145,000 ($69.71/hour)

The employment of material controllers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing global supply chain complexities and the need for efficient inventory management in manufacturing and construction sectors. Material Controllers are essential for optimizing material flow, reducing waste, and ensuring timely project completion, aligning with the rising demand for sustainable and efficient operations.

Material Controller Job Requirements

Education: A Material Controller typically possesses a diverse educational background, with many holding a High School Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, Associate’s Degree, or Post-Secondary Certificate. Those interested in this career path may benefit from courses in supply chain management, logistics, business administration, or related fields. Majoring in logistics or supply chain management at the bachelor’s level can provide a comprehensive understanding of inventory control, procurement, and distribution, essential for excelling in this role.

Experience: Material Controllers typically come from backgrounds with hands-on experience in inventory management, logistics, or supply chain operations. They often have progressed through roles that involve meticulous tracking, handling, and distribution of materials. On-the-job training is common, allowing individuals to gain practical knowledge in specific systems and procedures relevant to their industry. Training programs focusing on inventory software, organizational skills, and effective communication further prepare candidates for the complexities of material control, ensuring they can manage resources efficiently and support operational workflows.

Certifications & Licenses: Material Controller positions typically do not require specific certifications or licenses. However, certifications in supply chain management, such as the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) by APICS or a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), can be beneficial.

Material Controller Skills

Inventory Management: Material Controllers play a pivotal role in ensuring that inventory levels are kept at an optimal balance to meet project deadlines efficiently, without resulting in excess stock. They achieve this through meticulous coordination across procurement, storage, and distribution channels, utilizing data analysis to accurately predict and adapt to supply chain demands.

Supply Chain Coordination: Material Controllers streamline the flow of materials from suppliers through to production lines and ultimately to customers, maintaining inventory at levels that align with production schedules. Their role involves detailed coordination with suppliers, logistics partners, and internal teams to reduce delays and enhance cost-efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Demand Forecasting: By analyzing historical data, market trends, and project forecasts, Material Controllers can accurately predict future material requirements. This capability allows for the maintenance of balanced inventory levels, preventing both excess and shortages. Employing statistical models for demand forecasting, they facilitate streamlined inventory management and strategic procurement planning.

Quality Control: Material Controllers are responsible for ensuring that all materials meet the required standards and specifications before being used in production or distributed. Through rigorous inspection and testing, they identify any defects or deviations, preventing the use of inferior materials that could affect product quality and the company’s reputation.

Logistics Planning: The coordination of procurement, movement, and storage of materials is managed to ensure supplies are available when and where needed, without incurring unnecessary costs. Material Controllers analyze supply chain logistics and demand forecasts to develop strategies that optimize inventory levels and reduce lead times, supporting the maintenance of production schedules and project timelines.

ERP Systems: Proficiency in using ERP systems is crucial for managing inventory, procurement, and supply chain operations effectively. Material Controllers rely on these systems to forecast demand, monitor material usage, and coordinate timely deliveries with suppliers. This skill enables the seamless integration of data across departments, supporting real-time decision-making and enhancing operational efficiency.

Material Controller Work Environment

Material Controllers often find themselves in a dynamic environment where the physical setting can vary from warehouses to on-site locations at construction or manufacturing plants. The workspace is typically structured around inventory zones, with tools and equipment such as handheld scanners, computers, and forklifts being central to daily operations.

Work hours may adhere to a standard schedule but can require flexibility due to the nature of supply chain demands, including occasional overtime. The dress code is usually practical, focusing on safety gear and comfortable clothing suitable for a range of activities from office work to hands-on material handling.

The culture within this role is collaborative, with a significant level of interaction with suppliers, logistics teams, and project managers, necessitating strong communication skills. Health and safety are paramount, with strict adherence to protocols to minimize risks in what can be a physically demanding role. Noise levels can be variable, reflecting the diverse environments in which Material Controllers operate.

Professional development opportunities are often available, reflecting the evolving nature of supply chain and inventory management practices, with technology playing a significant role in streamlining processes. This role offers a blend of physical and administrative tasks, requiring adaptability and a focus on efficiency and accuracy.

Advancement Prospects

Material Controllers, pivotal in managing inventory and supply chains, can advance to senior roles such as Supply Chain Manager or Procurement Manager by demonstrating exceptional organizational and analytical skills. Mastery in optimizing inventory levels and reducing costs positions them for roles overseeing larger supply chain operations.

Gaining experience in various industries, such as manufacturing, construction, or aerospace, broadens their understanding of different supply chain dynamics, making them versatile candidates for higher management positions. Specializing in cutting-edge inventory management software and technologies enhances their prospects further, aligning with the digital transformation trends in supply chain management.

Leadership roles require a deep understanding of strategic planning and financial management. Material Controllers aiming for these positions should focus on developing these competencies through practical experience and project management opportunities within their current roles.


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