Career Development

What Does a Material Planner Do?

Find out what a material planner does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a material planner.

The role of a material planner is one that requires an understanding of both business and engineering. They are responsible for planning the flow of materials through an organization, from supplier to manufacturer to customer. This includes everything from raw materials to finished products, as well as any parts or components used along the way.

Material planners must be able to think critically about how different materials will interact with each other throughout this process. For example, they might need to determine which type of metal should be used in the production of a particular product so it can withstand the stresses it will encounter during use.

Material Planner Job Duties

A material planner typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Creating forecasts for materials requirements, including estimating seasonal fluctuations in demand
  • Communicating with suppliers regarding order status and changes in delivery dates or quantities
  • Coordinating with other departments such as engineering and purchasing to ensure that materials are available when needed
  • Developing material specifications based on client needs and ensuring that materials meet those specifications
  • Reviewing inventory levels of materials and ordering additional quantities when necessary
  • Managing inventory of materials by storing items in warehouses or distributing them to work sites
  • Making sure that materials are delivered on time and are of high quality
  • Monitoring costs associated with materials purchases and maintaining records of expenditures
  • Preparing reports on material usage and cost trends over time

Material Planner Salary & Outlook

Material planners’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company size and industry. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)

The employment of material planners is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for these workers will increase as companies continue to invest in new equipment and facilities, such as data centers and wind turbines, that require planning and coordination of materials. In addition, demand for material planners will be driven by the need to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Related: Material Planner Interview Questions and Answers

Material Planner Job Requirements

A material planner typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field is often a requirement to become a material planner. Some of the most common majors for material planners are business, industrial engineering and supply chain management.

Training & Experience: Most material planners receive on-the-job training when they start a new position. This training may last for a few weeks to a few months and may include shadowing current material planners and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications allow professionals to prove their qualifications to current and future employers. Some states require certifications for certain professionals, so certifications can also help professionals become eligible for certain jobs.

Material Planner Skills

Material planners need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the abilities you have that allow you to perform your job duties. Technical skills are often the most important skills to have as a planner because they allow you to create a detailed plan that is accurate and complete.

Communication skills: As a planner, you communicate with a variety of people, including other planners, engineers, sales representatives and clients. Effective communication skills can help you convey information clearly and build relationships with others. You may also need to communicate with suppliers and manufacturers to gather information about products and pricing.

Problem-solving skills: As a planner, you may be responsible for finding solutions to challenges that arise during the planning process. For example, if a supplier doesn’t have the materials you need, you may need to find an alternative or find a way to make do without the materials. Similarly, if a supplier has a limited amount of a certain material, you may need to find a way to make do with less.

Organization skills: Organization skills are also important for a planner. They help them keep track of all the information they need to complete their projects. Organization skills also help them keep their workspace tidy and free of clutter. This allows them to find the information they need quickly and easily.

Project management: Project management skills can be an important asset for a planner. They can use their project management skills to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. They can also use their project management skills to ensure that the project has the necessary resources, such as materials and labor, to be successful.

Material Planner Work Environment

Material planners work in a variety of settings, including manufacturing plants, warehouses, and distribution centers. They typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet production deadlines. Some material planners may travel to visit suppliers or customers. The work can be stressful at times, particularly when production deadlines are tight or when there are problems with the supply chain. However, most material planners find the work to be challenging and interesting, and they enjoy being able to see the results of their work in the form of finished products.

Material Planner Trends

Here are three trends influencing how material planners work. Material planners will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As businesses become more complex, the need for material planners with technical skills becomes increasingly important.

Material planners are responsible for planning and managing the materials that go into a product. In order to do this effectively, they need to have a deep understanding of the manufacturing process and how different materials affect the final product.

By developing these skills, material planners can help ensure that products are made using the most efficient materials possible, which can lead to cost savings for the company. Additionally, they can help to ensure that the right materials are used in each product, which can help to improve quality control.

The Importance of Collaboration

The trend of collaboration is becoming increasingly important in business as teams become more dispersed and work moves towards a more agile model. This means that material planners will need to be able to work well with others in order to create a cohesive plan that meets the needs of the team.

In order to be successful in this environment, material planners will need to be able to communicate effectively and be able to work together to find solutions to problems. They will also need to be able to manage their time effectively in order to meet deadlines.

More Focus on Sustainability

As businesses become more aware of the importance of sustainability, they are placing increasing emphasis on material planners who can help them source materials that are environmentally friendly.

This trend is likely to continue as businesses become more concerned about their impact on the planet. Material planners who are able to source sustainable materials will be in high demand, as they will be able to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint while still meeting their production needs.

How to Become a Material Planner

A career as a material planner can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with a variety of people, from designers and engineers to production workers and warehouse staff. You’ll also have the chance to see your ideas come to life and make a real difference in how products are made and delivered.

To be successful in this role, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the manufacturing process and how materials are used in product design. You should also be able to think creatively about new ways to use materials or reduce waste. Communication skills are essential for working effectively with other team members and customers.

Advancement Prospects

A material planner is a professional who is responsible for the coordination and management of all activities related to the procurement of materials. The material planner works with suppliers to ensure that the correct materials are delivered on time and in the correct quantities.

The material planner is responsible for the coordination and management of all activities related to the procurement of materials. The material planner works with suppliers to ensure that the correct materials are delivered on time and in the correct quantities.

The material planner is responsible for the coordination and management of all activities related to the procurement of materials. The material planner works with suppliers to ensure that the correct materials are delivered on time and in the correct quantities.

The material planner is responsible for the coordination and management of all activities related to the procurement of materials. The material planner works with suppliers to ensure that the correct materials are delivered on time and in the correct quantities.

Material Planner Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for an experienced and detail-oriented Material Planner to join our team. In this role, you will be responsible for forecasting, planning, and managing the procurement and supply of materials needed to support production. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in materials planning and inventory management, as well as excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. They will be able to work independently and be able to manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and related information to obtain knowledge of manufacturing methods, procedures, and activities
  • Confer with staff, vendors, and management personnel to discuss project specifications and procedures
  • Estimate production costs, cost saving methods, and the effect of product design changes on expenditures for management review, action, and control
  • Plan and prepare work schedules, staffing requirements, and production sequences to maximize efficiency
  • Monitor inventory levels and recommend reordering when necessary to maintain optimal stock levels
  • Analyze production specifications and plant capacity data and perform mathematical calculations to determine manufacturing processes, staff requirements, and material needs
  • Develop material procurement plans in collaboration with purchasing and engineering departments to ensure materials are available when needed
  • Coordinate material flow between production departments and outside suppliers to ensure smooth production operations
  • Investigate and resolve material shortages, delivery delays, and other production problems
  • Prepare reports and presentations to communicate project status and findings to upper management
  • Manage departmental budget and track spending to stay within allocated funds
  • Perform regular audits of inventory levels and reconcile discrepancies

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, or related field
  • 3-5 years of experience in materials planning, purchasing, or a related field
  • Working knowledge of MRP/ERP systems
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and interpersonal skills
  • Highly organized with excellent attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • APICS certification
  • Lean or Six Sigma certification
  • Experience in the automotive industry
  • Experience with JIT/Kanban systems


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