Materials management

Materials management is a core supply chain function and includes supply chain planning and supply chain execution capabilities. Specifically, materials management is the capability firms use to plan total material requirements. The material requirements are communicated to procurement and other functions for sourcing. Materials management is also responsible for determining the amount of material to be deployed at each stocking location across the supply chain, establishing material replenishment plans, determining inventory levels to hold for each type of inventory (raw, WIP, Finished Goods), and communicating information regarding materiel needs throughout the extended supply chain.

Typical roles in Materials Management include: Materials Manager, Inventory Control Manager, Inventory Analyst, Material Planner, Expediter and emerging hybrid roles like "buyer planner".

The primary business objective of Materials Management is assured supply of materiel, optimum inventory levels and minimum deviation between planned and actual results.

Supply chain materials management areas of concentration

Goals

The goal of materials management is to provide an unbroken chain of components for production to manufacture goods on time for customers. The materials department is charged with releasing materials to a supply base, ensuring that the materials are delivered on time to the company using the correct carrier. Materials is generally measured by accomplishing on time delivery to the customer, on time delivery from the supply base, attaining a freight, budget, inventory shrink management, and inventory accuracy. The materials department is also charged with the responsibility of managing new launches.

In some companies materials management is also charged with the procurement of materials by establishing and managing a supply base. In other companies the procurement and management of the supply base is the responsibility of a separate purchasing department. The purchasing department is then responsible for the purchased price variances from the supply base.

In large companies with multitudes of customer changes to the final product there may be a separate logistics department that is responsible for all new acquisition launches and customer changes. This logistics department ensures that the launch materials are procured for production and then transfers the responsibility to the plant materials management

Materials management

The major challenge that materials managers face is maintaining a consistent flow of materials for production. There are many factors that inhibit the accuracy of inventory which results in production shortages, premium freight, and often inventory adjustments. The major issues that all materials managers face are incorrect bills of materials, inaccurate cycle counts, un-reported scrap, shipping errors, receiving errors, and production reporting errors. Materials managers have striven to determine how to manage these issues in the business sectors of manufacturing since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Although there are no known methods that eliminate the afore mentioned inventory accuracy inhibitors, there are best methods available to eliminate the impact upon maintaining an interrupted flow of materials for production.

One challenge for materials managers is to provide timely releases to the supply base. On the scale of worst to best practices, sending releases via facsimile or PDF file is the worst practice and transmitting releases to the supplier based web site is the best practice. Why? The flaw in transmitting releases via facsimile or email is that they can get lost or even interpreted incorrectly into the suppliers system resulting in a stock out. The problem with transmitting EDI releases is that not all suppliers have EDI systems capable of receiving the release information. The best practice is to transmit the releases to a common supplier web base site where the suppliers can view (for free) the releases. The other advantage is that the supplier is required to use the carrier listed in the web site, must transmit an ASN (advanced shipping notification), and review the accumulative balances of the order.

See also

  • ABC analysis
  • FSN analysis

References

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