Material managers must balance the need for high-quality products and components with the need to keep to the budget and stay on schedule. Most companies seeking employees for a logistics or materials management role look for candidates with a bachelor's degree. Some companies may hire applicants with an associate's degree, especially those who have significant work experience in purchasing and supply management.
Whatever their educational background, material management professionals should be able to negotiate, make quick decisions and multi-task efficiently. They need basic math skills and must be comfortable working with graphs, spreadsheets and databases used for preparing or interpreting reports.
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Logistics or Material Management
The study of purchasing, which ranges from inventory management to vendor selection and negotiation, is a key aspect of materials management associate's degree programs. Some community colleges require completion of an economics course. Imports and exports are another important topic. These associate's programs prepare students to manage all logistical functions in an enterprise. To enroll, students must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Students looking to get into a program in logistics management can expect to take courses, such as:
- Principles of management
- Problem solving and decision making
- Intro to business logistics
- Business computer applications
- Principles of traffic management
Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management
At a university or 4-year college, supply chain management is often a specialization within the business administration major or is a standalone major offered by the business school. Many logistics departments encourage students to seek out an internship in order to apply their material management knowledge to projects within an actual company. Studies emphasize the use of technologies common in the industry. Students must have a high school diploma or the equivalent to begin this program. Some coursework might include:
- Principles of microeconomics
- Management for organizations
- Principles of accounting
- Principles of logistics management
- Hazardous materials management
Popular Career Options
Individuals who get a degree in logistics or supply chain management can go on to many careers. Some of these include logistics manager, customer service manager, transportation manager, production manager, supply chain manager, warehouse operations manager and inventory control manager.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of May 2019, logisticians make a mean annual wage as of $78,680, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is also reported that the job outlook for logisticians from 2018 to 2028 is expected to grow 5%, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Materials managers don't need a license from the government to do their jobs, but they can earn several voluntary certifications to prove their abilities. The Association for Operations Management (APICS) offers a CPIM credential (Certified in Production and Inventory Management) to those who pass exams that test their knowledge of topics like strategic resource management, planning, and inventory management. The advanced Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management credential can be earned by giving talks or teaching courses about inventory management or publishing articles about inventory management, among other achievements.
Another organization that offers certification related to material management is the American Purchasing Society. Its basic credential is the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP). Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) is only available to managers who already hold CPP credentials. Both certifications require holders to abide by a code of professional ethics.
Online master's degrees or certificates are available for working material managers who want to advance their careers or improve their performance. Programs may teach students how to use information technology to solve challenges in supply chain management or help them to update their skills with the latest logistics theories and strategies.
Individuals seeking material management training may be interested in an Associate of Applied Science in Logistics or Material Management program or Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management program. The associate's program educates students in purchasing and inventory management, while bachelor's students focus on the business aspect and normally complete an internship to gain hands-on training experience.