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A material planner works as an employee for a manufacturer or manufacturing company. His or her primary role is to make sure that all of the materials the manufacturer needs to make its product are on hand and available. He or she also works with other employees in the manufacturing company to plan and manage the manufacturing process and inventory control.
For example, one of the departments that a planner works with is the purchasing department or the buyer for the manufacturer. These two employees work together to ensure that there are enough of each of the materials that go into producing the product so that it coincides with the production schedule and plan that the manufacturing company has set.
Typically, a planner holds an undergraduate degree in business administration, engineering or industrial management. When first starting out in the business, the material planner may be required to work with each of the employees at the manufacturing plant. This allows the planner to learn each step in the manufacturing process. Understanding the process allows him or her to have a complete understanding so they can plan and order materials accordingly.
Beyond the educational requirements, a material planner typically does well in the position when they possess certain characteristics. Negotiation skills are top on the list, so that the material planner can obtain the goods required to manufacture the product at the best cost and in the most effective and efficient manner.
Because the planner works with and services various departments and people in those departments, the material planner must also possess superior communication skills. The planner should be able to work with many types of people, with different personalities and education levels.
In the advanced technological world of today and what will continue into the future, a material planner also has to be very familiar with computer hardware and software. Much of the manufacturing process and inventory control process requires employees to rely on computer programs.
The planner will need to be able to maneuver these programs when requesting the ordering of materials, monitoring the levels of inventory, and monitoring the output of the products based on the materials that are ordered and sitting in inventory.
I think that the position of material planner would be a perfect one for anybody who is well-organized and likes to play an important role in the larger scheme of things. After all, without someone to keep track of all of the materials needed for production, products could not be manufactured.
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