A materials specialist, depending upon the exact field that they are in, is mainly responsible for maintaining inventories, allocating necessary tools and equipment, and supervising the warehouses or stockyards within the company. Even though these specific tasks remain constant, the actual application of them can vary. For instance, a materials specialist at a wholesale company would oversee inventory aspects of the operation, while a hazardous materials specialist would ensure that all of the hazardous waste is accounted for. There are numerous companies that require the services of a specialist, and so a specialist may be in charge of numerous different products, but they are all responsible for the inventories of the company and for supervising the crew that works with that specific inventory.
Maintaining inventories for a materials specialist means that they not only have to keep track of the items in stock, but various other aspects of the inventory process as well. The specialist has to order any products that are needed, and has to return any that are not. This aspect of the job requires a lot of knowledge of computer inventory systems so that everything can be entered into the system. They must also have the patience to count all incoming deliveries and outgoing shipments to make sure that everything is exact. The specialist is responsible to ensure that the inventory levels are maintained, and accurate.
Allocating necessary tools and equipment is also the responsibility of the materials specialist. If a delivery comes in and a forklift is needed in order to unload and stock it, then the specialist hands over the keys to a specific employee and makes sure that the task is completed. If something breaks down in the warehouse or stockyard, once again it is the specialist that assigns the job to a worker by handing out the required tools. This area of the job requires overall knowledge of tools, equipment, and an understanding of which employees are more suited for specific jobs.
The last of the materials specialist job tasks is supervising the employees that work with the inventories that they are responsible for. Whether there is a warehouse, a stockyard, or both, the specialist ensures that everything runs smoothly and that all inventory is accounted for. The management aspect of this job can become complicated if inventory items start to go missing, because the specialist will be held accountable for it unless they can prove where the problem is and who is causing it. This is one area where knowing each and every worker on a personal and professional level can be very beneficial.