There are many paths to become a material planner because the job can utilize the expertise of individuals from many different fields. Those with knowledge of business, engineering and industrial management can be included as candidates for jobs. Education is required for the position as well as experience working in the production aspect of an organization. Material planners need to be organized, creative and budget-minded to succeed. An ability to work well with others is necessary because a material planner works with many departments within an organization to accomplish his or her tasks.
Material planners often receive a bachelor's degree in the areas of industrial management, business administration, or industrial engineering. A master's degree is required by some organizations for the position, but is not always necessary. Some companies will hire an individual to become a material planner directly out of graduate school, but due to the nature of the job, he or she will often spend time in training before being able to work unsupervised. Individuals with a bachelor's degree will need to apply to entry-level jobs in production or purchasing to gain the experience needed to become a material planner.
Being able to look at the big picture is an important aspect of a material planner's job. The material planner looks at the budget and needs for an organization and then determines how best to purchase the supplies. This often requires negotiations within and outside of the organization where the planner works. In order to become a material planner, you must have good communication and interpersonal skills in order to effectively negotiate these deals. Once the supplies are in place, the material planner works with the production department to ensure that their needs are being met and the schedule is being followed.
The material planner position is an independent supervisory role. This means that the material planner oversees many aspects of the organization from purchasing to production. Leadership skills are necessary to be able to accomplish this task effectively. Become a material planner by focusing on maximizing your leadership potential. There are opportunities in education and the workplace to gain as much leadership experience as possible before applying to material planner jobs.
A material planner needs to be creative as well as budget-minded. Finding deals and materials in unlikely places can help save a company money. This requires a unique personality combination that thinks outside of the box but is also practical.