03 Sep

11 Vital Components of Material Management Technical Competencies to Master

When I started my blogging I wrote a blog on 8 Technical Supply Chain Competencies in Nov 2015. It was pretty basic and was more based on experience than research work. However, I did receive some good feedback on this article. On the back of that I have had opportunity to sponsor a Master’s research work to explore Components of Material Management Technical Competencies at Lancaster University.

Nurul Amira, who is also the co-author of this article, has identified 11 Components of Material Management Technical Competencies for supply chain professionals as part of her research work.

The purpose of this research project was to build a materials management competency audit tool that would be available for supply chain professionals to self-assess them selves, ask their colleagues, or direct report employees, so that relevant skills are identified which would then assist in the level of training that is provided, through the assignment of short courses, certificates or relevant materials through online training platform such as Udemy, Coursera, APICS, IoSCM or recommended books to name a few.

To develop further technical competencies that should be useful for supply chain practitioners, we have built a comprehensive and well researched Materials Management Competencies  Assessment (MMCA) Tool.


The Components of Material Management Technical Competencies are identified through carrying out extensive literature review and summarising each field so that a short description below in each headings.

The survey questionnaire contains the list of skills that are required under each Components of Material Management Technical Competencies. Next to each skill, the assessor is able to tick the checkbox in which at the end. The total number of ticks are tallied and referenced according to the total numbers of skills available under each competency.

So, the higher the number tick boxes, the more you know about that specific competency and related skills. The lower the tick boxes means this is the area of improvement and you should seek to close that gap by further reading or training.

My aim to make this materials management technical competencies audit tools available online under tools, so the supply chain community members can complete online and get the results in dashboard with recommendations to close the gap!

Materials Management & Role of a Materials Manager

Materials management with specified interest in the manufacturing industry is the procurement of services, materials, equipment and supplies in the right quantities, of the right qualities, at the right time for the right price on a rolling basis without the loss of labour and time (Leenders et al., 1980; Kurian, 2013).

The role of a materials manager in the manufacturing industry is to ensure the acquisition made in terms of managing material shortages and abundance, availabilities of required materials and delivery lead times for materials required as well as transportation of finished products are well governed (Leendors et al., 1980).

Materials manager is also required to identify strategic decisions in terms of procurement with varying prices in addition to drawing up procedures that can be followed in line with the policy of the organisation (Leendors et al., 1980). Additionally, the role of a materials manager is also associated with the identification of materials required, the sourcing and procurement of the necessary materials, the introduction of the sourced materials and the assessment of the use of the materials as a value adding entity.

Connected to the basis of the requirement for a materials manager, the key competencies that are expected are outlined in the literature that follows.

category management

Procurement Toolbox # 1: Category Management

returns costs

Fundamentals of Returns Costs in Supply Chain

3PL selection

Understanding Third Party Logistics (3PL) Selection and Management

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11 Components of Material Management Technical Competencies


1.     Strategic Sourcing and Purchasing


Strategic sourcing and purchasing is the calculated decision making process in choosing the right materials of the right quantity, at the right time for the right time, this includes procurement decisions which involves the selection of vendors, and materials.

2.     Inventory Management

Inventory management is the organisation of stock control in the manufacturing to distribution/warehouses and alternately, from the warehouses to the location of sales.

3.     Material Requirements Planning


Materials Requirement Planning is the scheduling, planning and inventory control process, which dictates the manufacturing processes in terms of materials required and product output.

4.     Capacity Planning

Capacity planning is the determination of the amount of products required by the organisation to meet the demands of its customers. The design capacity in turn is the amount of product demand that the organisation is capable in meeting.

5.     Process Planning


Process planning is the usage of technology to assist in the manufacturing of products and in the arrangements in meeting the demands set by the organisation.

6.     Demand Management and Forecasting


Demand management is the method used to forecast the demand that the organisation would potentially be looking at meeting. Forecasting are methods adopted to predict the actual demand that an organisation would be expecting during a manufacturing cycle period.

7.     Sales and Operations Planning


Sales and Operations Planning is the synchronization of the entire manufacturing processes to enable effective supply chain management.

8.     Risk Management

Risk management is the strategic management of processes in the manufacturing line through control of static and dynamic materials to ensure that an organisation is able to maintain profitability rather than conduct activities that would increase cost of production and inventory holding.

9.     Supply Chain Continuity

Supply chain continuity is the elimination of risks that would otherwise cause unpredictable breakage in the production line, which would affect the company performance.

10.  Physical Distribution Management

Physical Distribution Management is the streamlining of all processes after the manufacturing of end processes, which includes transportation, packaging, customer service and inventory control.

11.  Supply Chain Resilience


Supply chain resilience is the ability of the supply chain to cope with major shock and its capability to maintain output and customer service.

Bringing It All Together


The above-mentioned Materials Management Technical Competencies are ideal core requirements to assess technical knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by for a Materials Management or Supply Chain Professionals in the manufacturing industry.


The competencies have been simplified in this self assessment tool with set of skills under each heading to ease data collection. Please include email address to ensure there is no duplication of data.


Thank you for downloading the self assessment tool in advance. And if you like to add more Components of Material Management Technical Competencies, please do write in comments or at my twitter account, so we can learn from you as well.

About the Author- Dr Muddassir Ahmed

Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speakervlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles.  Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.

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