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Scope of Materials Management


One of the raging controversies now a days going on is the scope of materials management in the wake of rising opportunities in and the popularity of supply chain management.

Many believe that Materials Management  is a part of Supply Chain and that without Materials Management one can not think of Supply Chain for a manufacturing industry. Materials Management  is thus applicable for only Manufacturing Industry. However, this too is debatable as where ever there is need of materials , Materials Management can always be done , though in  a modified manner.

World over Manufacturing is shrinking and outsourcing and contract manufacturing is being done to reduce cost and make delivery possible in the fastest and strategic way. So, Supply Chain Management encompasses a pull mechanism for the delivery of a Product, thus underlying the importance of Materials Management.

Materials Management continues to enjoy the importance and significance , but the service levels for any delivery i.e. purchase or sales is becoming important , with the result Logistics & Supply patterns and positioning are taking prime importance, hence Supply Chain is seen to be taking a lead.

Materials Management , however,  has not lost its importance , rather its scope has widened and has been coined as supply chain management, as some experts believe.

Supply Chain Management is looking the business for supply of product, service or information, from a customer point of view with primary focus being on delivery as required by the customer.

The service levels , delivery schedules are becoming important in today's industry and business environment.
On the other hand, Materials management is the planning , scheduling and making the materials available in the right quantity, in the right quality at the right time in the right place and of course at the right price , very popularly known as 5 R's.

Many experts say that materials management is included in the supply chain management function and an effective materials management only can drive an efficient and cost effective supply chain solution or process.

So, the scope for materials management and the success of materials management is very much relevant and important and is evergreen , and is rather becoming very challenging in today's situation.

Supply Chain simply is the Supplier to you (your company) and to the end customer with a lot of details in between, like logistics, quality etc. It is a wide scope of activities. Materials Management in Distribution / Manufacturing typically means Purchasing-Production Control (or Buyer/Planners)-Warehousing and Master Scheduling (Forecasting/SIOP) / MRP output for the operation / production facility itself.

Supply Chain is the process which encompasses many facet of materials managements like forecasting, planning , procuring and movement till end user. Supply Chain is team activity assisted by statistical / management tools.


Still, in the production plant the core activity of materials planning in line of production schedule is to be carried out, which requires technical collaboration with shop-floor, and this is one area where old-time, conventional materials management has advantage and thus the scope too.