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A materials coordinator is chiefly responsible for the acquisition and inventory management of materials required for companies to resell or use for their own production. Materials coordinators can assume different duties and sometimes different titles based on the industry they work in. These duties may also require different education or experience backgrounds depending on the nature of the acquired materials.
Materials coordinators are also called purchasing agents by some employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, purchasing agents acquire materials for companies or institutions. These materials may include clothing or electronics for wholesale or retail business, raw materials for manufacturing or office supply use, or materials for resale. Purchasing agents must consider purchase qualifiers such as price, quality, availability and technical support in determining suitable suppliers and merchandisers. The goal for purchasing agents is to procure the best goods at the best price available. To do this, purchasing agents are required to research providers, market conditions and any factors that may affect supply and demand for long-term purchase planning and forecasting.
Hazardous Materials Coordinator
Hazardous materials coordinators do not take on purchasing responsibilities. These coordinators regulate materials already on-site within an industrial or manufacturing environment. Working at the federal, state or local level, hazardous materials coordinators design, implement and administer programs regulating federal and state hazardous material storage, transportation and handling. This coordinator enforces United States Department of Transportation regulations to ensure safety compliance in materials transfer by answering inquiries about shipping, conducting road side safety checks of commercial vehicles, and recommending equipment upgrades. Materials coordinators in this field require certification and training in the management of hazardous materials.
Course Materials Coordinator
Course materials coordinators purchase course materials for departments and faculty in colleges, universities and other academic institutions. Serving as the liaison between staff and materials vendors, coordinators perform volume purchasing of new, used and custom published materials to maintain sufficient inventory levels for educational use. Specific duties associated with this coordination usually include preparing course materials lists through interaction with faculty, facilitating the buy-back process for students returning materials at course completion and initiating the vendor purchase order process. Some coordinators may perform duties of a bookstore clerk at the educational facility and may supervise textbook staff and student employees.
Construction Materials Coordinator
In the construction industry, construction materials coordinators are responsible for the coordination of import or removal of materials from a construction site. In the Habitat for Humanity Deconstruction Program, for example, the construction materials coordinator facilitates the removal of materials and supervises the de-nailing, bundling, loading and off-loading of materials. As materials are collected, the coordinator evaluates, processes and prices materials to determine resale value and manage inventory. Coordinators also train volunteers and temporary labor to ensure materials are deconstructed to retain as much value as possible. Familiarity with construction, materials and processes is required.
Health Care Materials Coordinator
In health care, materials coordinators purchase and manage inventory used in hospitals, medical centers or other health facilities. They are responsible for managing inventory lists for equipment and supplies, reconciling invoices for any purchased goods by working with accounts payable. In addition to purchasing, materials coordinators keep logs on equipment including maintenance, safety checks, contract adherence and loan replacements. As familiarity with medical equipment and safety is required for this role, work experience in health care administration, ambulatory health care or a medical office is essential.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, materials coordinators or purchasing agents earned a median of $60,550 in 2012, depending upon industry and level of experience.
CL Hardy is a communication professional based in Austin, Texas. In addition to writing corporate newsletters, proposals and technical white papers for Fortune 500 clients for more than 12 years, Hardy has been published in "Black Collegian" magazine; her articles on human resources, business and art topics can be found on eHow. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in communication.