Materials management




Materials management

Materials management is the branch of logistics that deals with the tangible components of a supply chain. Specifically, this covers the acquisition of spare parts and replacements, quality control of purchasing and ordering such parts, and the standards involved in ordering, shipping, and warehousing the said parts.

Areas of Concentration


The goal of materials management is to consolidate and efficiently handle core services. It creates truck deliveries and service vehicle routes that reduce conflicts for vehicles and pedestrians. Delivery sites and loading docks are more effective and reduce redundancy. Cost is reduced when it comes to solid and hazardous waste removal, storage, and recycling. Utility infrastructure and service equipment relocation can improve aesthetics.

Quality Assurance

A large component of materials management is ensuring that parts and materials used in the supply chain meet minimum requirements by performing quality assurance (QA). While most of the writing and discussion about materials management is on acquisition and standards, much of the day to day work conducted in materials management deals with QA issues. Parts and material are tested, both before purchase orders are placed and during use, to ensure there are no short or long term issues that would disrupt the supply chain. [2] This aspect of material management is most important heavily automated industries, since failure rates due to faulty parts can slow or even stop production lines, throwing off timetables for production goals.


The other major component of materials management will be gradual movement toward compliance. There are standards that are followed in supply chain management that are important to a supply chain's function. For example, a supply chain that uses just-in-time or lean replenishment requires clarity. in the shipping of parts and material from purchasing agent to warehouse to place of destination. Systems reliant on vendor-managed inventories may begin to acquire up-to-date computerized inventories and begin to explore robust ordering systems for outlying vendors to place orders on.

Promoting Sustainability

Many business and institutional campuses have cluttered, noisy, and oftentimes inefficient service environments. Delivery trucks compete with pedestrians, loading docks are in plain sight, trash dumpsters sprout up, and lobbies, hallways, and stairwells are cluttered with unplanned storage. With forethought and creativity, these systems can reduce energy use and carbon emissions, minimize traffic congestion, streamline operational flows, and enhance esthetics.

Materials Management Week

Each year, an entire week is dedicated to celebrating resource and materials management professionals for their outstanding contributions to healthcare and the overall success of the supply chain. Sponsored by the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM), National Healthcare Resource & Materials Management Week (MM Week) provides an opportunity to recognize the integral role materials management professionals play in delivering high-quality patient care throughout the health care industry. In 2010 Material Management Week is October 4-10 October.


An effective materials management plan builds from and enhances an institutional master plan by filling in the gaps and producing an environmentally responsible and efficient outcome. An institutional campus, office, or housing complex can expect a myriad of benefits from an effective materials management plan. For starters, there are long-term cost savings, as consolidating, reconfiguring, and better managing a campus' core infrastructure reduces annual operating costs. An institutional campus, office, or housing complex will also get the highest and best use out of campus real estate.

An effective materials management plan also means a more holistic approach to managing vehicle use and emissions, solid waste, hazardous waste, recycling, and utility services. As a result, this means a “greener,” more sustainable environment and a manifestation of the many demands today for institutions to become more environmentally friendly. In fact, thanks to such environmental advantages, creative materials management plans may qualify for LEED Innovation in Design credits.

And finally, an effective materials management plan can improve aesthetics. Removing unsafe and unsightly conditions, placing core services out of sight, and creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment will improve the visual and physical sense of place for those who live and work there.

Dredged Material Management

Three management alternatives may be considered for dredged material: open-water disposal, confined (diked) disposal, and beneficial use. Open-water disposal is the placement of dredged material in rivers, lakes, estuaries, or oceans via pipeline or release from hopper dredges or barges. Confined disposal is placement of dredged material within diked nearshore or upland confined disposal facilities via pipeline or other means.

Potential environmental impacts resulting from dredged material disposal may be physical, chemical, or biological in nature. Because many of the waterways are located in industrial and urban areas, sediments often contain contaminants from these sources. Unless properly managed, dredging and disposal of contaminated sediment can adversely affect water quality and aquatic or terrestrial organisms. Sound planning, design, and management of projects are essential if dredged material disposal is to be accomplished with appropriate environmental protection and in an efficient manner.

Beneficial Use

Ten broad categories of beneficial uses have been identified, based on the functional use of the dredged material or site. They are:

* Habitat restoration/enhancement (wetland, upland, island, and aquatic sites including use by waterfowl and other birds).

* Beach nourishment.

* Aquaculture.

* Parks and recreation (commercial and noncommercial).

* Agriculture, forestry, and horticulture.

* Strip mine reclamation and landfill cover for solid waste management.

* Shoreline stabilization and erosion control (fills, artificial reefs, submerged berms, etc.).

* Construction and industrial use (including port development, airports, urban, and residential).

* Material transfer (fill, dikes, levees, parking lots, and roads).

* Multiple purpose.

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