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Become A Material Analyst

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Working As A Material Analyst

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $65,498

    Average Salary

What Does A Material Analyst Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.


Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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How To Become A Material Analyst

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.


Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.


Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.


An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Material Analyst jobs


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Material Analyst Career Paths

Material Analyst
Supply Chain Analyst Procurement Agent Purchasing Manager
Director Of Global Sourcing
12 Yearsyrs
Material Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Supply Chain Analyst Supply Chain Specialist Purchasing Manager
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Master Scheduler Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Materials Planner Planner/Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager Program Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Master Scheduler Supply Chain Manager
Global Supply Chain Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Senior Buyer
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Production Manager Material Manager
Material Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Manager Purchasing Manager
Materials Director
12 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Material Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Material Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Project Manager Purchasing Manager
Procurement Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Logistics Coordinator Senior Buyer
Production Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative Purchasing Manager
Project Procurement Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Material Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Materials Planner Production Planner Material Manager
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.1 years
Material Manager 4.5 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.2 years
Purchasing Agent 4.0 years
Planner/Buyer 3.8 years
Buyer 3.8 years
Buying Analyst 3.5 years
Materials Planner 3.4 years
Material Lead 3.3 years
Material Analyst 3.0 years
Inventory Analyst 2.9 years
Purchase Analyst 2.7 years
Analyst 2.4 years
Contract Analyst 2.3 years
Top Employers Before
Buyer 8.0%
Internship 5.6%
Analyst 5.2%
Cashier 3.9%
Manager 3.7%
Top Employers After
Buyer 12.2%
Analyst 4.0%
Manager 3.4%

Material Analyst Demographics










Hispanic or Latino






Black or African American

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Languages Spoken




















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Material Analyst Education


University of Phoenix


Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania


Michigan State University


Wayne State University


Illinois State University


San Jose State University


Butler County Community College


Middle Tennessee State University


Pennsylvania State University


Edinboro University of Pennsylvania


University of Toledo


Baker College


Southern New Hampshire University


Illinois Central College


Clarion University of Pennsylvania


Ashford University


Saginaw Valley State University


Lawrence Technological University


Central Michigan University


Strayer University

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Supply Chain Management




Industrial Engineering


Criminal Justice




Computer Information Systems






General Studies


Health Care Administration


Industrial Technology


Computer Science


Operations Management


Chemical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Project Management


Liberal Arts

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Real Material Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Polymer Materials Failure Analyst Vollmer-Gray Engineering Laboratories Signal Hill, CA Dec 01, 2015 $111,250
SAP Materials Analyst Brock Enterprises, LLC Houston, TX Nov 18, 2013 $107,500
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 01, 2014 $103,484
Polymer Materials Failure Analyst Vollmer-Gray Engineering Laboratories Signal Hill, CA Nov 01, 2010 $100,464
Polymer Materials Failure Analyst Vollmer-Gray Engineering Laboratories Signal Hill, CA Nov 19, 2012 $100,464
Scientist, Systems and Materials Analyst Arkema, Inc. King of Prussia, PA Oct 01, 2014 $96,543
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 01, 2014 $94,349
Materials Analyst VF Outdoor, Inc. (The North Face) Alameda, CA Feb 05, 2015 $93,080
Logistics and Materials Analyst Newstar Fresh Foods LLC Salinas, CA Oct 01, 2011 $91,870
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 15, 2015 $89,100
Materials Analyst VF Outdoor, Inc. Alameda, CA Sep 17, 2013 $88,358
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 09, 2016 $88,000
Materials Analyst Kerry Inc. Union City, CA Jun 05, 2015 $81,994
Strategy/Materials Analyst Cummins Inc. Fridley, MN May 17, 2013 $72,200 -
Materials Analyst Cummins Inc. Fridley, MN Oct 02, 2013 $72,176 -
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 15, 2015 $72,080
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 10, 2015 $70,325
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies Inc. Albany, NY Sep 24, 2013 $70,000
Materials Analyst Nanolab Technologies Inc. Albany, NY Sep 27, 2013 $70,000
Materials Analyst Post Foods, LLC Jonesboro, AR Nov 14, 2009 $65,000
Materials Analyst Fabric Selection, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jul 21, 2014 $64,634
Materials Flow Analyst Tenneco Automotive Operating Company Inc. Ligonier, IN Oct 10, 2016 $64,100 -
Material Analyst Flextronics International USA, Inc. Austin, TX Jun 09, 2016 $63,847
Materials Analyst Cummins Emission Solutions Inc. Mineral Point, WI Jul 21, 2014 $63,211 -
Materials Analyst/Chemist Im Flash Technologies, LLC Lehi, UT Dec 18, 2009 $61,979
Strategy/Materials Analyst Cummins Inc. Fridley, MN May 17, 2010 $60,800 -
Raw Materials Analyst/Regional Steel Category Lead Delphi Corporation Troy, MI Sep 17, 2012 $60,070

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Top Skills for A Material Analyst


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Top Material Analyst Skills

  1. Supplier Performance
  2. Part Numbers
  3. Purchase Orders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created various databases for purchasing department and for the organizational wide use of capturing supplier performance and quality.
  • Created new internal part numbers for Interconnect Division.
  • Placed and maintained purchase orders for materials.
  • Review Item Specification of raw materials and components for cGMP manufacturing use.
  • Worked with manual MRP insured proper parts allocation to meet reduced engine production turn times.

Top Material Analyst Employers

Material Analyst Videos

A Day in the Life -- Supply Chain