Materials management

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The materials management or merchandise management deals with the administration as well as the temporal, quantitative, qualitative and possibly also spatial planning and control of the material movements within a company and between the company and its environment . It coordinates the flow of goods between suppliers , customers , consumers (e.g. production ) and the warehouses . In manufacturing companies, it ensures the supply of the manufacturing areas with direct goods such as raw materials, consumables and supplies, vendor parts and semi-finished products, as well as the general supply of indirect goods such as office items, spare parts or services.

The theory of materials management is a task area of production management and production logistics .


  • Objective: To ensure that the required goods are made available when they are needed ( material liquidity ):
    • in terms of the correct type and quantity
    • the right products
    • in the required (correct) quality
    • at the right time
    • in the right place
    • at the right price
    • with the right information
    • (the so-called six "R" of logistics , also extended as seven "R")
  • Formal goal: Detection and use of savings potential:
    • Weighing up between the costs for the provision of the goods ( degree of readiness for delivery or service level) and the costs for a possibly non-existent but required quantity (shortage costs / shortage ). It is important to optimize these costs.
    • Reduction of the capital tied up in the warehouse (capital tie-up costs / capital tie-up ) by reducing the inventory and avoiding stored goods:
  • Social goal: environmental protection:
    • The environment is important in multiple senses.
      • Compliance with legal guidelines and regulations with regard to emissions, use and disposal of various materials and hazardous substances
      • Realization of potential cost savings in material procurement through recycling
      • Creation of competitive advantages through image cultivation


With regard to the flow of materials, materials management performs a variety of functions. Since implementation and research in the area of ​​integrated materials management is still relatively new, a range of functions from the areas of procurement , logistics and production are ascribed to it in literature and practice, depending on the degree of integration .

procurement Determination of needs , procurement market research
logistics Storage , internal transport
production Determination of consumption , recycling , disposal
= integrated materials management (minimal approach)
plus production Production planning (production control and production program planning)
= expanded integrated materials management
plus logistics distribution
= totally integrated materials management (maximum rate)


Materials management performs its functions for the following objects:

  • Substances and components that go directly into the product;
  • Materials that flow indirectly into the product;
  • Waste and wear materials that arise during production and have to be disposed of or recycled
    • For example, scrap from sheet metal
  • Co-products that can arise in process-oriented production in particular
    • these can be valuable or costly waste to be disposed of
  • All products from in-house production;
  • as well as merchandise purchased for resale
  • Any kind of spare parts (for equipment)
  • As well as intangible goods such as services
    • For example, a warehouse for printed matter and office supplies in an insurance company

Functional demarcation and integration

Materials management has many overlaps and interfaces with other functional areas with many corporate areas . In practice, enterprise resource planning solutions or inventory control systems are often used to ensure time-saving work processes.


The most important overlap between materials management (as part of corporate logistics ) is that with logistics . While logistics is primarily concerned with the flow of goods and information of a company in its external relations, materials management focuses on internal material and data flows. Depending on the decision-making authority of materials management, it includes different tasks. The procurement of the required goods and their storage are part of their tasks. This also includes in-house transport and temporary storage of the goods during the production process. Likewise, the final storage of finished products at the producer as well as recycling and waste disposal can also be part of their tasks, which is becoming more and more important due to the current sustainability debate. In contrast to materials management, purchasing is more concerned with the strategic selection of suppliers and negotiating and checking conditions.

Financial accounting

The evaluation of the material stocks connects the material management and procurement with the financial accounting and the controlling . Inventories and work in progress are valued at the material price . The material valuation is based on the cost price , the GLD price or, in the case of products manufactured in-house, with the calculated unit price . The evaluated stocks flow directly into the corresponding balance sheet items. In addition to the correct prices, the inventory quantities in the warehouse are also reflected in the balance sheet and must therefore be correct. If the documented stock quantities are questionable for any reason, the correct stock quantity must be determined again using the complex and cost-intensive process of an inventory .


In controlling, the assessed material consumption is necessary in order to determine the price and quantity variance on production orders and to assess any findings of scrap . In production controlling, the actual costs of in- house production of semi-finished products and finished products are determined.

See also


  • Horst Tempelmeier: Inventory management in supply chains. 3. Edition. Norderstedt (Books on Demand) 2012 , ISBN 3-8334-5032-0 .
  • Oskar Grün: Industrial materials management. In: Marcel Schweitzer (Hrsg.): Industrial management. 2nd Edition. Munich 1994, pp. 447-568, ISBN 3-8006-1755-2 .
  • Horst Hartmann: Materials Management. 8th edition. Deutscher Betriebswirte Verlag Gernsbach 2002, ISBN 3-88640-094-8 .
  • Gerhard Oeldorf, Klaus Olfert: materials management. 12th edition. Kiehl publishing house. Ludwigshafen / Rhein 2008, ISBN 3-470-54142-6 .
  • Gerd Schulte: Material and logistics management. 2nd Edition. Oldenbourg Vahlen, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-486-25458-8 .
  • Diether Kluck: Materials management and logistics. 3. Edition. Schäffer Poeschel, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-7910-2741-8 .
  • Joachim Hertel, Joachim Zentes, Hanna Schramm-Klein: Supply chain management and merchandise management systems in retail. Springer Verlag, Berlin a. a. 2005, ISBN 3-540-21916-1 .
  • Herbert Westermann: Strategic Purchasing Management, the great manual of effective tools for industry, trade, administration . Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2010, ISBN 978-3-8391-0081-3 .

Web links

Wikibooks: materials management  - learning and teaching materials