The materials planner in an organization is tasked with the responsibilities of managing inventory and ensuring that material resources are consistent with production schedules.
Below are 20 common interview questions that can help you navigate a material planner interview successfully.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
Here the interviewer seeks to establish factors behind the interviewees’ interest in the role. This includes the desire to work in the aforementioned position. Briefly explain what aroused your interest in this role.
“I am interested in this job because I see that my skills are aligned for this challenge. I also see an opportunity to further develop my skills and would thus benefit both on a personal and professional level. I also believe that I can help the company achieve its goals. It is also a source of pride for me to work for a top manufacturer like this one.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Material Planner?
The interviewer seeks to determine if the interviewee is the right pick, by establishing the interviewee’s ability to identify the key responsibilities associated with this role. In brief highlight some of the important roles undertaken by a professional in this line of work.
“As a material planner, I am responsible for forecasting the supply needs of the company in relation to the production targets. I also source for suppliers of raw materials needed in production. My role also entails the negotiation of supply contracts with suppliers, submitting purchase orders, and expediting orders when necessary.
In case of an increase in production capacity, I am responsible for the adjustment of order sizes and preferences. I also do a check on materials to ensure they meet specifications and are of quality. Lastly, I am expected to coordinate with operations, engineering, and other departments to attain production goals.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Material Planner Need To Be Successful?
The interviewer intends to understand if the interviewee is well aware of the skill-set and attributes required in this role. A summary of key skills related to the job and their application would be sufficient.
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“In my role as a materials planner, knowledge of the manufacturing process and supply chain is compulsory. This is facilitated by understanding the process of preparing and receiving shipments. The other key skill is critical thinking as material planners are required to think rationally and clearly.
Analytical skills are also necessary when solving problems and creating solutions. Since we operate tight schedules time management is of the essence in order to meet manufacturing goals. Finally, efficient communication skills are a must to enable teamwork and coordination.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
Here the interviewer seeks to establish how adept the interviewee is in dealing with challenging situations, which call for prudent decision-making.
Highlight a scenario that you felt was problematic and how you successfully solved it.
“In my previous role, the main challenge I faced was dealing with bid procurement issues, where and when to purchase materials and material distribution at the job site. To overcome this challenge, I ensured there was efficient coordination and communication between the parties involved.
The other challenge arose from changes in a projects’ scope which made costs exceed budget projections. This was sorted by ensuring the client is involved during the planning process to detail all his plans. Another issue was dealing with demanding clients who made us work under pressure as materials were always required within a short period to ensure quick production.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Material Planner?
As a material planner, you ought to be in tune with your specified work schedule. Highlight the key aspects of your daily routine.
“My schedule as a material planner begins at 8 am to 5 pm. I usually drive to my workplace as it is 20 minutes from my home. On arrival, I log into the system and head for my office in the production wing. The first step is to check my schedule and go over the day’s requirements. I deal with orders, listen to my team and process pending consignments. The day-to-day activities vary with respect to the production process as some days may prove to be busier than others. My day ends at 5 pm and after writing the daily report I depart the office and head to the gym for my workout routine.”
6. Describe Briefly Your Experience.
The interviewer wants to understand your job experience. Explain what excites you the most about your role, including your qualifications both academic and professional.
“Upon completion of my high school diploma I pursued a bachelor’s degree in logistics. I graduated with first-class honours and secured a job as a purchase manager. I worked for five years as a purchase manager before being promoted to a material planner.”
7. What Kind Of Strategy And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
The interviewer seeks to understand the kind of approach you utilize in ensuring the desired results are achieved. In detail explain the methods and approaches required in both a personal and professional capacity.
“As a materials planner strategizing is a key element of this occupation. Proper strategies ensure efficient work and the realization of key targets. These strategies include looking out for quality suppliers as a poor supply line might be detrimental to the company’s projects. Another is ensuring a proper ordering process in line with the client’s fluctuating demands. Finally cost saving is critical in ensuring quality work is availed at a minimal cost. A ‘never say die attitude is critical in this role as there are instances where the job becomes too demanding and rest time very rare. A keen eye on industry trends is also critical to ensure you use the best production materials.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Role?
In this question, explain the challenges you expect to encounter in this role based on your experiences from your previous role.
“The biggest challenge I foresee in this role is maintaining a consistent flow of production materials, keeping in mind that factors such as inventory adjustments are expected. The other is ensuring that projects are delivered in time. Working even in odd hours is expected especially during the boom period thankfully I am well prepared for such scenarios.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
In the course of any job, there have to be certain approaches that help employees maintain high spirits. In detail highlight some of the factors that ensure you stay motivated.
“My desire to succeed in this role has been a key motivational factor. Also, the opportunity for advancement in my role has been another source of motivation. The incentives that come with the role such as overtime and training opportunities have also been important in my career. Lastly working in the best manufacturing company will surely interest any professional in this line of work.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt?
Failure can be described as the moment most professionals hit rock-bottom in their careers. However, with proper determination and mental fortitude, it can also serve as a platform to build to improve your career. Briefly highlight an incident in which you failed and the lessons you learned.
“There have not been a lot of instances that I consider failure in my career. However, one particular experience was not very satisfying. It happened three years ago when my company was contracted to the construction of a standard gauge railway. I had to potential cement suppliers. One proposed to supply the cement at a relatively low cost compared to the other. I got carried away and didn’t do a proper background check. Two months into the project the cement supplier was no more as they had filed for bankruptcy after facing charges of tax evasion. I regretted my choice and decide to be more cautious when picking suppliers.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?
The question is designed to understand the key strengths, abilities and values the interviewee is expected to bring to the company. Discuss the key skills that make you a cut above the rest.
“I possess fantastic interpersonal skills, therefore, can relate well with my colleagues. I also have exemplary leadership and management skills which are vital in directing the department’s operations. I can also thrive under demanding and pressurized environs making me suitable for this role.”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.
The question is utilized in most cases to get an overview of the interviewee and rate their accomplishments. Picking a recent incident you considered a success would be advisable.
“My greatest achievement was procuring within a set time limit. This was in my previous role, whereby I had to tackle significant obstacles to ensure materials arrived in time. I was glad when everything got sorted out with massive benefits for everyone. This experience also helped me in critical thinking and patience.”
13. Identify The Most Challenging Project You’ve Worked On In Your Career.
The purpose of this question is to obtain more information on how well you manage projects and difficult situations. From another perspective, the interviewer seeks to establish how well you incorporate your skills and knowledge when dealing with challenges.
“I have worked on a couple of demanding projects in my career. What’s really crucial for me when starting is to get very clear on the goals right at the start and create a strategy. I also always tend to break down large tasks into smaller chunks.
Detailed planning is important in ensuring a project runs smoothly. For instance, two years ago I was in charge of overseeing the construction of the residential flats. The three flats were located far apart and I had to do some traveling. The materials required were also a bit different as the flats had different plans. I was able to beat the odds and successfully completed the projects.”
14. How Do You Reduce Expenses In A Company?
One of the key aspirations of the company is reducing expenses. This in turn will lead to improved profit margins. The material planner is usually tasked with these responsibilities. Highlight the various measures you utilize in realizing this goal.
“Cost reduction is a key element of this role. This is because the reduction of procurement costs translates into low production costs hence increased profit margins. The main knowledge required here is cost accounting to be able to verify individual costs along the production line and how they can be managed. The main strategy of cutting costs is through a selection of suppliers that offer quality goods at a reasonable discount and fair price. The other is ensuring proper maintenance of inventory records to obtain accurate details on the amount of stock required.”
15. What Is Your Take On Integrity?
In this question, the interviewer is testing your values and wants to understand how you view and partake in practices that are moral.
“Integrity in my perspective is a definite part of any professional career. It involves the adherence to strict morals and ethical principles which is important in any role. Being a role model has always been an important goal of mine.”
16. In A Situation Where You Found A Major Discrepancy In Documents Submitted By A Senior Employee, What Would Be Your Course Of Action?
This question is designed by the interviewer to test your decision-making. Explain the right measures to take when such a situation occurs.
“To be honest, I have never come across such a scenario. However, when faced with such an incident the right course of action to take would be to countercheck the document and if it was deliberate I would notify the responsible individual and warn them. If they persist I will present the issue to the necessary authoritative figure.”
17. What Are Your Weaknesses?
With this question, the interviewer tries to understand how self-conscious insightful you are of yourself. Highlight some of your shortcomings with respect to your role.
“I possess few weaknesses as a professional. One of them is a low sense of humor. I am normally serious and less funny. I also like to explore even the tiniest of details in any report prepared. I also follow the law to the latter and am no fan of shortcuts in any sense. Lastly, my hunger for success has seen me rub shoulders on occasion with a few lazy colleagues as I prefer quality deliveries and in time.”
18. What Are Your Expectations On Employees Working In The Materials Management Department?
The interviewer asks you this question as the department head to ascertain the level of expectation you bestow upon your juniors. Also, they intend to understand how well you plan your department based on your expectations of them.
“I always expect them to conduct themselves in a professional manner. They should also perform their duties at a reasonable and acceptable standard. They ought to represent the organization in a responsible manner. Dedication, hard work, and determination should be the norm at the workplace. Lastly, integrity and honesty will be important to building a positive and healthy working environment.”
19. In Your Perspective How Do You Define Quality?
The interviewer wants to understand from your point of view; what is deemed to be good enough or a success. Explain the variables that you use to gauge quality work.
“Quality according to me is a degree of excellence. It is how good something or someone is with respect to others in a similar position. In business circles, it is the ability to guarantee total client satisfaction. It can also be measured by the client base and degree of demand for the company’s services. Quality work is always sellable and easy to distinguish in the market.”
20. How Do You Spend Your Off Days?
With this question, the interviewer tries to understand a bit of your personal life including your hobbies. Highlight how you spend your free time including weekends and holidays.
“During my off days, I spend time with my wife and children. I also enjoy watching movies at the theatre. I am also a basketball fan and on occasion take part in community basketball matches. I also love taking part in charitable events such as the heart run marathon. Lastly, I am a collector of antiques and whenever I have the resources am not shy to travel the world.”
These are some of the common questions for the role of production worker but it is essential for a candidate to prepare extensively for an interview. Consulting and reading to obtain further information on the role is crucial since having sufficient knowledge eases pressure on you before the big interview.