Inventory Management

The overseeing and controlling of the ordering, storage and use of components that a company will use in the production of the items it will sell as well as the overseeing and controlling of quantities of finished products for sale. A business's inventory is one of its major assets and represents an investment that is tied up until the item is sold or used in the production of an item that is sold. It also costs money to store, track and insure inventory. Inventories that are mismanaged can create significant financial problems for a business, whether the mismanagement results in an inventory glut or an inventory shortage.

Successful inventory management involves creating a purchasing plan that will ensure that items are available when they are needed (but that neither too much nor too little is purchased) and keeping track of existing inventory and its use. Two common inventory-management strategies are the just-in-time method, where companies plan to receive items as they are needed rather than maintaining high inventory levels, and materials requirement planning, which schedules material deliveries based on sales forecasts.

In any business or organization, all functions are interlinked and connected to each other and are often overlapping. Some key aspects like supply chain management, logistics and inventory form the backbone of the business delivery function. Therefore these functions are extremely important to marketing managers as well as finance controllers.

Inventory management is a very important function that determines the health of the supply chain as well as the impacts the financial health of the balance sheet. Every organization constantly strives to maintain optimum inventory to be able to meet its requirements and avoid over or under inventory that can impact the financial figures.

Inventory is always dynamic. Inventory management requires constant and careful evaluation of external and internal factors and control through planning and review. Most of the organizations have a separate department or job function called inventory planners who continuously monitor, control and review inventory and interface with production, procurement and finance departments.

Inventory is an idle stock of physical goods that contain economic value, and are held in various forms by an organization in its custody awaiting packing, processing, transformation, use or sale in a future point of time.

Any organization which is into production, trading, sale and service of a product will necessarily hold stock of various physical resources to aid in future consumption and sale. While inventory is a necessary evil of any such business, it may be noted that the organizations hold inventories for various reasons, which include speculative purposes, functional purposes, physical necessities etc.

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