Inventory Management

What is Inventory

Inventory is the raw materials, work-in-process products and finished goods that are considered to be the portion of a business’s assets that are ready or will be ready for sale. Inventory represents one of the most important assets of a business because the turnover of inventory represents one of the primary sources of revenue generation and subsequent earnings for the company’s shareholders.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is the management of inventory and stock. As an element of supply chain management, inventory management includes aspects such as controlling and overseeing ordering inventory, storage of inventory, and controlling the amount of product for sale.

Types of Inventory

There are three components typically classified under the inventory account: raw materials, work in progress and finished goods.

Raw Materials: Raw materials represent goods that are used in the production as a source material. Examples of raw materials are metal bought by car manufacturers, food ingredients held by food preparation companies and crude oil held by refineries.

Work in Progress: Work in progress includes goods that are in the process of being transformed during manufacturing and are about to be converted into finished goods. For example, a half-assembled airliner or a ship that is being built would be work in process.

Finished goods:  These are products that have gone through the production and ready for sale, such as completed airliners, ready-to-ship cars and electronics. Retailers who buy and resell goods typically call inventory “merchandise,” which includes finished goods bought from producers and can be resold immediately. Examples of merchandise include electronics, clothes and cars held by retailers.