Essentials of Inventory Management

Essentials of Inventory Management

Essentials of Inventory Management

Essentials of Inventory Management


Inventory management is about more than counting what you've got. It's about understanding business realities and making decisions that balance current demand with future needs while keeping overhead and operating costs to a minimum.

Now in its Second Edition, Essentials of Inventory Management gives inventory professionals the information they need to maximize productivity in key areas, from physical stock issues to problem identification and resolution to technologies like RFID and other automated inventory mechanisms. Perfect for novice and veteran managers alike, this ultra-practical book covers topics such as:

  • Forecasting and replenishment strategies
  • Differences between retail and manufacturing inventories
  • Materials requirements planning and just-in-time inventory systems
  • Simple formulas for calculating quantities and schedules
  • Management of inventory as a physical reality and a monetary value
  • Supply chain risk management

Complete with detailed examples, handy tools, and a revised and expanded chapter analyzing "Why Inventory Systems Fail and How to Fix Them," this nontechnical yet throrough guide is perfect for both instructional and on-the-job use.


The objective of this chapter is to provide you with a basic understanding of the nature of inventory as both a tangible, physical item actually kept within the facility (“real life” or “shelf count”) and as an intangible item existing within the company’s records (“paper life” or “record count”). Since you frequently make purchasing, sales, customer service, production planning, and other decisions based on whether an item is shown as being inhouse as per your records, an item’s paper life can be just as important as its real life.

Inventory—Who Needs It?

All organizations keep inventory. “Inventory” includes a company’s raw materials, work in process, supplies used in operations, and finished goods.

Inventory can be as simple as a bottle of glass cleaner used as part of a building’s custodial program or as complex as a mix of raw materials and subassemblies used as part of a manufacturing process.

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