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.
From the above definition the following points stand out with reference to inventory:
All organizations engaged in production or sale of products hold inventory in one form or other.
Inventory can be in complete state or incomplete state.
Inventory is held to facilitate future consumption, sale or further processing/value addition.
All inventoried resources have economic value and can be considered as assets of the organization.
Different Types of Inventory
Inventory of materials occurs at various stages and departments of an organization. A manufacturing organization holds inventory of raw materials and consumables required for production. It also holds inventory of semi-finished goods at various stages in the plant with various departments. Finished goods inventory is held at plant, FG Stores, distribution centers etc. Further both raw materials and finished goods those that are in transit at various locations also form a part of inventory depending upon who owns the inventory at the particular juncture. Finished goods inventory is held by the organization at various stocking points or with dealers and stockiest until it reaches the market and end customers.
Besides Raw materials and finished goods, organizations also hold inventories of spare parts to service the products. Defective products, defective parts and scrap also forms a part of inventory as long as these items are inventoried in the books of the company and have economic value.
Types of Inventory by Function