Which comes first — management or control?
Inventory management is much broader than control: it takes your supply chain, manufacturing, fulfilment, sales and reporting into account. Almost any business will have to get an inventory management system in place before they drill down to control. Otherwise, you’ll have no way of managing suppliers, production or sales.
After that, there are countless methods for storing and selling your products better. Whether you focus on optimising purchasing, control, production or sales is up to you. You might, for instance, want to plan improvements based on previous operating experience — say, by changing how you count stock. Or you might want to tweak processes to reflect product and order profile changes, customer gains and losses or shifts in demand.
Inventory management process:
5 key stages
The inventory management process involves tracking and controlling stock as it moves from your suppliers to your warehouse to your customers. There are five main stages to follow:
Purchasing: This can mean buying raw materials to turn into products, or buying products to sell on with no assembly required
Production: Making your finished product from its constituent parts. Not every company will get involved in manufacturing — wholesalers, for instance, might skip this step entirely
Holding stock: Storing your raw materials before they’re manufactured (if required), and your finished goods before they’re sold
Sales: Getting your stock into customers’ hands, and taking payment
Reporting: Businesses need to know how much it is selling, and how much money it makes on each sale
Matching product supply to demand
Inventory management and quality control
The effects of stockouts on a business
Three signs that it’s time to rethink your stock control
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