Inventory management software is a computer-based system for tracking inventory levels, orders, sales and deliveries. It can also be used in the manufacturing industry to create a work order, bill of materials and other production-related documents.
If you’re standing in the middle of a big retailer such as Wal-Mart, and you look around, you’re witnessing one of history’s greatest logistical triumphs. Retailers such as Target, Lowe’s and Best Buy STOCK tens of thousands of items from all over the world. Wal-Mart alone stocks items made in more than 70 countries, according to its corporate Web site. At any given time, the Arkansas-based retailer manages an average of $32 billion in inventory, reports Supply Chain Digest.
With those kinds of numbers, having an effective, efficient inventory control system, or inventory management system, is imperative. Wal-Mart’s system helps it maintain its signature “everyday low prices” by telling store managers which products are selling and which are taking up shelf and warehouse space.
Inventory management systems are the rule for such enterprises, but smaller businesses and vendors use them, too. The systems ensure customers always have enough of what they want and balance that goal against a retailer’s financial need to maintain as little STOCK as possible. Mismanaged inventory means disappointed customers, too much cash tied up in warehouses and slower sales.
Factors such as quicker production cycles, a proliferation of products, multi-national production contracts and the nature of the big-box store make them a necessity. Modern inventory management systems must have the ability to track sales and available inventory.