An inventory control system is a process for managing and locating objects or materials. In common usage, the term may also refer to just the software components.
Modern inventory control systems often rely upon barcodes and RFID tags to provide automatic identification of inventory objects. In an academic study performed at Wal-Mart, RFID reduced Out of Stocks by 30 percent for products selling between 0.1 and 15 units a day. Inventory objects could include any kind of physical asset: merchandise, consumables, fixed assets, circulating tools, library books, or capital equipment. To record an inventory transaction, the system uses a barcode scanner or RFID reader to automatically identify the inventory object, and then collects additional information from the operators via fixed terminals (workstations), or mobile computers.
Inventory is the total amount of goods and/or materials contained in a store or factory at any given time. Store owners need to know the precise number of items on their shelves and storage areas in order to place orders or control losses. Factory managers need to know how many units of their products are available for customer orders. Restaurants need to order more food based on their current supplies and menu needs. All of these business rely on an inventory count to provide answers.
The word 'inventory' can refer to both the total amount of goods and the act of counting them. Many companies take an inventory of their supplies on a regular basis in order to avoid running out of popular items. Others take an inventory to insure the number of items ordered matches the actual number of items counted physically. Shortages or overages after an inventory can indicate a problem with theft (called 'shrinkage' in retail circles) or inaccurate accounting practices.
Restaurants and other retail businesses which take frequent inventories may use a 'par' system based on the results. The inventory itself may reveal 10... [continues]
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