Inventory is any type of physical assets owned by your business. Raw materials used for building or assembling products? That’s inventory. Products you’ve purchased from a vendor that are still working their way through your supply chain? Inventory. Items used to maintain your business (like cleaning supplies or computers)? Still inventory. And an inventory management system can help you keep tabs on it all.
Most often when people refer to inventory, though, they mean products that you intend to sell. That’s why most inventory management software is geared toward retailers and wholesalers.
To get more handy definitions to help you contextualize all the inventory tracker options available to you, check out our glossary of must-know inventory management terms and acronyms:
Technically, there are a lot more than four types of inventory. But pretty much all those types of inventory fall into four categories: raw materials, work-in-process items, finished goods, and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) goods.
Part of effective inventory management is understanding the types of inventory you’re working with. For instance, if you frequently deal with work-in-process items, you may need inventory management software that offers supply chain management. Or if you have a lot of MRO items (like computers, for example), you’ll need a solution with asset tracking included.
To find out more about the types of inventory and get help with managing specific inventory types, check out the following guides: