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What Is Inventory Management - Whiteboard Wednesday

What Is Inventory Management? - Whiteboard Wednesday

Welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday, where we discuss inventory management issues and break down concepts into small, easy-to-understand pieces. I'm Kirk Tanner, the Chief Marketing Officer of Fishbowl. Today, we're going to talk about the fundamentals of inventory management.


Inventory management is the process of effectively organizing and overseeing the flow of goods within a business. In its simplest form, it involves receiving goods, storing them, and eventually fulfilling orders by shipping them out to customers. Whether you're a manufacturing company or involved in wholesale distribution, inventory management is essential for maintaining control and maximizing efficiency.

The Manual Process

Many companies still rely on manual processes to manage their inventory. This labor-intensive method involves manually tracking and updating various data points, such as lot numbers, serial numbers, cost, quantity, and dates for production, expiration, and shipment. When goods arrive in the receiving area, this data needs to be captured. Then, as items are moved to shelves or pulled for fulfillment, the information must be updated again. This manual process requires significant time and effort, making it prone to errors and inefficiencies.

The Automated Process

Alternatively, some businesses have implemented automated inventory management systems to streamline operations. With an automated system, when a truck delivers goods, they can be either directly moved to the receiving area or barcoded into specific locations on the shelves. This scanning process enables real-time tracking and ensures accurate inventory visibility. When items are pulled for manufacturing or distribution, they are also barcode-scanned, updating the system in real-time. This automation reduces labor-intensive tasks, increases efficiency, and provides businesses with up-to-date, actionable information.

The Benefits

Implementing an automated inventory management system offers several key benefits:

  1. Increased Tracking Efficiency: An automated system enables businesses to track inventory accurately, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency.

  2. Time Savings: By eliminating manual processes, employees can focus on more value-added tasks, saving time and improving productivity.

  3. Real-time Data: With an automated system, businesses have access to real-time inventory data, allowing for better decision-making and inventory control.

  4. Improved Reporting: Robust reporting capabilities provide businesses with better insights into their inventory levels, sales trends, and overall performance.

  5. Increased Efficiency and Reduced Costs: By having accurate, timely information, businesses can optimize their inventory levels, reduce stockouts, prevent overstocking, and minimize carrying costs.


Inventory Management, Manual Process, Automated Process, Tracking Efficiency, Time Savings, Real-time Data, Improved Reporting, Efficiency, Reduced Costs.


Q: What is inventory management?
A: Inventory management is the process of effectively organizing and overseeing the flow of goods within a business, including receiving, storing, and fulfilling orders.

Q: What are the benefits of an automated inventory management system?
A: Automated inventory management systems offer increased tracking efficiency, time savings, real-time data, improved reporting capabilities, and increased efficiency and reduced costs.

Q: How does an automated system improve inventory management?
A: Automated systems eliminate manual processes, reduce errors, provide real-time inventory visibility, and enable businesses to make better-informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date data.

Q: Can an automated system help reduce carrying costs?
A: Yes, by optimizing inventory levels, businesses can minimize carrying costs associated with excess stock and obsolete inventory.

Q: What kind of reports can an automated inventory management system provide?
A: Automated systems offer various reports, including inventory levels, sales trends, order fulfillment, and overall performance, enabling businesses to gain valuable insights for decision-making.