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What Are the Different Types of Inventory Systems?

Manufacturing organizations may benefit greatly from inventory management systems.
Keeping track of inventory with a laser barcode scanner.
Portable devices can be used to track inventory.
Some smaller companies may still track inventory manually.
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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2014
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Inventory systems are sophisticated computer programs that help businesses keep track of essential business items. These systems frequently differ according to what type of business is being run. From warehouses to small businesses, to manufacturing and even assets, inventory systems are unique tools that help keep employees organized and on task.

Warehouse inventory systems are usually the most common application of this technology because of the often confusing amount of stock coming in and going out of a storage facility. By scanning a barcode on each package or affixing a RFID radio transmitter on each item, inventory management programs track stock in real time. These programs help warehouses better understand how much stock is on hand, where each item is located, when certain items are nearing reorder points, and what orders need to be shipped to clients. Most software programs provide several onscreen options for monitoring and managing this data.

Small businesses, while normally not as complex as a warehouse operation, also utilize the benefits of inventory systems. Many of these programs not only track inventory, but provide several business management options also. From calculating expenses to creating invoices and monitoring the company budget, these systems handle inventory from all angles.

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Manufacturing organizations also benefit greatly from inventory management programs. Inventory systems designed to help manage the manufacturing industry help track three important stages of the process. The first stage, and arguably the most important, is taking orders and comparing them to inventory, ensuring there is enough product to ship out. Secondly, inventory software monitors the raw materials that go into production, ensuring enough material is on hand to keep production moving. Finally, this software helps, much like warehouse software, to keep track of the finished inventory.

Managing the assets that help create and deliver products is another important area for inventory systems. Asset-oriented systems not only help monitor production machines, but also assist in managing a shipping fleet. This type of inventory software is frequently associated with shipping, because it helps monitor delivery trucks. From knowing where a delivery is headed and when it will arrive, to looking at the mileage on a truck, when its next oil change is due, and when its tires should be changed, this product helps businesses stay productive.

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