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What is an Inventory Controller?

A woman checking inventory.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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Inventory controllers are professionals who specialize in the management of the various types of inventories that are maintained by companies as part of the standard process of conducting business. In general, the inventory controller is charged with the task of keeping the level of the inventory within perimeters that are considered to be high enough to allow the company to function at optimum efficiency, but low enough to create the least amount of tax liability for the corporation.

Often a large corporation will employ more than one inventory controller, with each member of the inventory controller staff assigned the task of overseeing the functions of one or more inventory types within the business. Since any given company, especially a manufacturing corporation, will maintain inventories that range from raw stock to manufacturing supplies to finished goods, the task of efficient inventory control is often easier with several controllers working to ensure that all types of inventory are managed properly.

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One inventory controller may have the responsibility of managing the supplies inventory, often by tracking the daily issues and usage of machine parts and other materials essential to the operation of the plants that produce goods offered by the company. Generally, an inventory controller that is focused on supplies or maintenance inventories will employ an ordering process that is based on average usage. Essentially, this means utilizing history about the past usage patterns of an item combined with the average amount of time it takes a vendor to deliver an order of the item once it is placed. This strategy allows the inventory controller to place orders so that the plant never runs out of necessary parts and resources, but helps to prevent large amounts of parts running up the net worth of the inventory.

An inventory controller may also be charged with the responsibility of maintaining the finished goods inventory for a single plant or the entire company. This will involve keeping a constant track of daily production that is added to the current inventory of sellable goods, less the goods that are shipped to fulfill orders. Sales departments often interact regularly with a finished goods inventory controller to determine if there are products in stock that can be used to fulfill a customer request.

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anon161996
Post 7

Anon: Inventory control is good. Very small manufacturing or assembly companies are usually successful only if the "Do it all" boss is good at inventory control as well as sales, even if they are not fully aware of it.

anon157693
Post 6

I am an inventory controller at a company with three manufacturing facilities. The prime role I play is twofold requiring the monitoring of current levels of raw goods and finished goods while making projections based upon sales trends to minimize the amount of stock on items that are seen as useless unless we have the capabilities to liquidate them within the near future. It's a little bit art and a boatload of math, from my experience.

anon129328
Post 5

I am confused with one thing: whose responsibility it is to set the minimum stock levels of finished goods? Is it the inventory controller's only?

Demand of finished goods, which affects the stock levels, is usually defined by the people responsible to sell those goods. Should not the sales people share the responsibility of setting the stock levels of the finished good?

anon81173
Post 4

Inventory is good when the bottom line is improving with respect to contribution.

mdt
Post 2

Depends on how often you need to replace items or use up products in your business operation. In a good inventory situation, you have what you need to run your business without having a lot of items sitting around doing nothing for you.

Keep items on hand that you use frequently, since buying in bulk can reduce your overall operating cost.

However, maintaining a lot of high priced items that you only use once in a great while and could order as needed without slowing down your operation is not a good idea. Just make sure to know how long it will take to order and receive that high-priced item and make sure it will get to you before the current one wears out.

anon8358
Post 1

is inventory good or bad?

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