Inventory management software is a computer-based system for tracking inventory levels, orders, sales and deliveries. It can also be used in the manufacturing industry to create a work order, bill of materials and other production-related documents. Companies use inventory management software to avoid product overstock and outages. It is a tool for organizing inventory data that before was generally stored in hard-copy form or in spreadsheets. It is often associated with and is similar to distribution software, as distributors that can compete with less cash tied up in inventories have a distinct advantage over their competitors.
Inventory management software is made up of several key components, all working together to create a cohesive inventory for many organizations' systems. These features include:
Should inventory reach a specific threshold, a company's inventory management system can be programmed to tell managers to reorder that product. This helps companies avoid running out of products or tying up too much capital in inventory.
When a product is in a warehouse or store, it can be tracked via its barcode and/or other tracking criteria, such as serial number, lot number or revision number. Nowadays, inventory management software often utilizes barcode and/or wireless tracking technology.
Companies that are primarily service-oriented rather than product-oriented can use inventory management software to track the cost of the materials they use to provide services, such as cleaning supplies. This way, they can attach prices to their services that reflect the total cost of performing them.
Barcodes are often the means whereby data on products and orders is inputted into inventory management software. A barcode reader is used to read barcodes and look up information on the products they represent.