Inventory

DEFINITION of 'Inventory'

The raw materials, work-in-process goods and completely finished goods that are considered to be the portion of a business's assets that are ready or will be ready for sale. Inventory represents one of the most important assets that most businesses possess, because the turnover of inventory represents one of the primary sources of revenue generation and subsequent earnings for the company's shareholders/owners.

BREAKING DOWN 'Inventory'

Possessing a high amount of inventory for long periods of time is not usually good for a business because of inventory storage, obsolescence and spoilage costs. However, possessing too little inventory isn't good either, because the business runs the risk of losing out on potential sales and potential market share as well.

Inventory management forecasts and strategies, such as a just-in-time inventory system, can help minimize inventory costs because goods are created or received as inventory only when needed.

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