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Stock control and inventory

Stock control and inventory
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Stock control, otherwise known as inventory control, is used to show how much stock you have at any one time, and how you keep track of it.

It applies to every item you use to produce a product or service, from raw materials to finished goods. It covers stock at every stage of the production process, from purchase and delivery to using and re-ordering the stock.

Efficient stock control allows you to have the right amount of stock in the right place at the right time. It ensures that capital is not tied up unnecessarily, and protects production if problems arise with the supply chain.

This guide explains different stock control methods, shows you how to set one up and tells you where to find more information.

Types of stocks
How much stock should you keep?
Stock control methods
Stock control systems – keeping track manually
Stock control systems – keeping track using computer software
Using RFID for inventory control, stock security and quality management
Stock security
Control the quality of your stock
Stock control administration
Types of stock
Everything you use to make your products, provide your services and to run your business is part of your stock.

There are four main types of stock:

raw materials and components – ready to use in production
work in progress – stocks of unfinished goods in production
finished goods ready for sale
consumables – for example, fuel and stationery
The type of stock can influence how much you should keep – see the page in this guide on how much stock you should keep.

Stock value

You can categorise stock further, according to its value. For example, you could put items into low, medium and high value categories. If your stock levels are limited by capital, this will help you to plan expenditure on new and replacement stock.

You may choose to concentrate resources on the areas of greatest value.

However, low-cost items can be crucial to your production process and should not be overlooked