In the fashion industry, Inventory Control or Stock
Control can be broadly defined as "the activity of checking & monitoring
an inventory level". The concept is important for retail clothing
stores, wholesale distribution warehouses, as well as trim & garment
factories. Maintaining accurate record of inventory is important
at all stages along the supply chain. If a company owns product,
the business owner must have accurate details regarding the inventory
that they own. For example, if you own a t-shirt shop, you
certainly want to know how many t-shirts you own in each color or size.
If you don’t know how many tees you own, it is impossible to properly
manage the business. All activity required to maintain a proper
count of product is part of the businesses inventory control
Stock management is the function of understanding
the stock mix of a company and the different demands on that stock. The
demands are influenced by both external and internal factors and are
balanced by the creation of purchase order requests to keep supplies at
a reasonable or prescribed level.
Fortunately, the apparel industry does not have to
use pencil & paper or an abacus to keep count of our inventory.
Thank goodness for modern technology.
Stock Control Systems (software)
inventory control system or a computerized inventory system is a
process for managing and locating objects or materials. In common
usage, the term may also refer to just the software components. Most
clothing companies utilize some sort of technology driven stock control
systems. However, it is very possible that some factories in third
world countries still use more antiquated methods. Stock control
software can be used to include various aspects of controlling the
amount of stock on the shelves, stockroom, & warehouse and it can also
help manage the process of re-ordering product. In addition to
knowing your stock level, it is also important to know when new product
needs to be ordered.
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
The implementation of inventory management
applications has become a valuable tool for garment & footwear companies
looking to more efficiently manage stock. While the capabilities of
applications vary, most inventory management applications give
organizations a structured method of accounting for all incoming and
outgoing inventory within their facilities. Organizations save a
significant amount in costs associated with manual inventory counts,
administrative errors and reductions in inventory stock-outs.
Inventory Analysis and Reporting
Reports can be generated by the apparel inventory
control software to help predict when to stock up on extra products.
For example, if you own a fashion boutique it is important to understand
inventory level requirements for specific times of year. The
holiday selling season would clearly need a higher level of inventory in
stock then other times of year. If the store is selling children’s
clothing, it is important to be well stocked for the
back to school selling season. Intelligent software can help
you with calendar reminders, etc.
In addition to keeping good record in software, it
is also critical to keep proper record in regard to the physical
location of your clothes, footwear, or accessories. What ever
product you own, you need to know where it can be found.
Stock control systems help ensure that shelves &
racks are appropriately stocked. If there is too much stock, it ties up
a company's money, which is never a good thing to do. On the other
end of the spectrum, you also want to be careful not to own too little
inventory. If your store is selling 10 pairs of size medium pants
a week and only 2 pairs of size 2XL pants, it is important to understand
that when you place orders for new merchandise for the store you are not
buying an equal amount of both sizes.
Inventory optimization is a method of balancing
capital investment constraints over a large assortment of stock-keeping
units (SKUs) while taking demand and supply volatility into account.
Wireless Barcoder Reader
Modern inventory control systems often rely upon
radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to provide automatic
identification of inventory. To record an inventory transaction,
the system uses a barcode scanner or RFID reader to automatically
identify the inventory object, and then collects additional information
from the operators via fixed terminals (workstations), or mobile
computers. The new trend in inventory management is to label inventory
and assets with QR Code, and use smart-phones to keep track of inventory
count and movement. These new systems are especially useful for field
service operations, where an employee needs to record inventory
transaction or look up inventory stock in the field, away from the
computers and hand-held scanners.
If a clothing distributor moves sweaters from one
location in the warehouse to another, they can easily scan the cartons
and update the inventory control system with a new pallet location.
Using bar codes and bar code readers is helpful.
Just-in-time Inventory (JIT), Vendor Managed
Inventory (VMI) and Customer Managed Inventory (CMI) are a few of the
popular models being employed by
fashion companies looking to have greater stock management control.
JIT is a model that attempts to replenish
inventory for organizations when the inventory is required. The model
attempts to avoid excess inventory and its associated costs. As a
result, companies receive inventory only when the need for more stock is
VMI and CMI are two business models
that adhere to the JIT inventory principles. VMI gives the vendor in a
vendor/customer relationship the ability to monitor, plan and control
inventory for their customers. Customers relinquish the order making
responsibilities in exchange for timely inventory replenishment that
increases organizational efficiency.
CMI allows the customer to order and control their
inventory from their vendors/suppliers. Both VMI and CMI benefit the
vendor as well as the customer. Vendors see a significant increase in
sales due to increased inventory turns and cost savings realized by
their customers, while customers realize similar benefits.
These methods are important to understand if your
company is involved with any sort of replenishment program with your