A manufacturer occasionally runs out of certain models or does not stock them. This happens for a number of reasons: unexpected popularity of a particular item, an unusually large purchase, or a failure by the supplier to make and ship on time certain items. Stock control is a way the manufacturer avoids running out of stock through tracking what is on hand, what has been sold and what is on order.
Good customer service consists partly of having adequate supplies of what the customer wants to buy. If it runs out of a particular product, the customer buys it somewhere else -- perhaps establishing a relationship with a competitor. Not only lost a sale; it possibly has lost a good customer as well.
Inventory consists of what products are on the shelves plus the products in assembly. As customers deplete the stocked shelves, more assemblies come out of storage to replace what has been sold. Keeping track of the inventory on hand allows the owner or manager to know when to build additional stock of the items before they sell out.
"Shrinkage" is a term used to designate any mysterious disappearance of inventory. It is derived from a starting count of inventory on the shelves and in assembly. As goods are sold, the inventory should decline by the amount of sales. Sometimes, there is less inventory than expected, which normally means goods have been misplaced. Identifying missing inventory helps know to improve inventory tracking procedures. Tracking sales over years also helps know how much to order of certain products at different times of the year.
Orders (Reimers has boilers ready !)
Keeping track of goods on order allows one to verify that replacement stock has been ordered. Monitoring order status alerts to possible delays in delivery in time to find another source of those goods from an alternate distributor. Manufacturers and distributors occasionally face fulfillment problems due to weather, machinery breakdown, labor strikes, unexpected demand and transportation problems. A detailed analysis of delivery times can prompt a retailer to change distributors or to figure seasonal delays into the timing of his orders. Customers don't care why a product is not available for purchase when they want it; they only know the seller failed. A detailed system of stock control keeps the customer satisfied and the seller in business.