5 Types of Inventory in Manufacturing

5 types of inventory in manufacturing

The Need for Inventory Management

As a manufacturer, inventory management is a crucial aspect of your business. It directly impacts your cash flow, profitability, and ability to meet customer demand. Proper inventory management helps you maintain the right amount of inventory at the right time, preventing shortages and overstocking. 

Manufacturing businesses have to manage different types of inventory. These inventories are raw materials, work-in-progress (WIP), finished goods, maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO), and safety stock. Each inventory has a unique purpose and impact on your business.

Types of Inventory in Manufacturing

1. Raw Materials Inventory

Raw materials are the basic materials that are transformed into finished goods. These materials include metals, plastics, chemicals, textiles, and wood. Managing raw materials is crucial for manufacturers because they are the foundation of the finished products. Manufacturers must ensure that they have an adequate supply of raw materials to avoid shortages, which can lead to production delays and increased costs.

2. Work-In-Progress (WIP) Inventory

Work-in-progress inventory includes all products that are in the manufacturing process. This includes products that are partially completed and those that are waiting to be processed. WIP inventory plays a significant role in manufacturing because it directly impacts the production process’s efficiency. Effective WIP management helps manufacturers optimize the production process, reduce lead times, and minimize production costs.

3. Finished Goods Inventory

Finished goods are products that are completed and ready for sale. These are the products that generate revenue for the business. Finished goods inventory management is crucial for manufacturers because it directly affects the business’s cash flow and profitability. Excess finished goods inventory can tie up cash, lead to storage costs, and increase the risk of obsolete inventory.

4. Maintenance, Repair and Operating (MRO) Inventory

MRO inventory includes all the materials and supplies required for maintenance, repair, and operations. This includes items such as tools, spare parts, lubricants, and cleaning supplies. MRO inventory management is crucial for manufacturers because it directly impacts the business’s ability to maintain equipment and facilities. Effective MRO management helps manufacturers minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and improve the overall efficiency of the business.

5. Safety Stock Inventory

Safety stock is an additional inventory that manufacturers keep to mitigate the risks of stockouts. It is the buffer inventory that manufacturers keep to ensure that they can fulfill customer orders, even during unexpected demand spikes or supply chain disruptions. Safety stock management is crucial for manufacturers because it helps them maintain a high level of customer service and avoid lost sales.

Axacute is a cloud-based (SaaS) Inventory and Production system that is designed to help small manufacturing companies obtain greater visibility to their warehouse and shop floor operations; so that they can get better insights into true operation costs, improved cycle times and on-time deliveries.


Effective inventory management is critical for manufacturers to operate efficiently and maximize profitability. Proper inventory management helps manufacturers maintain the right amount of inventory at the right time, prevent shortages and overstocking, and optimize the production process. Understanding the five types of inventory in manufacturing is the first step in effective inventory management. By managing raw materials, WIP, finished goods, MRO, and safety stock inventories effectively, manufacturers can achieve operational excellence, enhance customer service, and maximize profitability.

Looking for a suitable Cloud-based Inventory Management System?  Try Axacute.

Join us for a 30 minutes free demo of our cloud-based inventory and production system every Thursday 3 p.m. (GMT +8) via Zoom.   

Try our FREE plan, NO credit card required.

Talk to us. Would you like to learn more about Axacute?

Fill in your details and we will get back to you shortly.