Every organization's inventory operation may seem unique.  A wide variety of stock status systems are available and, indeed, each of those may be unique.  However, the nature of all inventory operations is surprisingly similar - regardless of the stock status system used.  Stock status records transactions and reports status.  Stock management analyzes data and plans strategy.  This analysis and planning generally falls into three categories:

  • Manufacturing  (MRP)
  • Distribution (DRP)
  • Maintenance (MRO)

There are unique characteristics for each type of operation.  Forecasting may seem impossible for some maintenance (MRO) items even though they may be critical.  Other "lumpy" items may have substantial annual totals but are only sold a couple of times a year.  Some items are manufactured while others are procured from outside suppliers.  Some manufacturing (MRP) items have long and complex leadtimes while distribution (DRP) items are delivered within one week.

All companies that manage inventory fall into one of these three categories.  Furthermore, all companies within an individual category have similar characteristics.  SMS works with all of these categories.  Simple controls and options make it easy to adapt SMS to any one of these three types of inventory operations.