Inventory Turnover Ratio: What Inventory Turnover Ratio Is & How It Works

inventory turnover ratio

Knowing all about the inventory turnover ratio is key for any company that wants to succeed. This ratio is more than just a figure; it shows how well a company keeps track of its stock, which is crucial for its operations. Understanding this ratio can help you manage your inventory better, sell more efficiently, and increase your profits.

If you want to understand the inventory turnover ratio and why it matters for businesses, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s break it down in easy-to-understand terms.

Key takeaways:

  • The inventory turnover ratio shows how well a business manages its stock, ensuring it has enough but not too much. 
  • Getting this ratio right can help a business have more money on hand, spend less on storing goods, and sell more effectively. 
  • Using smart planning, working with different suppliers, and using technology can help improve this ratio. 
  • Basic rules like the golden rule and the ABC rule help manage stock in a smart way. 
  • Using software and tech can make managing stock easier, more precise, and better overall.


1. What is the inventory turnover?

2. What is the inventory turnover ratio?

3. What can inventory turnover tell you?

4. Ideal inventory turnover ratio: High vs. low inventory turnover ratio

5. Challenges in managing inventory turnover

6. Strategies to improve inventory turnover

7. Understanding the Golden & ABC rules

8. Technological tools for managing inventory

9. Inventory turnover ratio: Conclusion

10. Inventory turnover ratio: FAQs

What is the inventory turnover?

Inventory turnover is a measure that shows how often a company sells and replaces its stock of goods within a certain period, like a year. 

What is an inventory turnover real example?

Think of it like how often your favorite bakery sells out of bread and needs to bake more. It’s about understanding how fast products move from the shelves to the customers.

The significance of fast sales

When a bakery sells bread quickly and restocks often, it means things are going well. It shows that people love the bakery’s bread, and the bakery is good at making sure there’s always enough bread for everyone without having too much left over. This is important because it helps the bakery make money and not waste money on bread that doesn’t sell.

Financial implications of quick turnover

Also, selling bread fast means the bakery gets its money back quickly, which is good because it can use that money to make more bread or even try out new recipes. The bakery wants to sell bread at a just-right pace—not too fast that it runs out and customers can’t buy what they want, but not so slow that bread sits on the shelf for too long.

Industry variations & optimal turnover

However, it’s important to note that the ideal turnover rate can vary widely between industries due to differences in product types, market demands, and business models. For example, a supermarket typically has a higher inventory turnover than a furniture store because groceries are consumed more frequently and have a shorter shelf life than furniture. 

The importance of monitoring inventory turnover

So, inventory turnover is really important for businesses to monitor. It helps them know if they are doing a good job selling their products and ensuring they have just the right amount of stock. It’s all about finding the perfect balance.

What is the inventory turnover ratio?

The inventory turnover ratio is a specific calculation that helps businesses understand how efficiently they manage their inventory. It compares the cost of goods sold to the average inventory for a period. This ratio tells us how often a company has sold and replaced its inventory over a certain timeframe.

The inventory turnover ratio formula

To calculate the inventory turnover ratio, you use the formula:

The inventory turnover ratio formula

This formula divides the cost of goods sold (how much money the company spent to produce or buy the goods it sold) by the average inventory (the average value of goods the company had available to sell during the period).

Example of inventory turnover ratio 

Let’s apply the concept of the inventory turnover ratio to a bakery to make it easier to understand. Imagine a bakery that specializes in making delicious bread. The bakery wants to ensure it’s baking just the right amount of bread—enough to meet customer demand without ending up with too many unsold loaves at the end of the day.

We use the inventory turnover ratio to determine how well the bakery is managing its bread inventory. This involves 2 main pieces of information: 

  • how much bread the bakery sells (this is similar to the cost of goods sold);
  • and the average number of loaves it has on hand over a certain period, like a month or a year.

How can I calculate the inventory turnover ratio?

You calculate the inventory turnover ratio by dividing the cost of goods sold (COGS) by the average inventory during a period. This tells you how efficiently inventory is being managed.

Let’s say, over one year, the bakery sold bread that cost $100,000 to make. And, on average, the value of the bread sitting in the bakery waiting to be sold was $25,000. To find the inventory turnover ratio, the bakery divides the total cost of the bread sold by the average value of the bread inventory:

The inventory turnover ratio calculations

This means the bakery’s inventory turned over 4 times during the year. In other words, the bakery sold and replaced its entire stock of bread four times over the year.

What can inventory turnover tell you?

Inventory turnover can provide insights into a company’s sales performance and inventory management efficiency. A higher ratio indicates that inventory is selling quickly, which is generally positive as it suggests strong demand and efficient inventory management. A lower ratio may indicate overstocking, weak sales, or ineffective inventory management.

In our example with a bakery, a turnover ratio of 4 tells the bakery a few things. 

First, it’s doing a pretty good job of making sure it doesn’t bake too much bread that doesn’t get sold because the bread is selling steadily. 

Second, it also shows that the bakery isn’t running out of bread too often; it’s keeping up with customer demand by baking more bread before it runs too low.

Ideal inventory turnover ratio: High vs. low inventory turnover ratio

The ideal inventory turnover ratio varies by industry because different types of businesses naturally have different inventory management needs. However, a ratio that balances having enough stock to meet customer demand without overstocking is considered optimal.

What is a high inventory turnover ratio?

A high inventory turnover ratio indicates that a company sells its inventory quickly. This can signify strong sales and efficient inventory management, as the company does not hold onto stock for too long.

What is a low inventory turnover ratio?

A low inventory turnover ratio suggests that a company sells its inventory slowly. This could mean weaker sales or that too much inventory is being held, leading to potential overstock issues and higher holding costs.

Challenges in managing inventory turnover 

Managing inventory turnover is tricky for businesses. They need to keep enough products to meet customer needs, not so much that it wastes money or space. Here are some of the key challenges in managing inventory turnover.

Challenges in managing inventory turnover

Challenge 1. Guessing demand

It’s hard to predict exactly how much of a product customers will want. Guess too high, and you’re stuck with too much stuff. Guess too low, and you run out, missing sales.

Challenge 2. Supply chain problems

Sometimes, things go wrong when getting products from suppliers to your store. This can lead to having too much or not enough inventory.

Challenge 3. Costs

Keeping a lot of inventory costs money (for storage, insurance, etc.), but not having enough can lose sales and might cost more in urgent shipping fees.

Challenge 4. Product life cycles

Products go through phases of popularity. Managing stock levels as a product becomes more or less popular is challenging.

Challenge 5. Lead times

The time it takes to get products from a supplier can vary, making it hard to keep just the right amount of stock.

Challenge 6. Quality issues

Sometimes, products aren’t good enough to sell, which can mess up your inventory levels and planning.

Challenge 7. Tech tools

Using technology to track and manage inventory is essential but can be complicated and expensive to set up.

Challenge 8. Market changes

Trends, economic shifts, or more competition can suddenly change how much product you need.

Challenge 9. Rules & being green

Following laws and being eco-friendly can affect how you manage inventory, like what materials you can use or how you source products.

Data handling

Making decisions requires good data. Collecting and analyzing this data to determine what to stock is a big task.

In short, managing inventory is a balancing act of having the right amount of products at the right time without spending too much money or wasting resources.

Strategies to improve inventory turnover

Improving inventory turnover involves strategies to sell products more quickly and efficiently, ensuring that inventory does not sit unsold for too long. Here are some strategies to help businesses enhance their inventory turnover.

Strategies to improve inventory turnover. Part 1

1. Accurate demand forecasting

Use data and trends to predict what customers will buy so you don’t order too much or too little.

2. Keep an eye on stock

Use a system to track how much product you have and how fast it’s selling. This helps decide when to order more.

Explore the secrets to building a top-notch inventory management system in our guide, ‘How to Create the Best Inventory Management System: Find the Best Inventory Software for Your Business.’ Take a moment to check it out and revolutionize your business processes!

3. Use several suppliers

Having more than one supplier means you’re less likely to run out of products because one supplier is late.

4. Regular inventory reviews

Regularly look at what products aren’t selling well and consider lowering prices or offering deals to get them moving.

5. Improve supplier relationships

Good relationships with suppliers might get you faster deliveries or discounts, which can help manage your stock better.

6. Just-in-time (JIT) inventory

Try ordering products only close to when they’ll be sold to avoid having too much stock.

Strategies to improve inventory turnover. Part 2

7. Try dropshipping

For some items, consider having them sent directly from the supplier to the customer so you don’t have to keep them in stock.

Elevate your dropshipping game with our guide, ‘Dropshipping Software: Improve Dropshipping Business and Dropship Confidently With Drop Shipping Software.’ Dive in and enhance your dropshipping experience today!

8. Dynamic pricing

Adjust prices based on how much people want something and how much of it you have to help sell things faster.

9. Sell in bundles

Put slow-selling items together with popular ones at a special price to help clear out the slow sellers.

Discover the simplicity of creating and selling bundles with our guide, ‘Product Bundling Made Easy: How to Choose and Sell Bundles in 2024.’ Take a moment to explore and elevate your product offerings!

10. Use sales channels

Use different selling methods (like online or in different stores) to reach more customers.

Pay attention to what customers like and what’s trending to adjust what you stock.

12. Improve product turnaround

Make the process from receiving products to selling them as fast as possible so items spend less time sitting unsold.

Implementing these strategies can help businesses optimize their inventory levels, reduce costs associated with holding excess stock, and improve overall financial performance through better inventory turnover.

Discover valuable insights on streamlining your business operations with our user-friendly guide, ‘5 Tips for Optimizing Your Inventory Turnover Rate.’ Take a quick look to enhance your inventory management skills!

Understanding the Golden & ABC rules

Managing inventory well is really important for businesses because it can greatly affect how much money they make and how smoothly they run. Some key rules and strategies can help businesses handle their inventory better. 

The most important ones are the Golden rule of inventory and the ABC rule of inventory. These rules give businesses helpful tips on how to keep just the right amount of stock. They help avoid too much or too little inventory, ensuring companies can meet what their customers need without wasting money on extra stock. We will look closer at these important rules and see why they matter and how to use them to manage inventory best.

What is the Golden rule for inventory?

The Golden rule of inventory management is to balance inventory levels to have enough stock to meet customer demand without overstocking. 

It’s about finding the perfect balance between too much and too little. This rule emphasizes the importance of efficient inventory management to minimize costs related to excess inventory, such as storage and insurance, while also avoiding stockouts that can lead to lost sales and unhappy customers.

What is the ABC rule of inventory?

The ABC rule of inventory is a way to sort out your stock by how important each item is to your business, mainly looking at how much they sell or are worth. This rule makes it easier for businesses to focus their time and money on managing their stock better.

ABC rule of inventory

A items

These are your top items. Even though they only make up about 20% of your stock, they’re worth about 80% of your stock’s total value. They’re super important, so you must keep a close eye on them and manage them well because they can affect your money and how well your business does.

B items

These are in the middle. They’re about 30% of your stock and make up around 15% of its value. They’re important, but you don’t need to watch them as closely as the A items.

C items

These are the least important. They make up half of your stock but only 5% of its value. Since they don’t add as much value, you don’t have to spend as much effort managing them.

This sorting helps you know where to focus your efforts to make sure you’re managing your inventory in the smartest way possible.

Technological tools for managing inventory

When running a successful business, tracking and managing your physical goods is crucial, and an inventory management system can assist you in this task. Technological tools have revolutionized how businesses manage their inventory, making processes more efficient, accurate, and streamlined. 

Explore our comprehensive review of the top-notch small business inventory management solution and find the perfect fit for your needs.

Tracking inventory and COGS easily with Synder

If you sell across various platforms and marketplaces, you’ll need a system to monitor your stock levels everywhere. Synder is a financial management software that’s great for e-commerce sellers because it has top features for tracking inventory. 

It stands out for having the most integrations with e-commerce platforms and payment processors available today. Many ecommerce businesses trust it to sync their data with QuickBooks and Xero automatically.

What top features for tracking inventory does Synder possess?

Feature 1. Variety of ecommerce integrations

After setting up inventory and COGS tracking in Synder, your accounting system will be the go-to place for all inventory information. It matches products to sales. Whether you sell the same or different products across various channels, Synder, QuickBooks, or Xero will keep your COGS and stock levels accurate and current.

Feature 2. Custom inventory tracking

Synder categorizes sales by different factors like location or product name in Synder, allowing for separate inventory tracking across sales channels.

Gain a deeper understanding of the functionality of Smart Rules in Synder with our guide, ‘How Smart Rules Work in Synder.’ Take a moment to explore and optimize your financial processes effortlessly!

Feature 3. Bundle syncing

Synder records sales of bundle offers automatically, ensuring your stock reflects these transactions accurately.

Feature 4. Low stock alerts

Customize alerts in Synder to notify you when stock is low, using smart rules for automatic email notifications based on set thresholds.

Ensure you never miss a beat in managing your inventory by checking out our guide, ‘How To Get Instant Low Stock Alerts.’ Take a quick look to stay on top of your stock levels effortlessly!

Take advantage of the opportunity to optimize your business processes and explore Synder features with a free trial. To gain more insights and tips, book your seat on the informative Weekly Public Demo offered by Synder. 

Inventory turnover ratio: Conclusion 

Wrapping up our look at the inventory turnover ratio, it’s evident that it’s a vital tool for any business. This ratio helps businesses better manage inventory, match stock with customer demand, and improve operations. It’s not just about preventing too much or too little stock; it’s about making smart decisions that drive your business to grow, become more agile, and increase profits.

Share your opinion

If you’ve applied any of the strategies or tools mentioned in this article to optimize your inventory turnover ratio, please share your experience in the comments below. Whether you’ve faced challenges, found innovative solutions, or observed significant improvements in your inventory management, your insights could greatly benefit others navigating similar paths.  Share your story with us!

Inventory turnover ratio: FAQs

1. How can I assess my business’s inventory management efficiency?

Assess your business’s inventory management efficiency by calculating the inventory turnover ratio. Simply divide your business’s cost of goods sold by its average inventory. This metric reveals how frequently your inventory is sold and replenished, offering insights into inventory management effectiveness.

2. What is a good inventory turnover ratio?

A good inventory turnover ratio varies by industry, but generally, a higher ratio indicates efficient inventory management. It typically ranges from 5 to 10 times per year, suggesting that inventory is sold and restocked 5 to 10 times in a year. However, the ideal number depends on the specific industry standards and the nature of the products sold.

Check out our easy-to-understand article ‘What Is a Good Inventory Turnover Ratio: a Simple Guide’ to learn practical tips for better managing your stock and boosting your business efficiency.

3. What’s the relationship between the inventory turnover ratio and ‘days sales in inventory’?

The inventory turnover ratio and ‘days sales in inventory’ are inversely related. A higher inventory turnover ratio usually means a lower DSI, indicating that inventory is being sold more quickly. Both metrics together give a comprehensive view of inventory efficiency.

4. Why is the inventory turnover ratio important?

This ratio is important because it shows how effectively a company manages its inventory, suggesting how well it balances stocking enough goods to meet customer demand without overstocking, which can lead to higher storage costs or obsolete inventory.

5. Can a high inventory turnover ratio be bad?

Yes, while a high inventory turnover ratio often indicates efficiency, it can also suggest potential issues such as stock shortages, which could lead to lost sales if a company cannot meet demand, or it might indicate a company is under capitalizing on its market potential.

Enhance your invoicing efficiency by exploring our article, ‘Electronic Invoicing or E-invoicing: What an Electronic Invoice is & How Does Electronic Invoicing Work?’ Take a moment to discover the benefits and functionalities of electronic invoicing for streamlined financial processes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like