Your best employees are leaving, your warehouse is full of unsold stock and the only person who ever calls is the bank manager.

The Sunday Times, 9 November 2003, p. 15, Business Section 3 ‘Warning signs of a failing business’

Inventory management or stock management are terms that can be used interchangeably. It is an essential part of managing the supply chain activities. The management challenge is to minimize the stockholding costs whilst simultaneously satisfying customer demand. In other words there is a trade-off between customer service levels achieved and inventories held.