What Is Cyclical Inventory?

Inventory is a critical component of any business. It’s the key to ensuring your customers can always get the products they’re looking for, and it keeps your operations running smoothly. But managing inventory can be complex, especially when it comes to cyclical inventory. So what is cyclical inventory? And why should you care about it? In this blog post, we will discuss what cyclical inventory is, why it’s important, and how you can use it to optimize your business operations. Read on to learn more!

Definition of Cyclical Inventory

Cyclical inventory is defined as inventory that is replenished on a regular basis in order to meet customer demand. This type of inventory is typically managed using a just-in-time (JIT) approach, which means that inventory is only replenished as needed in order to avoid excess or obsolescence.

There are several benefits to using a cyclical inventory management approach, including reduced storage costs, improved cash flow, and reduced waste. In addition, JIT inventory management can help to improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that products are always available when they are needed.

How Cyclical Inventory Works

Inventory is the lifeblood of any business, and cyclical inventory is no different. Cyclical inventory is inventory that is used to maintain production levels in a manufacturing or assembly environment. In other words, it’s the stuff you need to keep the lights on and the machines running.

There are two types of cyclical inventory: direct and indirect. Direct cyclical inventory consists of raw materials that will be used in the production process. Indirect cyclical inventory includes items such as spare parts, tools, and other supplies that are necessary for production but not directly used in the manufacturing process.

The goal of any cyclical inventory management system is to ensure that there are enough raw materials and supplies on hand to meet demand without tying up too much capital ininventory. This can be a delicate balancing act, as too little inventory can result in lost sales or production delays, while too much can tie up valuable resources that could be better used elsewhere.

The key to successful cyclical inventory management is understanding your business’s specific needs and demands. This information should be used to develop an appropriate stocking strategy that takes into account lead times, supplier reliability, and other factors. Additionally, regular monitoring of stock levels and trends will help you stay ahead of changes in demand and adjust your stocking levels accordingly.

The Benefits of Cyclical Inventory

There are a few key benefits to implementing a cyclical inventory system in your business. Perhaps most importantly, it can help to improve your overall accuracy in terms of inventory levels. This, in turn, can lead to cost savings – both in terms of the actual inventory and associated storage costs, as well as the opportunity cost of having too much or too little inventory on hand.

In addition, a cyclical inventory system can help to improve customer satisfaction levels. This is because it can help to ensure that products are always available when customers need them. This is particularly important for businesses that operate in industries with high customer demand and/or seasonal fluctuations.

Finally, cyclical inventory can also help to streamline your overall operations. By having regular and predictable inventory cycles, you can better plan for other aspects of your business – such as production, staffing, and marketing. This can lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness throughout your organization.

The Drawbacks of Cyclical Inventory

There are a few potential drawbacks to cyclical inventory that businesses should be aware of. First, if demand for a product is low during its off-season, businesses may end up with too much inventory and not enough sales to offset the cost of goods. Second, businesses may have difficulty forecasting demand accurately if there are significant variations from year to year. And finally, if a business is not well-prepared for the cyclical nature of inventory, they could face significant stock-outs during peak demand periods.

How to Implement Cyclical Inventory

Assuming you have a grasp of what cyclical inventory is, we can move on to how to implement it in your business. As with most things related to business management, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – the key is to tailor the approach to fit your company’s needs. Here are a few tips on how to get started:

1. Define Your Product Categories

The first step is to group your products into categories based on similar characteristics. This will make it easier to develop an effective cyclical inventory system. For example, you might group products by seasonality, customer demand, or production process.

2. Determine Optimal Inventory Levels

Once you have defined your product categories, you need to determine how much inventory you should keep on hand for each type of product. This will require some trial and error, but a good starting point is to maintain enough inventory to cover peak demand periods without tying up too much capital in slow-moving items.

3. Implement a Just-in-Time Inventory System

One way to avoid excess inventory levels is to implement a just-in-time (JIT) inventory system. With JIT, you only order goods as needed instead of stocking up in advance. This can be tricky to master, but it can pay off in terms of reduced storage costs and improved cash flow.


Cyclical inventory management is an effective way to ensure that your business always has the right amount of product on hand without overstocking or understocking. By leveraging data and analytics, you can accurately predict customer demands so that you have just enough inventory on-hand in order to meet consumer needs while also keeping overhead costs low. With a thoughtful cyclical inventory strategy, businesses are able to better plan for the future and make decisions based on actual information rather than relying solely on guesswork.

Want to find out more about procurement?

Access more blogs, articles and FAQ's relating to procurement

Oboloo transparent

The smarter way to have full visibility & control of your suppliers


Feel free to contact us here. Our support team will get back to you as soon as possible

Oboloo transparent

The smarter way to have full visibility & control of your suppliers


Feel free to contact us here. Our support team will get back to you as soon as possible

© 2024 oboloo Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of oboloo content, including by framing or similar means, is prohibited without the prior written consent of oboloo Limited. oboloo, Be Supplier Smart and the oboloo logo are registered trademarks of oboloo Limited and its affiliated companies. Trademark numbers: UK00003466421 & UK00003575938 Company Number 12420854. ICO Reference Number: ZA764971