Obsolete Inventory Guide: How to Identify, Manage & Avoid It

The key to managing inventory levels is to have visibility to inventory trends. Usage or sales trends are important indicators of potential inventory issues. The trends should be evaluated monthly or quarterly, depending upon your industry. The path from valid inventory to obsolete inventory usually passes through the phases of slow-moving, to excess, to obsolete for both raw materials and finished goods. The company was using an old IBM computer system that was costly to operate.

disposal of obsolete inventory

Accounting for obsolete inventory and its value is critical, as it can impact a company’s financial statements. When obsolete inventory benchmarks are reached, the cost of goods sold and the value of total assets will both decrease. Situations that cause usage trends to change quickly are at times self-generated. For instance, when new products are introduced, and previous versions are not phased out properly, a usage/sales trend line can immediately change without warning. Good communication between product development, sales, purchasing and inventory control, is essential.

How does obsolete inventory work?

Finally, you realize that no-one was really keeping an eye on the accuracy of your inventory. You only cycle count once per year before year end, so the numbers are accurate for the balance sheet. Throughout the year, you’re just not quite sure how accurate the inventory levels are inside your inventory management system or home-grown database records.

  • Likewise, the inhouse teams should be working in tandem with suppliers and shippers.
  • In the past, if the inventory was held for too long, the goods may have reached the end of their product life and become obsolete.
  • Katana’s software automates and streamlines the entire inventory management process, giving you visibility into your inventory levels in real time.
  • Likewise, if a company produces a product that is no longer in demand, its inventory of it becomes obsolete and must be cleared out.
  • It rarely becomes supply chain’s top priority to relieve the company of this burden.

Some technology companies write down their slow-moving inventory 3-5% per quarter or more in anticipation of price reductions. Hiding the depreciating assets to avoid current charges to earnings will only compound the problem later. Of course, if it is more logical to sell them at a lower price (e.g. lower than cost), we can choose to write down the value of the inventory and sell them at a lower price instead. In either case, there will be a loss that we need to record as an expense and charge it to the income statement in the period. It can lead to increased costs, damage to reputation, and reduced profits.

How to prevent obsolete inventory

Whatever your options to reduce inventory levels, the first step is to identify which items are potentially in excess and at risk of becoming problematic, whether raw materials or finished goods. Hopefully, this offers you a new method to identify inventory issues before they become a financial burden. Regardless of seasonality, the analysis of the trend reports is the critical activity to identify slow-moving inventory, before it crosses the line and becomes hard-to-move excess inventory. Showing the usage/sales data in a graph will aid with the trend analysis.

  • At this point, it will be written off as a total loss on the company’s financial statements.
  • Of course, the best way to manage obsolete inventory is to prevent it from piling up in the first place.
  • Odds are, you’ll still be left with some excess inventory you’ll have to take as a loss — but if sustainability is your goal, as it should be, tossing it in the trash should be your last resort.
  • Businesses should ensure that their products are of high quality and meet the needs of customers.
  • Identifying excess goods early on allows you to quickly repurpose extra or unsellable items and save a significant amount of money and energy.

After all, the above journal entries show that the market value or net realizable value of inventory is only $100 but we still record the cost of goods sold that comes from the inventory as $500. That is why this can be done only when the amount is insignificant or immaterial. For example, on December 31, we have obsolete inventory goods that have an original cost of $500. However, due to its obsolete state, its fair value on the market is only $100 as of December 31. This will help them to identify products that are becoming obsolete and take steps to avoid carrying them.

Warehouse Procedures: Daily Receiving Process

Damaged goods is a type of dead stock and is sometimes considered obsolete if the product is unfixable and therefore, loses its value. Though there are several great inventory forecasting solutions on the market, you can always rely on a 3PL to provide the insights you need to better forecast demand without the disposal of obsolete inventory extra cost. An inventory write-off can help you reduce your tax liability, which involves taking the inventory off the books when it is identified to have no value and, thus, cannot be sold. Having access to supply chain data can help you improve supply chain efficiency, including how well inventory is managed.

Qualified product disposal companies will provide you with the necessary assurances that the job is being handled properly. “When all additional costs are taken into account, the total cost of holding inventory can represent a shocking percent more than the inventory’s unit cost value. Ultimately, reducing obsolete inventory is a painless way for product-based companies to boost their bottom lines. Upon closer inspection, the accountants realize the company wrote off hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of product last year, much of it 1080p LCD televisions. Its forecast called for 1080p TVs to be big sellers, but far more people bought 4K and OLED sets instead.

Obsolete inventory can have significant negative impacts on a business, including tying up capital, occupying storage space, and decreasing profitability. However, by understanding the causes of obsolete inventory and using effective management https://kelleysbookkeeping.com/ techniques, businesses can reduce the likelihood of accumulating obsolete inventory and mitigate its negative effects. Accurate demand forecasting can help businesses avoid overproduction and prevent the accumulation of obsolete inventory.

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