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On the relationship between inventory and financial performance in manufacturing companies

Vedran Capkun (HEC Paris, Paris, France)
Ari‐Pekka Hameri (Ecole des HEC, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Lawrence A. Weiss (The Fletcher School at Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 17 July 2009




The purpose of this paper is to study the relationship between inventory performance, both total inventory (INV) and its discrete components (raw material (RMI), work‐in‐process (WIP), and finished goods (FGI)), and financial performance in manufacturing companies.


Statistical analysis is applied to the financial information of US‐based manufacturing firms over the 26‐year period from 1980 to 2005.


The paper finds a significant positive correlation between inventory performance (total as well as the discrete components of inventory) and measures of financial performance (at both the gross and operating levels) for firms in manufacturing industries. The correlation between the performance of discrete types of inventory and financial performance varies significantly across inventory types. RMI performance has the highest correlation with all financial performance measures. Between WIP inventory and FGI performance, the former is more highly correlated with gross profit measures while the latter is more highly correlated with operating profit measures.


This paper is the first to systematically analyze the relationship between inventory performance and financial performance for a large sample of firms across all manufacturing industries. The paper adds to prior literature by discussing and testing the relationship between both INV performance and the discrete types of inventory (RMI, WIP, and FGI) and profitability of operations, both at the gross and at the operating profit levels. The paper also analyzes the results for firms across as well as within manufacturing industries. The results obtained support the operations management literature's claim that a managerial focus on inventory performance results in value creation for manufacturing firms.



Capkun, V., Hameri, A. and Weiss, L.A. (2009), "On the relationship between inventory and financial performance in manufacturing companies", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 789-806.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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