The inventory turnover ratio formula divides the cost of goods sold (COGS) by the average inventory.
- The cost of goods sold is the cost associated with producing goods, such as material supplies, paying employees to produce them, and so forth.
- The average inventory is the value of your stock in a certain period.
The easiest way to calculate your inventory turnover ratio is by choosing a set timeframe, such as a month, quarter, or year, to give you insight into your business throughout a specific period. Then, you can compare more granular metrics to help you determine why your turnover ratio changed.
It's a good idea to calculate your turnover ratio every month, quarter, and year to give yourself an idea of different patterns that can affect your bottom line. For example, you may find you have a higher turnover ratio during the holidays, so you'll need to purchase or produce more products around those months. Meanwhile, your inventory turnover ratio may be lower during certain times of the year, so you could save money by having fewer products on hand.
In addition, if you notice your inventory ratio decreasing over time, you can start to brainstorm why it's happening by seeing when it started and for how long it has decreased.
Inventory turnover ratio example
If you've never calculated your inventory turnover ratio, we've put together a sample calculation to get you started.
Let's say you're measuring your inventory ratio over a period of one quarter.
If your COGS is $50,000 with $20,000 in average inventory, you'll find your inventory turnover ratio by dividing $50,000 by $20,000.
You can also use the inventory turnover ratio formula to find the average length of time it takes you to move the inventory you have on hand.
To find the average number of days it takes to sell your products, you'll divide 365 (the number of days in a year) by 2.5 (your turnover ratio) to obtain a value of 146. This means it takes your business an average of 146 days to move your inventory.
Low vs. high inventory turnover ratios
Inventory rates vary by industry. However, once you calculate your ratio, you'll have a baseline to compare against your competitors.
A high inventory turnover ratio means you're turning your inventory quickly. As a result, it's not spending too much time on the shelf, and you're earning a regular profit. This indicates the products you're selling are in high demand.
Conversely, a low inventory rate indicates that your products are in low demand. Ultimately, your products are taking too long to sell to consumers. If you have a low inventory ratio, you'll need to figure out what's causing it, especially if it's changed over the course of a few months.
What is a good inventory turnover ratio?
Different industries have different standards for what constitutes a good inventory turnover. However, low-margin industries tend to have higher turnover ratios in general because their products cost less, so more people are willing to buy them. However, low-volume, high-margin industries have lower turnover ratios because fewer people purchase them.
For example, a company that sells popular pet food is likely to have a high inventory turnover rate compared to one that sells high-end automobiles. However, even companies in the same industry can have different turnover ratios, and they could be considered healthy or good for those companies.
Say you have two companies that sell bed sheets. Company A sells bed sheets made out of cotton. They're good quality but not the best on the market. Company B sells premium bedsheets made from higher-quality materials. They're expensive but more luxurious.
Which company do you think would have the higher turnover ratio? If you guessed company A, you're correct. However, a higher turnover ratio doesn't mean they're making more money than company B because company B's products are priced higher.
Inventory management depends on an understanding of different metrics. While your inventory turnover ratio is important, there are other things you should focus on. Essential metrics to know and keep an eye on include profit margin and customer spending habits.
Ways to improve your inventory turnover ratio