The head of the Inventory Control Department is in charge of all inventory in our warehouse -- as many as 20,000 items, depending on the season. When we receive a product or component at our warehouse, we immediately assign a barcoded part number and identify the storage location to which it is assigned within our facility.
Most often, we receive components for eventual kitting or assembly into a finished product. (We frequently function as a final-stage manufacturer prior to shipping.) A Bill of Materials which indicates the appropriate part numbers for each element of the kit (and for the kit, itself) is used to pick the components with which to build the kit. It is also used to pick previously-assembled kits.
The Inventory Control staff picks the required material and transfers it to an assembly or shipping location. At each step of the process, the barcode inventory control system identifies the location of either the parts.
At this point, we reflect the inventory as "committed"--picked but not yet shipped--and we will show it as being in our warehouse, but no longer available for new orders.
When a product or kit is complete and ready for shipping, the Data Processing Department generates shipping labels, either for a direct consumer order or for a shipment to retailer, distributor or shopping channel.
At every step of the way, we can identify and locate with complete accuracy every item that has come through our front doors. When shipping is complete, then and only then do we remove it from our inventory system.