Work-In-Process versus Inventory Control

How does a Work-In-Process (WIP) solution differ from an Inventory Control solution?


Both systems track inventory, but a work-in-process system will tie the inventory to a work order and a step-by-step manufacturing process.


Work-in-process systems are primarily used in manufacturing and production environments while inventory control systems are primarily used in stockrooms and warehouses. Work-in-process systems can also track the transformation of materials while inventory control solutions generally do not.

Inventory System

An inventory control solution can track the raw materials and finished goods but leaves the manufacturing process as a “black hole” with little or no visibility into the production process.

Work-in-Process System

A work-in-process solution tracks the inventory and also provides visibility into the manufacturing process. A work-in-process solution also will tie the raw materials to a finished good so that you’ll know what specific item(s) were used to produce a specific batch. Lot number and serial number traceability are sometimes very important in manufacturing processes.


BarcodeShack has decades of experience you can rely on when selecting a barcode-based work-in-process tracking solution. We provide expert advice, solution selection guidance, requirements analysis and documentation that supports your organization’s processes. With decades of installation and implementation experience, BarcodeShack can get your WIP tracking system up and running quickly, expertly moving you from outdated paper, spreadsheet and legacy software-based systems to a complete solution that helps dramatically improve productivity and the accuracy of your WIP records. Call, email or complete our online contact form to get started today with a cost effective, time saving work-in-process tracking system.

TransactionInventory ControlWork-in-Process - WIPWork-in-Process with Inventory
Inventory by LocationYesNoYes
Purchase Order ReceiptsYesNoYes
Sales Order PickingYesNoYes
Serial # TrackingYesNoYes
Lot # TrackingYesNoYes
Expiration DateYesNoYes
WeightsNoNoYes
Raw MaterialsYesNoYes
Finished GoodsYesNoYes
Intermediate MaterialsNoNoYes
Materials TransformationsNoNoYes
Work Order/Job TrackingNoYesYes
Labor TrackingNoYesYes
Production RoutesNoYesYes