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Inventory Days on Hand: Definition and examples

Jacob Roseburrough
Jacob Roseburrough Director of Marketing

Efficient inventory management is crucial for businesses to ensure smooth operations and customer satisfaction. One key metric that aids in measuring inventory performance is “inventory days on hand” (IDOH). In this blog, we will define IDOH and provide three practical examples to help you understand its significance in optimizing inventory management.

Definition of inventory days on hand (IDOH)

Inventory Days on Hand (IDOH) is a financial metric used to determine the average number of days a company holds inventory before selling it. It helps businesses evaluate their inventory management efficiency and make informed decisions regarding stock levels, purchasing, and order fulfillment. IDOH is calculated by dividing the average inventory value by the cost of goods sold (COGS) and multiplying the result by the number of days in the period being analyzed.

Examples of inventory days on hand

Example 1: Let’s consider a retail store that specializes in electronics. In a given year, the store has an average inventory value of $500,000 and incurs COGS of $1,500,000. To calculate the IDOH for this retail store, we can use the following formula:

IDOH = (Average Inventory / COGS) x Number of Days

Assuming a year has 365 days, the IDOH would be:

IDOH = ($500,000 / $1,500,000) x 365 = 121.67 days

This means, on average, the retail store holds approximately 121.67 days’ worth of inventory before selling it.

Example 2: Manufacturing Company Now let’s consider a manufacturing company that produces furniture. During a specific period, the company has an average inventory value of $1,200,000 and incurs COGS of $3,000,000. Using the same formula, we can calculate the IDOH for this manufacturing company:

IDOH = ($1,200,000 / $3,000,000) x 365 = 146 days

This indicates that, on average, the manufacturing company holds inventory for approximately 146 days before it is sold.

Example 3: E-commerce Business Lastly, let’s examine an e-commerce business that sells clothing and accessories online. In a given quarter, the business has an average inventory value of $800,000 and incurs COGS of $2,400,000. Applying the IDOH formula, we find:

IDOH = ($800,000 / $2,400,000) x 91 = 30.33 days

This indicates that, on average, the e-commerce business holds inventory for approximately 30.33 days before selling it.

Significance of Inventory Days on Hand: Understanding and monitoring IDOH can provide several benefits to businesses:

  1. Effective Inventory Planning: IDOH helps businesses assess their inventory turnover rate and optimize stock levels to avoid overstocking or stockouts.
  2. Working Capital Management: By analyzing IDOH, businesses can optimize their cash flow and allocate resources more effectively, reducing unnecessary holding costs.
  3. Order Fulfillment and Customer Satisfaction: A well-managed IDOH ensures the availability of products when customers need them, leading to improved order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.


Inventory Days on Hand (IDOH) is a valuable metric for businesses to measure their inventory management efficiency. By calculating IDOH and analyzing the results, companies can optimize stock levels, improve working capital management, and enhance customer satisfaction. With a clear understanding of IDOH, your business can make informed decisions to maintain a competitive edge in today’s dynamic market.

About WarehouseQuote

WarehouseQuote is a managed warehousing solution helping middle market and enterprise businesses scale their warehouse operations with precision. Through our 3PL warehousing and fulfillment network of 250+ facilities, integrated technology platform, and in-house supply chain expertise, we enable businesses to design efficient fulfillment networks connected by a single technology platform. Hundreds of B2B and B2C businesses like Chatime, Joyride, Benitago Group, Big Ass Fans, and Mighty Good Solutions use WarehouseQuote to scale, streamline, and optimize their warehouse operations.

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