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Cycle Inventory Formula: The Ultimate Guide in 2024

3 Minutes

In this article, we will explore what the cycle inventory formula is and its importance. We also cover how to apply the inventory cycle formula using an example. Read on to learn more. 

cycle inventory formula

What is the Cycle Inventory Formula?

The cycle inventory formula is used to determine the average inventory held over a specified period typically the time it takes to replenish stock. It is crucial in managing and optimizing inventory levels, reducing holding costs, and improving cash flow.

The cycle inventory can be calculated using the formula:

Cycle Inventory = [ (Average Daily Demand × Lead Time) / 2 ]


  • Average Daily Demand: This is the total demand for an item in a specific period, divided by the number of days in that period. It represents how many units of an item are sold or used each day, on average.

  • Lead Time: This is the amount of time it takes for an order to be delivered after it has been placed.
what is the cycle inventory formula

How to Apply the Inventory Cycle Formula?

Here are our steps to apply the inventory cycle formula:

Step 1. Gather Data:

Collect necessary data, including average daily demand and lead time.

  • Average Daily Demand: Obtain the total demand for the product over a specific period and divide it by the number of days in that period to get the average daily demand. 

  • Lead Time: Determine the time taken from placing an order to receiving it, which is crucial in estimating how long it will take to replenish inventory.

Step 2. Apply the Formula:

The formula for cycle inventory is given as:

Cycle Inventory= [ (Average Daily Demand × Lead Time) / 2 ]

Step 3. Perform the Calculation:

For instance,

  • Average Daily Demand: 20 units
  • Lead Time: 10 days

Plug these values into the formula:

Cycle Inventory = [(20 units/day x 10 days) / 2 ]  

Cycle Inventory = 100 units

Step 4. Analysis and Interpretation:

With 100 units of cycle inventory, analyze this figure in the context of your business operations. Evaluate whether this inventory level aligns with the storage capacity, financial resources, and service level goals. Consider factors like demand variability and decide if adjustments in ordering patterns or safety stock levels are required to optimize inventory. 

what is the inventory cycle formula


Green Valley Apparel is a clothing retailer that wants to calculate its cycle inventory to optimize stock levels. Here’s how they calculated their cycle inventory:

Step 1. Gather Data:

The gathered data are as follows: 

  • Average Daily Demand: Green Valley Apparel looks at its sales data and realizes that it sells an average of 50 shirts per day.

  • Lead Time: The company also identifies that it takes approximately 14 days for the new stock to arrive after placing an order with their supplier.

Step 2. Apply the Formula:

The cycle inventory formula is:

Cycle Inventory = [(Average Daily Demand x Lead Time) / 2 ]

Step 3. Perform the Calculation:

With the gathered data,

  • Average Daily Demand: 50 shirts
  • Lead Time: 14 days

Plugging these values into the formula gives:

Cycle Inventory = [(50 shirts / day x 14 days) / 2 ]  

Cycle Inventory = 350 shirts

Step 4. Analysis and Interpretation:

With 350 shirts as the cycle inventory, Green Valley Apparel assesses this number in relation to its store’s storage capacity, sales velocity, and customer demand patterns. The company evaluates if this inventory level is sufficient to handle demand spikes and considers the financial implications of holding this inventory.

inventory cycle formula

Importance of the Cycle Inventory Formula

Calculating cycle inventory is important for a number of reasons. Some of the most common include:

1. Optimizing Inventory Levels: 

The cycle inventory formula helps businesses maintain optimal inventory levels to ensure that there is enough stock to meet customer demand without overstocking. This balance is essential for minimizing costs associated with holding inventory, such as storage, insurance, and obsolescence.

2. Enhancing Customer Satisfaction: 

By effectively managing inventory levels, companies can avoid stockouts and ensure that products are always available when customers need them. This reliability enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty which leads to repeat business and positive word of mouth.

3. Cash Flow Management: 

Knowing the average cycle inventory aids in cash flow management. It allows businesses to allocate resources efficiently and invest in inventory that turns over quickly which free up cash for other operational needs or investment opportunities.

4. Supply Chain Efficiency: 

The formula aids in making informed decisions about ordering and replenishment schedules which contributes to a more responsive and agile supply chain. Companies can adjust their orders and inventory policies based on the calculated cycle inventory to reduce lead times and enhance the overall efficiency of the supply chain.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of what the cycle inventory formula is and how to calculate the inventory cycle formula. 

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our article on the on hand inventory formula or our article on the service level inventory. 

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