German inventory to sales ratios 1971–2005—An empirical analysis of business practice
The purpose of this study is to test empirically for the first time the general hypothesis that inventory to sales ratios have decreased over time in the German economy. Although inventory reduction has been a prevalent topic in the production and operations management literature, there is a lack of empirically confirmed answers to questions. They are as follows: Have inventories in German firms decreased overall during the past decades? What sectors of German industry are leading (lagging behind) inventory reduction? Has inventory reduction developed differently for raw materials, work-in-process, or finished goods? In which periods was marginal inventory reduction greatest? To the best of our knowledge, this empirical study is the first to broadly investigate inventory development from the 1970s until the present for a major European economy, Germany, and will provide the first answers to the research questions stated above using aggregate industry-level data provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank. We show that inventory levels decreased overall in many sectors of German industry. This reduction was mainly marked for raw materials and finished goods, particularly for the second-half of the time frame investigated.
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