An exploration of ‘sticky’ inventory management in the manufacturing industry
Traditional models examining relationships between firm resources and revenues assume that the many expenses and asset holdings change in proportion to changes in demand. However, research has found that for many costs and assets assumed to be variable, the magnitude of a change in a cost or asset in proportion to a change in revenue is smaller during periods when revenue decreases compared to the change in the cost or asset when revenue increases. Costs and assets which behave in this manner have been denoted as ‘sticky’ costs or assets. This study examines if inventory in the manufacturing industry is managed in a ‘sticky’ manner and what implications inventory stickiness has on firm performance. Utilising firm panel data over a 25-year time window we find that inventory stickiness does exist amongst manufacturers and that it has negative implications for firm performance.