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7 Examples of Service Inventory

Service inventory is the capacity of a service over a period of time. This is a sales, revenue management and management accounting concept that isn't necessarily relevant to financial accounting. The following are illustrative examples of a service inventory.


A seat on a flight is an inventory item from an airline revenue management perspective. Seats need to be sold or they go to waste. As such, airlines carefully shape pricing according to demand and competition to make sure they fill most of their seats. This may lead to sharp discounting when the airline realizes seats on a particular flight aren't likely to sell. This is analogous to an inventory of perishable goods such as bread in a bakery that expires at a particular point in time.


A night in a hotel room can be viewed as service inventory. For example, a hotel with 100 rooms has an inventory of 3000 stays in a month of 30 days.


A table in a restaurant is inventory. For example, a restaurant with 30 tables that accepts bookings 2 hours apart that is open for 8 hours has a nightly inventory of 120 reservations.

Cloud Computing

A cloud infrastructure firm rents out virtual servers by the second. An operations team monitors the current pool of available instances as inventory. In many cases, this inventory can be increased in the short term by booting machines. In the long term, this inventory can be increased by building data centers and installing new hardware.


A television show has 32 commercials per episode and 24 episodes per season for an annual advertising inventory of 768 slots. In order to make an immediate profit, the revenue from these slots must exceed the show's production expenses.


The concept of service inventory can be used to plan hospital resources such as hospital beds or appointments for an MRI.

Club Goods

A tennis club has 6 courts with bookings an hour apart. The club is open 10 hours a day with a daily inventory of 60 bookings.
Overview: Service Inventory
The capacity of a service over a period of time.
Related Concepts
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