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One of our clients in the construction industry is a custom manufacturer. When they purchase commodity materials such as metals, they work with these materials in different units of measure at different steps in their manufacturing process.

For example, they buy aluminum in large pieces, paying by the pound—perhaps 10,000 pounds at a time. Then they extrude it into long pieces, and cut the pieces into segments in linear feet as specified for each job.

Because they buy in quantity X, build in quantity Y, and sell in quantity Z, they need a clear way to keep track of what they’ve got in inventory at each stage for each job, for easy conversions and calculations.

It gets complex as time passes in the manufacturing center and different amounts are needed and used at each step. For example, if a job will use an assortment of cut pieces totaling 4,550 linear feet, how much raw aluminum do they need to have on hand to extrude that?

This manufacturer had been using a paper-based card catalog system from the 1930s to manually track aluminum for purchasing in pounds, extrusion into pieces, and cutting for manufacture in lengths of linear feet. For example, a worker was calculating, “I have 2,000 feet of extrusions, which is really only 2 pieces of aluminum before extrusion, totaling 200 pounds, for which we paid $3.40 per pound plus freight.”

As you can imagine, key processes like generating accurate costing for production were a significant challenge.

We modified their AccountMate ERP system to calculate the multiple units of measure for them automatically. Now they always have up-to-date, accurate numbers, and they can view what stock they have or what they need in each unit of measure. The current numbers are at the fingertips of anyone on the team who needs them in the plant, in the sales department, in purchasing, or anywhere else.

As another example, if you’re a wholesaler and you buy items by the pallet, and stock those by the case, and sell them by the carton and sometimes by the each—you need to be able to see all those units of measure and quantities per unit. And you need the flexibility to break open a pallet or sell a partial a case and still have accurate numbers afterward. You also might need the ability to trace lot numbers for each unit.

Many ERP systems tell you the number of pieces or cases but can’t tell you the other units of measure.

In contrast, AccountMate is extremely agile, with the ability to handle unusual, complex unit of measure conversions and variations, as well as more common ones. And we can easily make modifications to AccountMate to accommodate any custom requirement you might have, to automate the calculations, the display, and the reporting, of whatever units of measure you desire.

Do you have unique units of measure that are a challenge to track accurately? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss the way your team wants things to work in your business.