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Units of Measure: Something You Probably Never Think About

If You Have the Chance to Create Item Numbers From Scratch, Don't Screw It Up.

“Units of measure” are terms that give meaning to quantities. Common units are ea., pc., ft., lb., gal., etc. When they do their job, you hardly notice them. But if they are missing, confusing, or unclear, they will cause problems, ranging from minor headaches and annoyances to massively expensive blunders. To keep units of measure consistent and to make sure that the people in your organization use the same variations of units, Clearly Inventory allows you to set up a table of “approved” units of measure. You can lock this table so no one can change it. So let’s take a second and think about our units of measure before we create our list.

Things to Consider When Creating Your Units of Measure Labels

Tips on Creating Units of Measure
  • Unless it will confuse the meaning of the unit of measure, consider keeping all of your abbreviations lowercase. For example, “lb.” instead of “LB” or “Lb” and “ea.” instead of EA.
  • Try to incorporate both the singular and plural forms of the unit of measure into one term. For example, instead of having “crate” and “crates” as units, consider one unit of measure called “crate(s)” that can apply to any quantity.
  • Try to avoid using multiple units with the same meaning. For example, instead of using both “pc.” and “ea.” (for piece and each), decide on one only.
  • The “default unit of measure” should be the units in which you usually purchase or stock an item.

Setting up a consistent style for your units of measure is a good habit. It will make your software and reports look clean and clear, and make many of your lists easier to read. No matter what units of measure you use, or how you apply them, you must remain consistent with their spelling and appearance. You don’t want to use ea., ea, Ea, EA, ea(s), and EA. when you want to say “each”. Pick one abbreviation and apply it consistently.