Units of Measure
A "unit of measure" is a term that gives a meaning to some quantity. For example some common units are "ea", "pr", "lbs.", "gal.", etc.
When a good unit of measure does its job you hardly notice them. In contrast if they're confusing or unclear they will definitely cause you problems.
If your business system supports it I recommend you create standardized, accepted units of measure in a table that inventory, sales, purchasing, etc. modules pull from. Most systems allow you to lock that table so no one can modify this except for authorized personnel.
Tips on Creating Good Units of Measure
Spending time to create meaningful and accurate units of measure will serve your business well. It will make your software and reports more meaningful.
Naming your items in your business inventory system or point of sale (POS) system is more challenging than most realize. To complicate matters most business systems limit product names to 25 to 50 characters.
Below are some general guidelines to work with:
Let's use the following very short lists as examples:
Finding an item in either list is not difficult, but consider what happens if you're looking for a group of items? Usually you're going to need to view your items by their type and not by size, color, etc. Think about this: anything can be red, black, blue, fine, medium, etc. But a "pen" is a "pen". When you're asked to find a group of items you're probably not going to hear "Quick, get me all the fine stuff!". List B is must better to get groups of items because you can quickly locate all your pens. The list is in order by noun (i.e. pen) then by adjectives in descending order of importance (i.e. retractable, fine, red).
In the example lists we used pens only. Imagine if you had your product names formatted like those in List A and you're carrying 40,000+ office supply items. Reporting and searching would become an unmanageable nightmare.
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