Output journal confusion

A few days ago, I’ve got a question from a customer, about an alleged bug in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. According to online help, when you are posting output in manufacturing module, the last line of the type Output in the journal will actually adjust the inventory level. However, what is not explained is how the figure in this field is calculated, and why exactly that way.

When you decide to post an output of a production order, you specify the released production order for which you want to post the output, then call the function Explode Routing. After this function completes its chore, users unfamiliar with how manufacturing works can get quite confused, because two of the fields the procedure fills in contain unexpected values. These two fields are Output Quantity, and Scrap Quantity.

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Scrap doesn’t just happen

In reality, if you need 1,000 of whatever product, the manufacturing process is rarely going to yield exactly 1,000 of it, even if you feed into the first operation the exact quantities of raw materials system calculated as gross requirements. The process may produce 980 or 1,020, but is hardly ever going to be exactly 1,000. If you didn’t take scrap into account, or you took incorrect scrap into account, your actual output from the process might be much more unpredictable, with huge variances. Variances are always a problem, only they don’t have to be that big a problem in all scenarios.

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Cut the (s)crap

[I had to edit this post on April 01, 2008. And no, it’s not April Fool’s Prank] 

Have you ever wondered how manufacturing scrap works? Or what it really is? It’s an interesting topic, and yet a very confusing one. It has caused so many headaches to the project team I worked on recently, because nobody really understood it. So, what is manufacturing scrap?

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Elementary costing 3: FIFO, LIFO, UFO…

Due to fluctuations in market prices, purchase cost of goods may vary from one purchase to another. Also, you rarely just purchase goods and immediately sell them in the same quantity. What you usually do is that you purchase the goods, then let them sit in the inventory for a while, then you may sell five different purchases all at once, or you may sell goods from one purchase to five different customers.

All of these situations have different effects on your inventory value, because something else must be taken into account: cost flow. Regardless of the inventory valuation method you chose, whenever you take an item from the inventory, how do you know its cost? Without knowing its cost, you can’t know the cost of goods sold, so you better know your cost. Don’t tell me you stick the purchase price to each item, so that you can know exactly how much it cost whenever you are about to sell it, because accountants won’t subscribe to the idea.

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Elementary costing 2: Know your costs

When you buy a sheep, how much is it worth to you, what is its value? For starters, its value is at least what you paid for it, but that’s not quite it. Say you paid a hundred dollars for it. If you want to sell it now, how do you determine your selling price? A hundred-twenty? A hundred-fifty? Obviously, you need to increase the price by some percentage over whatever you paid initially, but regardless of what you increase your price, if you don’t know your true costs, you might be at loss.

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