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Work in Process Inventory

Work in Process Inventory | 6 Powerful Benefits of Managing WIP Inventory Levels

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    In the relentless pursuit of efficiency and profitability, businesses of all sizes focus on optimizing their inventory management practices. Among the crucial facets of this intricate process lies a lesser-known yet equally significant component: Work-in-Progress (WIP) inventory management.

    Whether you operate in manufacturing, construction, or any industry with a production line, effectively managing your WIP inventory can make or break your operational success. Regularly tracking, analyzing, and managing WIP inventory enhances production efficiency, reduces lead times, minimizes idle resources, and optimizes cash flow.

    This guide will discuss the definition, significance, and benefits of WIP inventory, as well as how to optimize WIP inventory management; so your organization can unlock the true potential of its production processes. Let’s dig in!

    What is Work in Process (WIP) Inventory?

    Work-in-process inventory, also known as in-process inventory or unfinished goods, refers to goods currently undergoing production but have yet to reach the final stage of finished goods. These items are in the midst of the production cycle.

    Work in process (WIP) encompasses materials, components, and subassemblies being transformed into finished goods. It includes partially completed products that are being transformed through different stages of assembly and processing. Work in process inventory can be found in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and even service industries where a sequential production or delivery process exists.

    Work in process inventory occupies a critical position between raw materials and finished goods. It represents the value of resources invested (materials, labor, and overhead costs) in production. Managing WIP inventory provides organizations insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of the manufacturing process and the overall health of a company’s operations.

    To streamline work in process inventory management, companies integrate Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). With features like demand forecasting and automated reorder points, CMMS solutions optimize inventory levels, minimize stockouts, and enhance overall production processes.


    Integrate The NonStop Suite into your organization and experience a streamlined, automated, and efficiency-boosted WIP inventory management system. Providing real-time visibility into inventory levels, tracking materials and components, and automating data capture, The NonStop Suite systems enhance accuracy, reduce manual errors, and improve efficiency.

    What is Work in Process Inventory Example?

    To gain a comprehensive understanding of work in process inventory, it is beneficial to explore an example.

    Consider a manufacturing company that produces automobiles. In this scenario, work-in-process inventory would include the frames, engines, and various components assembled to create the final product.

    As each unit progresses through the production line, it transitions from raw materials to WIP inventory until it reaches the final stage: becoming a finished automobile.

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    Why is Accounting Work in Process Inventory Important?

    Tracking and managing WIP inventory enhances production efficiency by facilitating a streamlined workflow and reducing bottlenecks. By closely monitoring and controlling WIP inventory levels, companies can optimize their production processes and ensure a smooth progression from one stage to the next. This, in turn, leads to improved lead times and timely delivery of finished goods to customers.

    Efficient management of work in process inventory also contributes to enhanced cash flow management. By minimizing the amount of capital tied up in WIP inventory, companies can allocate resources more effectively and reduce the risk of excess inventory. This enables better cash flow management, allowing businesses to allocate funds to other critical areas such as research and development or marketing initiatives.

    Furthermore, proper work in process inventory management aids in minimizing waste and scrap. By closely monitoring production cycles and tracking WIP inventory, companies can identify inefficiencies and areas of waste within the production process. This empowers them to take corrective actions and implement strategies to reduce waste, resulting in cost savings and improved profitability.

    How Does Managing Work in Process Inventory Effectively Benefit Asset-intensive Organizations?

    Streamlined WIP inventory management means smoother production cycles, increased productivity, and better utilization of assets, ultimately leading to higher profitability and competitive advantage.

    Here are 6 ways in which effective work-in-process (WIP) inventory management can benefit your organization:

    1.     Reduced Lead Times

    Effective management of work in process inventory through accounting practices contributes to reduced lead times. Facility managers have to closely monitor the flow of materials and track WIP inventory levels to identify potential bottlenecks and act ahead of time to address them.

    Taking this proactive approach paves the way for a more efficient production cycle. It ensures that goods move swiftly from one stage to another and minimizes delays in delivery to customers.

    2.     Minimized Waste and Scrap

    Efficient management of Work in Progress (WIP) inventory necessitates scrutiny of the utilization of raw materials and components throughout the production process.

    Through diligent inventory analysis, enterprises can discern waste domains, enabling them to implement appropriate measures to curb such inefficiencies. With this meticulous inventory analysis, businesses can identify waste areas and take corrective actions to reduce them. This endeavor not only yields substantial cost savings but also enhances overall profitability while fostering a more sustainable approach to manufacturing.

    3.     Improved Production Efficiency

    Continual accounting for work-in-process inventory plays a pivotal role in enhancing production efficiency. By accurately tracking and valuing the materials, labor, and overhead costs associated with WIP inventory, organizations understand the amount and status of WIP inventory.

    Consequently, they can identify inefficiencies, optimize resource allocation, and plan production schedules more efficiently. This allows for streamlined production operations, reduced lead times, and increased output.

    4.     Minimized Working Capital Requirements

    Asset-intensive organizations can successfully curtail their working capital requirements with efficient work-in-progress (WIP) inventory management.

    Avoiding excessive WIP levels allows your organization to mitigate inventory holding costs. Consequently, capital that would otherwise be tied up in inventory can be liberated, allowing the organization to allocate it toward fulfilling other operational needs.

    This meticulous approach to WIP inventory management empowers businesses to optimize their financial resources, fostering enhanced liquidity and flexibility in their overall operations.

    5.     Enhanced Cash Flow Management

    WIP inventory management enables your organization to maintain healthy cash flow management. By accurately valuing the resources invested in the production process, businesses can identify the portion of working capital tied up in WIP inventory.

    This information allows the facility managers to make informed decisions about resource allocation. Hence, they can easily optimize cash flow and allocate funds to other critical business areas.

    6.     Reducing Inventory Holding Costs

    Excess WIP inventory incurs various costs, including storage, handling, and obsolescence expenses.

    By carefully managing WIP levels, organizations can minimize these costs. They can avoid the need for additional storage space, reduce handling expenses, and minimize the risk of inventory becoming obsolete.

    As a result, less capital is tied up in non-productive assets, allowing it to be utilized in alternative facets of the business. Ultimately amplifying operational efficacy and fostering sustainable growth.

    How To Calculate Work in Process Inventory?

    Calculating Work in Process (WIP) inventory is crucial for businesses to track the value of partially completed goods at any point in the production process. Accurate tracking of WIP inventory helps businesses monitor production efficiency, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions regarding inventory levels and production schedules.

    Work in Process Inventory Formula

    To calculate work-in-process (WIP) inventory, businesses employ a specific formula listed below:

    WIP Inventory = Beginning WIP Inventory + Manufacturing Costs – Cost of Goods Manufactured

    To compute your WIP inventory, begin by summing up the total costs incurred during the production cycle. This may include direct materials, direct labor, and overhead expenses.

    Now calculate the Cost of Manufactured Goods (COGM):

    COGM = Manufacturing Costs + Beginning WIP Inventory – Ending WIP Inventory

    Once you have obtained COGM, subtract it from the total costs to obtain the value of unfinished products. This figure represents the WIP inventory in the balance sheet.

    Factors To Consider When Calculating WIP Inventory in Production Process

    Here are 7 critical factors businesses need to consider while calculating work-in-progress (WIP) inventory and better understand their WIP inventory’s financial impact:

    1.  Material Costs

    Material costs include the value of raw materials, components, and subassemblies used in the production process. These costs should be accurately tracked and accounted for to determine the value of WIP inventory.

    2.   Labor Costs

    Labor costs encompass the wages, salaries, and benefits associated with the workforce involved in the production process. These expenses contribute to the value of WIP inventory and should be considered in the calculation.

    3.   Overhead Costs

    Overhead costs represent indirect expenses incurred during the production process, such as rent, utilities, depreciation, and administrative costs. Allocating a portion of these costs to WIP inventory is crucial for accurate valuation.

    4.   Production Cycle Time

    The time taken to complete the production cycle is another factor to consider when calculating WIP inventory. Longer production cycle times can result in higher WIP inventory values, while shorter cycles can reduce WIP inventory levels.

    5.   Time

    Assess the time it takes to complete the remaining production process. If the production process is lengthy, it may impact the value of the WIP inventory due to factors such as changes in material prices or market demand.

    6.   Percentage of Completion

    Determine the percentage of completion for each partially completed unit. This can be based on labor hours, material usage, or physical inspection. Multiply the percentage of completion by the total manufacturing cost to estimate the value of the WIP inventory.

    7.   Scrap and Waste

    Take into consideration any scrap or waste generated during the production process. Calculate the production costs associated with the scrapped or wasted materials and adjust the WIP inventory accordingly.

    How To Manage Work in Process Inventory With Different Tracking Systems?

    Effective tracking of work-in-process (WIP) inventory requires implementing reliable tracking systems. These methodologies enable your business to maintain operational efficiency and optimize production processes.

    Here are three different methods for tracking WIP inventory efficiently in your organization:

    1.     Manual Tracking

    Manual tracking involves physically recording and updating WIP inventory information using spreadsheets, paper forms, or other manual systems. While this method can be labor-intensive and prone to human error, it can be cost-effective for small-scale operations or businesses in the early stages.

    2.     Barcoding and RFID Systems

    Barcoding and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) systems provide automated tracking capabilities for work in progress inventory. Barcodes or RFID tags are affixed to each item, allowing quick and accurate data capture. This streamlines inventory management processes, reduces errors, and enhances overall efficiency.


    The NonStop Suite into your strategy to bid farewell to manual tracking and embrace automation for efficient work-in-process inventory management. This automated EAM solution features smart NFC tagging for swift asset scanning and real-time access to crucial information on a unified cloud-based mobile platform.

    3.     Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software

    Enterprise resource planning software like The NonStop Suite integrates various aspects of business operations, including inventory management and WIP tracking.

    ERP software facilitates seamless integration with other business functions, improving overall operational efficiency. These systems provide comprehensive visibility and control over WIP inventory, allowing businesses to track production stages, monitor costs, and analyze performance metrics.

    Conclusion: Optimize WIP Inventory Management With The NonStop Suite!

    Effectively managing work-in-process (WIP) inventory is a crucial aspect of any supply chain management. Proper management of WIP inventory leads to improved production efficiency, reduced lead times, enhanced cash flow management, and minimized waste and scrap.

    To streamline this facet of inventory management, The NonStop Group presents The NonStop Suite. The NonStop Suite is a comprehensive asset care and management solution that enables your organization to keep the WIP inventory management simplified, accurate and streamlined.

    The NonStop Suite features smart digital tools such as Dynamic eForms, Smart NFC tags, and On-The-Go Asset Management capabilities. These tools seamlessly integrate with one another, empowering your organization to optimize asset management and facilitate advanced workflow automation. By harnessing real-time monitoring, diagnostics, analytics, and reporting functionalities, your organization gains easy access to valuable insights with just a few clicks.

    Consult The NonStop Group and book a FREE personalized product tour today.

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