Work in Process vs Work in Progress: What’s the Difference?

Often indicating very similar types of work, this may include work in progress, construction in progress, or construction work in progress. Work in progress assets are much larger endeavors and may require capitalization if the work in progress investment is not an inventory item. For example, if a company decides to build an entirely new headquarter office, that project is considered work in progress that will be capitalized when it is completed. Where work in process is often not depreciated over time, work in progress is more like to incur depreciation expense over its useful life.

Many companies use both terms interchangeably to describe incomplete assets. However, there are subtle differences between work in process and work in progress. Some people consider not storing the WIP and keeping it on the assembly line instead. While this might solve your storage problem, it creates a backlog in the production line and may even create customer dissatisfaction if you cannot supply orders in time. To learn more about how Logiwa can help you manage work in process inventory and help you with your work in process formula, reach out to our team or get a demo today. If there are delays in the production process, having some WIP can help to keep things on track.

The quantity of waste created by system inefficiencies is simply mind-boggling. It is nearly equal to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the whole nation of Australia. It is crucial to account for raw materials and completed items, and each firm must account for the products used in the production process. Any business needs to adopt appropriate inventory management practices and ensure you have accurate WIP inventory values. At the inception stage, most companies prefer manual counting or spreadsheet-based inventory keeping due to the size of production and cost constraints. However, as a company grows, this method becomes both tedious and error-prone.

That’s because a business’s sustained WIP inventory plays a big part in the valuation of their business. WIP isn’t immediately sales-ready and, while it counts as a current asset, isn’t very liquid. If you can’t calculate your WIP, you won’t deserve that warehouse manager salary. There are things it doesn’t consider, like waste, spoilage, downtime, scrap, and MRO inventory. It would require combing through the production process and itemizing every little inevitability. Another reason for work in process inventory is safety stock, buffer stock, or anticipation inventory.

COGS reflects the cost of goods sold during the same period, including production costs and additional expenses to make the goods sellable. Keeping track of WIP inventory levels lets you better plan your production schedules, allocate resources efficiently, and manage lead times. That also means that using the right manufacturing partner is critical for any business looking to improve its work in process inventory. Without consistent checks, it can be hard to determine how much of a product is being manufactured or shipped.

Work in process vs. work in progress inventory

We write regular articles that help drivers and businesses become better at all things delivery. Reducing excess WIP inventory can help you avoid unnecessary storage and handling expenses, minimize the risk of obsolescence, and boost cash flow by reducing tied-up capital. Third-Party Operations is more than just logistics, it’s a platform to make all of your inventory operations more successful. Get started today – let us show you how we make managing WIP inventory simple! We offer effective, affordable, and efficient solutions for all your logistics needs. Join tens of thousands of ecommerce brands to get more articles like this and our latest resources delivered to your inbox.

Overall, the role of WIP inventory in the supply chain is to help manufacturers optimize production processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. The company has used $2,000 of raw materials to manufacture the widgets, and the total labor cost is $3,000. Additionally, the company has incurred manufacturing overhead costs of $1,000 during production.

WIP inventory is mainly concerned with businesses in the manufacturing, construction, consulting, etc. industries. In general, it is suggested that you compute your inventory periodically, such as every two weeks, at month’s end, or every three months. It should be noted that work in process inventory is another name for work in progress inventory, both of which are shortened as WIP inventory. Is there a difference in meaning between these phrases, or are they synonymous? Effectively managing your inventory is one of the critical steps that one must take to run a successful business. Be sure to partner with software service providers such as Emergeapp to help you achieve your inventory management goals.

  • Furthermore, you will clearly understand how and when cash flows to and from your company.
  • This ending inventory figure is listed as a current asset on a balance sheet.
  • In that case, the production process could run more efficiently, and they may not deliver products on time.
  • For instance, a bakery producing 50 packets of bread or a company that makes mobile phones assembling various components for an order will be considered to have work in process.

The cost of goods manufactured (COGM) is figured by assessing the total cost of making a product (so, the number of items produced X the cost per item). Understanding WIP inventory can be challenging, especially since it consists of many moving parts during the production process. Managing inventory is a significant part of growing a successful online store.

Another title for work in process inventory is work in progress inventory (both abbreviated WIP inventory). The WIP figure reflects only the value of those products in some intermediate production stages. This excludes the value of raw materials not yet incorporated into an item for sale. The WIP figure also excludes the value of finished products being held as inventory in anticipation of future sales. When inventory has undergone full production and is in a stage that’s ready for sale, it becomes a finished good in inventory accounting.


The WIP inventory would include all the bicycle components that are assembled but not yet completed. This could be anything from partially assembled frames to wheels waiting for tires. Monitoring WIP inventory levels can help identify bottlenecks, manage production lead times, and improve overall productivity. Work-in-process (WIP) inventory refers to the unfinished goods still in the production process. It’s an essential part of the supply chain, as it represents products currently transforming from raw materials into finished goods. Thus, it is important for investors to discern how a company is measuring its WIP and other inventory accounts.

Why Does Work In Process Inventory Exist?

The main difference is that WIP is considered to be a short-term asset while finished goods are considered to be long-term assets. “Work In Process” typically is describing raw materials that are being converted to final goods during a relatively short time. “Work In Progress” tends to be used in the construction industry and refers to the current progress of a project based on a percentage of completion.

For example, if the painting department is behind schedule, the frames that are already painted can be moved to the assembly line so that they’re not sitting idle. Below, we’ll get into more details about what work in process exactly is, the benefits, and how you, as a manufacturer, can manage work in process inventory efficiently. Partnering with a 3PL such as Product Fulfillment Solutions can allow you to manage and view beginning inventory numbers, access demand forecasting tools, and gather data on inventory turnover.

Why Is Accurate Work-in-process Accounting Important?

In reality, most companies will have some WIP inventory at the end of the year, but the goal is to keep it as low as possible. If you need assistance with warehousing and fulfillment, partner with a 3PL that has the expertise, industry knowledge, and technology to help you make better business decisions. This means that Crown Industries has $10000 work in process inventory with them. For instance, let us assume a company called Crown Industries who is into manufacturing furniture.

WIP (Work In Process Inventory) is the total cost of unfinished goods currently in the production process. The beginning WIP inventory cost refers to the assets section of the previous accounting period sales to working capital and capital turnover ratio on the balance sheet. To calculate beginning WIP inventory, determine the ending WIP’s inventory from the prior period and bring it over as the beginning figure of the new financial period.

Work In Process Inventory FAQ

Work-in-process inventory is materials that have been partially completed through the production process. These items are typically located in the production area, though they could also be held to one side in a buffer storage area. The cost of work-in-process typically includes all of the raw material cost related to the final product, since raw materials are usually added at the beginning of the conversion process. Also, a portion of the direct labor cost and factory overhead will also be assigned to work-in-process; more of these costs will be added as part of the remaining manufacturing process. Optimizing WIP inventory is critical for manufacturers who want to reduce costs, improve productivity, and increase profitability. Its efficient management can help reduce production costs, improve productivity, maximize profitability, and meet customer demand.

For example, it can reduce the time required to produce a product or complete an order. By better understanding what’s happening at each stage of your production process, you can make more informed decisions about how best to allocate resources and maximize productivity. Work in process (WIP) inventory is a type of inventory that tracks the progress of goods as they move through the production and supply chain process.

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