How do you deal with sheet metal/plate raw material inventory

If you manufacture a part and nest that part on a plate, and you can fit 50 parts on that plate. Lets say 2 of those parts are used in an assembly. You cut 2 parts out of a full sheet. Now it’s a percentage of what it was.

So, if you’re not going to process the whole sheet and inventory those parts it yields, do you carry the sheet in epicor as a fraction of a full sheet? Part “P.1.48.96.A36” is a 48 x 96 plate, and there is 68% of one in stock… Do people do that? Or do you just process the whole sheet every time and stick the parts on the shelf so you don’t have to deal with partials raw material sheets/plates?

Depends how you want to manage the inventory. What I have done in the past is to create a UOM class for Sheet Metal that has a SH - Sheet UOM as a Count type and the SI -Square Inch as the UOM on the BOM for the job and the IUM on the part is SH. This will let you stock partial quantities of the sheet and lets you specify the SI you will consume on the job.

Depends how you want to run the shop. If it will reduce set up times for the machine to run, and you know you will use the parts in a short time then it might not hurt to run the full sheet. You could even set them up as Kanban jobs to simplify the process in Epicor.


We water jet cut a lot of parts. The remaining portion of the sheet is kept in stock as the total remaining square inches. We also record a note at the same time in Lot Entry. If the sheet remainder is an odd shape, the operator will sketch an outline and note the rough dimensions. This is transferred into the lot entry memo.

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Ahhh awesome you’re playing the music of my people lol . We waterjet a ton of plate and sheet, CNC plasma cut, and are adding a laser. We do CNC machining as well but bar stock is easier to deal with as far as drops.

So when you start to measure your sheet in SI, do you run into issues of fitting shapes into the allotted material? I guess when you get into weird shapes it can become a problem.

So can you explain the lot entry memo? I understand the operator will get some rough dims… so that is then stored where?

Our materials are lot tracked so we have a lot number for nearly every bit of material. After the parts are cut and the remainder is measured, someone will open Lot Entry and pull up the lot for the material that needs to be adjusted. Once the lot is open in Lot Entry, they just add a memo to the lot documenting and needed details about the remaining square inches.

Now when that lot is needed again to cut some more parts, engineering will review the material available in square inches. If it is enough to cover the job, they will look at any memos for that lot and determine if the remainder is large enough to get more pars from. If not, they will probably choose a different lot number for a part that hasn’t been cut down so much yet.

I am not certain this is the BEST way to do it. But it works for our needs for now.

We do this too, with sheets of MDF. For our purposes, storing everything in an area UOM (SQFT in our case) makes mostly everything nice and clean.

The only real gotcha we run into is sometimes an operation requires the sheet of MDF to be a certain dimension, which isn’t communicated by a SQFT quantity. This can result in you thinking you have the qty required for a job but the quantity you have isn’t useable for that application. We use a similar (although not ideal) solution of storing the dimension info in the lot data.

I would look at Advanced UOM. This allows you to store different configurations/variations of the “same” part under the same part number based on the attributes you choose. We plan on using it for bar stock. The primary inventory UOM for us will be LF (or the length UOM of your choosing) and then the attribute we track will be length. That way, at any given moment, we will be able to tell how many total LF of a certain shape and size we have but also the number of individual pieces and their respective lengths that make up that part. This will eliminate the need for creating an individual part number for each one-off drop/remnant it will create. We’re also not implemented yet, so we have tested MRP with Advanced UOM extensively yet, but the hope is that it will help create better PO suggestions. In the case of sheet, you would most likely track area (or weight) as well as a qualitative attribute to help differentiate shapes. That way, if you return two remnants/drops to inventory that happen to be the same area, but one looks like Utah and the other like Colorado, the system will store these as separate configurations.


I want to see something that looks like @utaylor

It’s a weird shape