Inventory valuation : Difficulties in manufacturing companies; what & why?

University essay from Växjö universitet/Ekonomihögskolan, EHV; Växjö universitet/Ekonomihögskolan, EHV; Växjö universitet/Ekonomihögskolan, EHV


Master Thesis, School of Management and Economics, Växjö University, Advanced Concepts in Logistics Management, FED370, Spring 2006

Authors: Lina Friberg, Sofia Nilsson and Sofia Wärnbring

Tutor: Petra Andersson

Examiner: Lars-Olof Rask

Title: Inventory Valuation - difficulties; what & why?

Background: It is important to value inventories accurately in order to meet shareholder needs and demands for financial information. For manufacturing companies, inventories usually represent approximately 20 to 60 percent of their assets; hence it affects companies’ profits. It is essential in which way assets are valued, however, it will be a waste of time if the record accuracy level is poor.

Research Questions: Why do companies experience problems when valuing inventories? In order to answer this research question, the following question also has to be answered: What problems can be identified?

Purpose: The purpose of this master thesis is to describe and explain difficulties when valuing inventories.

Limitations: We are not considering work-in-process and finished goods inventories, only raw material inventory. Neither are we looking at the companies’ internal calculation system, as we believe this will not be relevant for raw material.

Method: We chose a positivistic view since we were studying our problem from a process perspective. A case study approach was suitable for us as our thesis was written in the form of a project, and we combined our empirical and theoretical data through the deductive approach.

Conclusions: The problem of inventory valuation does not exist in the pricing aspect. Most problems are connected to quantity. Especially the daily routines were found to be insufficient, thus creating inaccuracies between the physical quantity in inventory and the quantity displayed in the system. Company B, the larger company, was found not to have as many problems as the smaller Company A has.

Continued research: We believe an overall picture regarding valuation is needed, including the work-in-process and the finished goods inventories. Moreover, deficiencies are often not just found in the processes, but also the humans involved, and how they are motivated to secure accuracy. In addition, an implementation of cycle counting could be interesting to investigate.

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