Unit of measure conversions solve a huge problem for businesses that buy and sell their products in different units. For example, if your supplier only sells widgets in cases of 100, and you need 200 widgets, your purchase order needs to show a quantity of 2, not 200.  But when you sell them, you want to sell them individually. So you need a quantity of 1 on your sales invoice to represent 1 widget, not one case of widgets. Fortunately, the unit of measure conversion feature (also referred to as multi-packs some places within Sage 50) does exactly that. This feature is available in Sage 50 Premium and Quantum, but not Pro.

Here is how it works, for each inventory item, you can tell Sage 50 what you want to use for your stocking unit of measure (UOM), purchasing UOM, and sales UOM.  The stocking UOM is important because that is the UOM that will be used for inventory reporting, and the purchasing and sales UOMs will both be expressed as multiples of the stocking UOM (thus the alternate term multi-pack). So the stocking UOM is the smallest unit in which you would handle the product. For example, if you only sell pencils by the box, then Box can be your stocking unit of measure. But if you will open those boxes and sell pencils individually, your stocking UOM needs to be Each.

The first step is to tell Sage 50 how many stocking UOMs are in each purchasing or selling UOM. You do this by going to Maintain > Units/Measures. Like all other IDs in Sage 50, the U/M ID has to be unique. A very simple example would be to enter BOX here. But since you probably get different size boxes for different products, you would probably use something like BOX-10 or BX-010 for a box of 10. Next enter a description. If you choose to show UOM on your invoices or other forms, the ID will show, not the description. Then enter the number of stocking units that make up one of this UOM. If you entered Box-10 for the ID, then you would enter 10 at Number of Stocking Units. Note that you can only enter whole numbers for the number of stocking units. You can set up as many different U/M IDs as you need.

Next, go to Maintain > Inventory Items. Choose an item ID or create a new item, go to the Stocking U/M field and enter a unit of measure.  This should be the smallest unit in which you handle this item. It is usually not one of the IDs you set up in Maintain Units/Measures.  Then click the right arrow button next to Stocking U/M. Check the box that says “Purchase and sell in different quantities.” Now you can choose which U/M IDs you want to associate with this item. If you want Sage 50 to automatically use this UOM for purchases or sales, check the Use As Default box.  If you don’t check that box, Sage 50 will use the stocking UOM on sales and purchases, but the others will be available to choose from a list.

While this is a very useful feature, I do need to point out one serious limitation that it has. In the Maintain Units/Measures screen, when you enter the number of stocking units that make up a particular UOM, you can’t enter decimals, only whole numbers. That works fine for discrete items like pencils, but in real life not everything fits that model. For example, if your supplier sells an item by the meter but you sell it by the foot, there’s no stocking unit that allows you to define both a meter a foot as a whole number of stocking units. If you would like to see this changed, you can join in on this conversation at Sage City. The more people Sage hears from, the more likely they are to take action.