Compiled ByDoug Bartholomew Inventory management often is a complex challenge, but a new software capability offered by Made2Manage Systems Inc. could help manufacturers do a better job of keeping track of component materials and odd-sized pieces. Called Multi-Dimensional Inventory, the new feature enables manufacturers to measure inventory in a variety of dimensions, including bill of material component requirements as well as in alternative units of measure. It is designed for make-to-order, make-to-stock, and mixed-mode manufacturers that use component materials best measured in more than one dimension. "Manufacturers who want to make use of odd-sized pieces instead of scrapping, or want their inventory to reflect a more precise value, will find the functionality they need with this new feature," says Abby O'Keeffe, product manager at Made2Manage, based in Indianapolis. "Manufacturers who need the ability to capture the multi-dimensional requirements on their BOMs (bill of materials) also will find this functionality helpful in daily operations." The new software will support up to five units of measure dimensions or descriptions such as width, length, height, grade and density. It also supports multiple alternate units of measure and automatic conversion between the units. "We are providing manufacturers with the ability to issue full pieces to the shop floor and track extra material as on 'loan' for complete visibility," O'Keeffe says.