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7 Examples of Work In Process

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Work in process is a partially completed item that has begun production but isn't finished. It is considered inventory and is a current asset. The following are examples of work in process.

Job Production

A bespoke tailor accounts for the cost of unfinished suits in as work in process including labor and material costs. A typical suit takes 4 days to produce and the tailor often has more than 15 suits listed as work in process on their balance sheet.

Batch Production

A bakery processes 42 batches of bread each morning. Technically, each batch is a work in process. However, this isn't relevant to inventory management or accounting because the batches are done in 11 minutes. As such, the bakery lists materials and finished goods in their inventory without a line item for work in process.

Mass Production

A camera manufacturer experiences a supply chain disruption that prevents them from completing lens assemblies. They decide to manufacturer and stock uncompleted cameras in hopes of catching up to demand when the components arrive. They report an unusually large work in process line item on their balance sheet that investors notice.

Mass Customization

A snowboard manufacturer offers custom art from a variety of partners on its boards. They manufacture base units with no paint in large production runs of 2400 units. These are completed with art at a rate of 200 units a week. As soon as art is completed the product is immediately shipped to customers. As such, the firm's work in process inventory is typically larger than their inventory of finished goods.

Work in Progress

The term work in process implies predictable, short running production. Work in progress is used to describe longer running production. For example, production of a single unit of an advanced technology for a space mission might take many months and be less predictable than a production line.

Construction in Progress

The accounting term construction in progress is typically used in the construction industry for a project that hasn't been finished.

Capital Work in Progress

Capital work in progress is another term for long-running, capital intensive projects that haven't been finished yet. This can be used for construction and other projects such as interior decorating.
Overview: Work In Process
A partially completed good that has begun production but isn't finished.
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