Work in Process vs. Work in Progress

Work in process is the term used to describe partially completed goods, which are typically turned from raw materials to finished products within a short period. The figures for both work in progress and work in process are listed on a company’s balance sheet.

Processes are an integral part of any organization, whether you’re an international company or a small business. They help to ensure tasks are completed efficiently and in compliance with company standards. A well-defined and properly managed process can be the difference between a successful project and total chaos. The term “work in process” refers to any task or project that’s currently in progress. As a business owner or project manager, it’s your job to make sure all work in process is managed and completed to the highest standard. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of work in process and examine best practices for successful process management. We’ll also look at the key challenges associated with managing work in process, as well as offer tips and advice on how to overcome them. So, whether you’re just getting started with process management or you’re looking for ways to improve your current system, this blog post will provide

Work in Process (WIP) Inventory

Differences between work in process and work in progress

The cost of incomplete products during the manufacturing process is most frequently referred to as a “work in progress.” The following are some distinctions between work in progress and work that is in progress:


Process, as a term, implies the existence of a system. It most frequently refers to a manufacturing procedure where products are created within a standardized production system. The phrase works best in a manufacturing environment when used in this context.

Progress, as a term, implies a long period of time. This time frame represents how long it takes for a product to be finished. Long time periods often equate to higher production costs. Long-term consulting projects in a manufacturing environment are where the phrase is most frequently used.


Most frequently, the term “process” refers to a set of coordinated actions that advance one goal. A recipe for food, for instance, is a process because you must follow a series of steps to make it. Progress refers to anything that changes measurably over time. A computer loading software is an example of a progressive change because it goes from a blank screen to a fully functional application.


The construction industry more commonly uses work in progress methodology. When contracts demand a percentage of completion for building, businesses in this sector calculate their billing time. These businesses charge their clients at various construction-related progress milestones. It ensures that the business will profit fully by paying a percentage at each stage.

The manufacturing and food industries, for example, are almost the only ones that deal with goods that are only partially finished.


Some businesses reduce or completely eliminate their work-in-progress inventory before the end of each period for accounting reasons. Companies can streamline their accounting by eliminating this variable and treating all inventory assets as either finished goods or raw materials.

This approach is more beneficial for ongoing projects than for ongoing work. Most of the time, work in progress orders take the same amount of time per period. Rushing the process potentially creates weak, damaged or incomplete products.

What is a work in process?

Within an inventory, goods that are only partially finished are referred to as “work in process” or “goods in process.” Any products that transform quickly from raw materials to marketable goods are frequently referred to by the term. Consider any manufactured goods in this situation, for instance, as work in progress.

Examples of work in process

The following list explains examples of work in process:


Katy Brewer owns her own bakery called KatyBakes. Katy and her team bake 35 batches of bread every morning before opening to meet demand. Katy typically sells 30 batches of bread each day and stores the remainder as leftovers for the following day. In this case, the remaining bread is considered to be work in progress.

Mason Motorcycles

Mason Motorcycles, a motorcycle manufacturer, creates and markets vintage bikes for individual collectors. Each bike is constructed from the basic frame in about four weeks. Mason Motorcycles counts its current inventory at the end of every month, which is typically around 20 bikes. At this time, there are also around five incomplete bikes. They account for the incomplete bikes as work in process.

Branson Metalworks

Custom doorknobs, wrought iron railing, and other iron and steel fixtures are made for homes by Branson Metalworks. The company accounts for its assets each quarter. Branson Metalworks discovers that they frequently have about 200 orders completed and about 35 orders still in the manufacturing process at the end of each quarter. Any ongoing work is counted as work in process when calculating its assets.

Devilish Decals

A graphic design company called Devilish Decals creates unique decals for skates, skateboards, snowboards, and other items. The business started ordering base models of skateboards, the item for which they sell the most decals, in order to increase sales potential. Each month, they produce around 1,200 units. In about 150 of those units, the production and decal printing processes are complete. Only units with finished decals make it to customers. Due to this, each month Devilish Decals’ inventory of unfinished goods is lower than its inventory of finished goods.

Examples of work in progress

Here are a few scenarios that necessitate work in progress:

Carrot Computers

The government hired Carrot Computers, one of the most cutting-edge computer manufacturers on the market, to develop cutting-edge processors for use on a new public spacecraft design. The project would take about two years, Carrot Computers discovered after working with its point of contact. Both parties agreed that due to the extreme length of time, Carrot Computers will be paid a portion of its salary at each of the six progress stages over the course of the two-year period.

Carrot Computers counts the product as a work in progress when reporting its earnings, earning money at various stages of development.

Padmesh Processors

A manufacturer of computer hardware with a focus on processors for gaming computers is called Padmesh Processors. Although they produce large batches of product every period, it takes a single processor about three months to finish. The three-month process is divided into three steps by Padmesh Processors’ manufacturing process. Processors go through a check-in process at the conclusion of each step to make sure they are all fit to continue production.

Padmesh Processors accounts for its inventory as work in progress due to the length of this manufacturing process, calculating where each product is in the three-step chain.

Charisma Motors

Manufacturer of commercial vehicles Charisma Motors is known for producing sedans, cross-overs, and SUVs. In the manufacturing facility, vehicles move along an assembly line and pass through various work stations. Engineers and machines install and secure new parts at each stage. Each phase raises the price of the vehicle’s overall production. Charisma Motors counts the car-making process as a work in progress for accounting purposes. By examining each vehicle’s current stage, the company gauges its progress.


What does work in process means?

Work in progress is defined as any stage that a product goes through to become a finished good from a raw material.

What is the example of work in process?

For instance, a bakery producing 50 batches of bread is considered to be working; likewise, a tailor making 5 suits that have been cut but not sewn will be considered to be working on all 5 of those suits. While the process of turning a work in progress into a finished item is lengthy.

What do you mean by work in progress?

WIP stands for “work in progress,” which describes products that are only partially produced. These items might be in the middle of being transformed in the production process right now or they might be lined up in front of a production workstation.

Where is work in process?

Materials that have been partially completed during the production process are known as work-in-process inventory. Although they might be kept to one side in a buffer storage area, these items are typically found in the production area.

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