Post –by Gautam Shah


MODULES of MEASUREMENTSa Practical Work-lot and Optimum Quantum of work

For a supplier, manufacturer or a contractor, job-orders need to have an optimum quantum of work. Any work-lot below the optimum quantity affects the Economics of Scale and Profit. Larger work-lots must be accounted in Multiple Units of the Optimum Quantity, so that inputs, overheads, profits etc. can be judged in terms of batches or lots. Such practical lots or batch-based modules provide a practicable unit upon which quotation, valuation or comparisons can be made. Such practical work-lot-based systems have their own efficiency of naturalness.


In traditional commercial activities, Jobs or Tasks are conceived, assigned, monitored, delivered and valued in practical lots of work. Such lot-Based identifications have prevailed for their realism.

In many countries of the world traditions exist for deriving Practical work-lots of work on the basis of their political environment, skills available and economic status. Some of these have been traditional determinants for Modules of Measurements. The relevance of such a system is now being negated by THREE major factors: 1 Greater cooperation and working of amongst nations, 2 Greater adherence to digital ISO measurement modulation and 3 Use of computing devices.

Traditionally Modules of Measurements were based on:

  1. Traditions and customs prevailing in the field.
  2. Trends set by major work agencies in the field such as the Public Works Departments, Railways, Ports, etc.
  3. Government labour laws: Truck load limits, head load carriage conditions.
  4. Productivity: output per labourer, tools, equipment, machines, plant on per hour, day, shifts, batches, week, month basis.
  5. Compensation structure: wages or salary schedules hours, shifts, day, week, fortnight, month, season, annual.
  6. Anthropometric aspects of work conditions (e.g. depth of foundation in multiples of 1.50 mts).
  7. Accuracy of measures, measuring tools, availability of measurement devices on site-location, Competence of staff taking the measurements.
  8. Affinity of measuring means and methods: grouping of items with similar constitution, nature, function, style, pattern, design, execution methodology, installation system, energy input.
  9. Permissible tolerances, margins of allowances.
  10. Permissible accounting rounding off.
  11. Number of repeatable units (measurements in pure numbers).
  12. Monetary value (relative) and cost (absolute) of the item.
  13. Sizes and measures of raw materials as delivered (lots, batches packing).
  14. Contract documents / specifications etc. that define whether the item is to be considered as a whole, or in separate lots.
  15. The difference between smallest, and the largest size within an item lot.
  16. Wastage, breakage, residuals, left over etc. to be taken care of

Factors that format the Modules of Measurements, however, still do have some relevance.

  • Modules of Measurement, as far as possible match the Natural or custom lots of the item.
  • Items should be so placed (in both, time and space) that it is possible to take an account of them in their obvious lots or modules.
  • Items are supplied / created in lots, and even after value addition processing, may not lose the basic personality of their lot-based accountability, so a consistent module of measurement is preferable.
  • Modules of Measurements must override the minor Quantitative and Qualitative variations within a lot.
  • It is preferable to have one Module of Measurements for all items dealt by a trade / agency.

Nowadays, Nations and International agencies like ISO, etc. promote Performance Specifications. These completely replace the need for the Quantity definitions with the Quality requirements, making the modules of measurements irrelevant. Items are never ordered or delivered in terms numbers or measured quantities. The transaction (delivery) occurs as a holistic entity and over its fulfilling performance requirements. Though as an in-house activity (within the design office, site, factory, plant, etc.) it has some residual relevance.