Lesson 14-- Assemblies

Assemblies are very similar to Cost Items. You'll also use them for items that you sell, track in inventory or use in projects, but instead of buying assemblies, you build them from one or more cost item components.

HINT: Assemblies are extremely useful for construction companies, manufacturers, service businesses, and any other type of business that combines labor and materials into an end product or salable service.

When To Use Assemblies

Assemblies are often used to create 'unit costs'. A unit cost is an item that is measured in feet, square feet, pounds, or some other unit of measure, and that has a consistent price per unit. The work can be a construction item, a service, or a manufactured item. Unit costs are often used when creating estimates or when billing for services.

Use assemblies for any of the following:

  • Construction work based on a unit cost.
  • Services that you use or provide, that can be calculated as a unit cost.
  • Inventory items you manufacture from labor and raw materials.

You can also use assemblies for any of the following:

  • Inventory items that you resell that require setup time or other labor.
  • Items that you buy in one unit, and sell in another. For example, an assembly can adjust for the number of items in a case.
  • Package deals that you offer, that combine several items and have a price that is different from the sum of the components.

Creating a New Assembly

To create a new assembly, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Assemblies from the Costs menu.
  2. Click the New button.
  3. Enter a name for the assembly.
  4. Enter the unit size.
  5. Enter the category system that will include this item, and the category (and optional subcategory) where it will be listed.
  6. Enter any comments you have about this item.
  7. Enter the category system used by the components.
  8. Enter price calculation information, the same as you would for a cost item.
  9. Enter components into the breakdown table.
  10. Click the Contract Setup button to enter contract details.
  11. Click the Sales Setup button to enter estimating details.

Assembly Components

Each Assembly includes one or more cost items. You 'build' an assembly with a list of the labor and material components that go into it. To add cost components, follow these steps:

  1. Click in the first row of the breakdown table.
  2. Enter the type of cost that is being included. You can include any of the five expense types (equipment, labor, materials, subcontractors or other costs). You can also include assemblies as components in a larger assembly. NOTE: Goldenseal will make sure that you don't make a 'circular reference', with an assembly being used as a component of itself.
  3. Click in the first row, and enter information about the first cost item that is part of the assembly. If you know the item's category or subcategory, enter that first. Otherwise, enter the cost item directly. HINT: If you enter a category or subcategory, you will have fewer cost items to look through.
  4. Enter the quantity of the item that is included in one unit of the assembly. You can use decimals.
  5. For material items, enter a waste factor-- perhaps 2% to 10% to allow for trim losses, breakage, thefts, and other waste.
  6. The size, unit cost and line item cost are calculated automatically.
  7. To enter another component, press the Return key. HINT: Nearly all assemblies should include some labor.
  8. Repeat steps 2 to 7 until you have included all components.

Special Components

Besides the usual five expense types, assemblies can include Tools and Reminders. They will not affect the price of the assembly.

HINT: To use tools and reminders, choose Projects from the Reports menu, and choose Reminder List or Tool Report from the submenu.

To adjust some components by a dimension measurement, put a check mark in the LM or MM column, and enter a dimension into the Labor Modifier or Material Modifier fields.

To include things like startup and cleanup time, enter a labor component and put a check mark in the Fixed column. Goldenseal will always include the same fixed amount of that component, no matter what quantity an estimate includes. Small quantities will cost more per unit.

Updating Assembly Prices

The Gross Price of an assembly is calculated automatically from its list of components.

The selected Markup System then calculates the prices used for Sales transactions, project estimates, and when the assembly is included as a component in another assembly.

Goldenseal keeps an internal list of dependent items. Whenever you change the cost of any cost item, it also updates the cost of all assemblies that include that item. You don't need to do anything special to keep your unit costs up-to-date.

NOTE: If a cost item is included in a large number of assemblies, there may be a delay whenever its price changes, as all the prices are updated. Otherwise, the updating happens so quickly that you probably won't even notice it.

Contract Details

Click the Contract Setup button to change the text that appears in contracts specifications for this item.

Type the basic contract text into the Specs Text field. You can use substitution text (CTRNAME, ITEMCOST, QTY, UNITSIZE) which will be replaced with the contractor name, item cost, estimate quantity and unit size in the actual contract. You can also enter nouns such as foot##feet which Goldenseal will convert to singular or plural form in the contract.

Goldenseal also lets you specify which subcontracts this item will appear in. You can also use the other contract fields to specify how quantity and cost are described, and whether this item appears in lists.

Sales and Inventory Setup

To enter estimating and inventory details, click the Sales Setup button.

You can enter the following setup info:

  • Suggested Quantity— If you enter a dimension or a calculated dimension, Goldenseal will fill in that quantity automatically when you enter project dimensions (see Lesson 4).
  • Labor and Material Multipliers— An adjustment for labor and material components in an assembly. These only apply to items with a checkmark in the LM or MM columns. EXAMPLE: In the Sample Company File, some of the painting unit costs multiply by the number of paint coats.
  • Usual Crew Size— Enter the number of people who work on this item.
  • Allow Variable Pricing— Turn on the checkbox to allow prices to be changed in an estimate or sale transaction.

Using Assemblies

To enter assemblies into transactions use an Item breakdown" (choose Items from the Breakdown popup menu at the left side of the window).

You'll most often use assemblies in the following transactions:

  • Sales-- when you sell items to customers that you have assembled from components, or purchased in case lots.
  • Estimates-- when you use unit costs to estimate a project.
  • Inventory Transfers-- when you assemble or manufacture items that will be stored in inventory.

If are a manufacturer or construction company, Assemblies will be a very important part of the Goldenseal inventory management software.

Finishing Up

In this lesson, you have learned how to make assemblies.

In a way, assemblies are a way to store all the 'smarts' of your business. They keep track of just about anything you create or do repeatedly.

You might want to take a break now and work on an actual assembly. For example, you could create a 'Reading a Lesson' assembly that includes an hour or two of skilled labor, a certain amount of caffeine or chocolate, and the raw materials for one chic hat. That way you can enter the job cost of reading this very sentence!

WARNING: Do not data enter the cost of data entering job costs, or you will find yourself in an infinite loop (the deadly Zeno's Accountant's paradox).

Speaking of infinite loops, can you create an assembly that has a circular reference?

You could cheat, and round the corners of a dictionary. Or you might try adjusting an electric drill with a screwdriver, then use it to drill some holes in a piece of lumber, and then use that to neatly store your screwdrivers next to the workbench.

How would you enter job costs for that?