If you deal with any inventory, then you probably should look into using the NetSuite Multiple Units of Measure feature. This feature helps keep your inventory counts accurate when you buy, stock, and sell inventory in different units. Let’s take a look at how to set up this feature and how you would use it in NetSuite. 

Setting Up Multiple Units of Measure

First, you would need to make sure this feature has been enabled in your account. You’ll find NetSuite’s Multiple Units of Measure feature in the ERP General section of the Company tab in Enable Features. 

After enabling the feature, you can create a new Units Type list by navigating to Lists > Accounting > Units of Measure > New. On this page, you can name the type and make a list of all the individual units that fall within that type. The first unit you record in the list should be the base unit for this unit type. For example, perhaps you receive shipments of a certain kind of inventory in boxes on a pallet.  You might name this unit type just “Each” and make “Each” the base unit. Subsequent units would include “Box” and “Pallet.”

In the list of units, the first unit will be the base unit by default. Base units have a conversion rate of one, while all the other units’ conversion rates will be calculated off the base unit. To return to our previous example, suppose that in our “Each” unit type, a box would have 8 items and a pallet would have 24 boxes. You would assign the unit “Box” a conversion rate of 8 and “Pallet” a conversion rate of 192. That way, whether you’re receiving shipments of pallets, stocking the boxes, or selling the individual units, NetSuite always knows exactly how much of the item you are dealing with.  

In addition to the name and conversion rate for the units, you will also be able to set a plural name for each unit as well as an abbreviation. The abbreviation should be easily recognizable, since this is how units are identified on transactions. After setting up the list of units for this unit type, their abbreviations, and their conversion rates, save the record. Then, you’ll be able to see all your existing unit types by navigating to Lists > Accounting > Units of Measure. 

Using Multiple Units of Measure 

Once you’ve set up the unit types that you need, you can start selecting specific units on other records. Let’s take a quick look at three records where you might select a unit of measure: an inventory item record, a purchase order, and an invoice. 

Inventory Item Record

First, let’s look at an inventory item record. On inventory item records, you can select the units type that is used to measure that item. You can also select the primary stock unit, primary purchase unit, and primary sale unit. 

In the above sample, notice that we have selected the “Each” units type that we just created. We are going to purchase this item by the pallet, stock it by the box, and sell it by each individual item. 

Purchase Order

Next, let’s see what this would look like on a purchase order. If you open up a new purchase order and start adding items, you’ll notice that there’s a “UM” column for each item. This is where you’ll see the abbreviation for the unit of measure that is the default purchase unit for the item you have selected. 

If we’re adding the item we just created to this purchase order, then notice that the default unit is pallet. The quantity listed, therefore, is not the quantity of individual items we will be receiving, but rather the number of pallets. Likewise, the listed cost is not the cost of the items but rather the cost of the entire pallet. 


An invoice would appear much the same as a purchase order. When adding an item to an invoice, you’ll notice that the Unit of Measure column displays that item’s selected default sales unit. Of course, you could always change the unit of measure. For example, you may be selling a larger order to one of your customers, and to simplify things you may decide to use boxes as your sales unit. In general, however, you wouldn’t need to change the unit of measure. 


Using the NetSuite Multiple Units of Measure feature is an easy way to simplify how you manage various purchasing, stocking, and selling units for your items. If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list below to receive new SuiteRep blogs right in your inbox each week!