I recently purchased "embellished moldings" from a new supplier, and was shorted.
After much discussion, I found out their tallying policy. From their distributor's handbook, I quote:
"This industry-standard policy will allow customers to correctly receive the stock that is pulled to meet their orders. All mouldings are tallied to the nearest foot for 0-6" rounds down and 7-11" rounds up (example given 11'-6" =11' 11'-7" =12')."
Is this practice insane? Theoretically, they could ship 100 pieces, all 9'-7" (I, and most people, would call that 900'), but by their standard that is 1000'. Since their moldings are quite pricey (some $12-$15 ft.), this could add up to quite a bit of stock that you pay for but don't get.
Just exactly what industry standard are they referring to? And is this practice legal?
From contributor D:
When we used to run moldings all day every day, we counted to the foot - 11'-11" would be 11'. Since we mostly ripped and molded poplar, and it was 1-3" long, by the foot, this was pretty easy. We did defect out and used counters to track tally. Every order was tallied, and the tally shipped with the order.
As for the "industry standard", we used the Western Wood Molding Association books and guidelines to judge what we were doing in light of others and their expectations. This was not spelled out by the WWMA, but a close measure was always over what was tallied and invoiced, so the customer could not complain.
As a side note, whether it is 9'6" or 9'7", if it is hardwood, it came from 10' material. This is where quoting pieces rather than footage comes in handy.
One of my lumber suppliers does this same thing and it drives me crazy. If I need 120bf, ship me that. I don't care what you charge me. I need the actual footage, not some aberrant calculation that leaves me inches short. This is like GM shipping a car with three tires. Good grief. And please don't give me "industry standard." This is just dumb.
On the lumber front, are you referring to a gross tally? I can't tell you how many times a customer will tell me that I am 4% high in cost when they are comparing my net tally to a gross tally, which would be 7-8% less material, i.e. you pay for 100 bf but only get 92. Do you ever wonder if the steel industry has these headaches?
Also, I found that the National Hardwood Lumber Association has a standard for tallying (184.108.40.206.standard lengths). It says lengths are 4'-16'. Fractional lengths are rounded down to the next nearest foot (example given 6'-8" = 6'). Note: no mention of 3' pieces. Granted, this standard is for s4s, but it seems that it should apply to moldings also, as they are both finish machined retail products.
And I still question the legality of this practice. It seems the U.S. dept of weights and measures would have an opinion regarding charging for a product that is not delivered.
With regard to other industries… when you buy 10 gallons of gasoline, do they charge you for the 55 gallons of crude it took to produce your 10? No. They charge you for what you are getting, not what they bought to produce it.