Cups, meters, pints, liters, pounds, kilograms…these are all ways to measure units. Without clear ways to quantify units, it would be next to impossible to reliably get most things done and have the results be repeatable.

What is a unit?

A unit can be defined as any item that is produced or processed and liable for measurement against predetermined criteria or standards.

3 benefits of units

There are some major benefits to working with units:

1. Sharing of information

Utilizing a standard system of units allows for the sharing of information amongst all people.

2. Analysis

Using a standard system of units creates the ability to adequately analyze data.

3. International business

Having standardized units makes international business much easier.

Why are units important to understand?

Units are very important to have an understanding of for the following reasons:

Avoids confusion

A nonstandard unit of measure leaves a lot of room for interpretation and can have you getting more or less than what was intended.


Understanding set units of measurement and implementing them helps to assure repeatability in results and that they are fairly reliable.

No need for conversion

If there is a standard unit measurement and it is agreed upon, there is no need for conversion on either end.

An industry example of units

A manufacturer of televisions frequently sells a load of them to wholesalers by the pallet. This would be a nonstandard unit of measurement to the general public, but it is agreed upon as a suitable measurement by their wholesale customers. The manufacturer is in a country with a currency that is lesser-known internationally, so the manufacturer quotes each pallet unit in the common euro.

3 best practices when thinking about units

Here are some practices to keep in mind when it comes to units:

1. Know the difference between standard and unit

The unit is the measurement that you are working with, such as kilograms for mass, meters for length, etc. A standard is a way of measuring those units that is internationally agreed upon.

2. Non-standardized units

There are rare instances where using non-standardized units of measure may make measuring simpler. An example would be when you want to visually or verbally display a quantity.

3. Use common units

When conducting business, always stick to units that are well-recognized and easy to convert, if need be.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about units

What are some non-standard units of measurement?

Fathoms, cubit, and headspan are some examples of non-standard units of measurement.

What are three systems of measuring units that are in common usage?

There is USCS in the United States, Imperial in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, and the Metric/SI system. They all share the advantages of consistency, familiarity, and interconnectedness.

When is it always important to include units?

Some clear examples of when it is always important to include units would be when you are reporting results, doing calculations, and recording data.

Units in business

Having a way to communicate a produced or processed item is necessary if you are doing business. Whatever way you use to communicate units in business, be sure it is something common that is understandable to everyone that will be interacting with them.

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