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Inventory

For the 1989 Polish lm, see Inventory (lm). For eco- tion system, functions to balance the need for product
logical inventory, see Forest inventory.
availability against the need for minimizing stock holdInventory or stock refers to the goods and materials ing and handling costs.

1 Denition
Inventory management is primarily about specifying the
size and placement of stocked goods. Inventory management is required at dierent locations within a facility or
within multiple locations of a supply network to protect
the regular and planned course of production against the
random disturbance of running out of materials or goods.
The scope of inventory management also concerns the
ne lines between replenishment lead time, carrying costs
of inventory, asset management, inventory forecasting,
Electronics inventory.
inventory valuation, inventory visibility, future inventory
that a business holds for the ultimate purpose of resale price forecasting, physical inventory, available physical
space for inventory, quality management, replenishment,
(or repair).[nb 1]
returns and defective goods and demand forecasting and
Inventory management is a science primarily about specalso by replenishment Or can be dened as the left out
ifying the shape and placement of stocked goods. It is
stock of any item used in an organization..
required at dierent locations within a facility or within
many locations of a supply network to precede the regular
and planned course of production and stock of materials.
The scope of inventory management concerns the ne 2 Business inventory
lines between replenishment lead time, carrying costs of
inventory, asset management, inventory forecasting, in- 2.1 Reasons for keeping stock
ventory valuation, inventory visibility, future inventory
price forecasting, physical inventory, available physical There are ve basic reasons for keeping an inventory
space for inventory, quality management, replenishment,
returns and defective goods, and demand forecasting.
1. Time - The time lags present in the supply chain,
Balancing these competing requirements leads to optimal
from supplier to user at every stage, requires that
inventory levels, which is an ongoing process as the busiyou maintain certain amounts of inventory to use in
ness needs shift and react to the wider environment.
this lead time. However, in practice, inventory is
Inventory management involves a retailer seeking to acto be maintained for consumption during 'variations
quire and maintain a proper merchandise assortment
in lead time'. Lead time itself can be addressed by
while ordering, shipping, handling, and related costs are
ordering that many days in advance.
kept in check. It also involves systems and processes
that identify inventory requirements, set targets, provide
2. Seasonal Demand: demands varies periodically, but
replenishment techniques, report actual and projected
producers capacity is xed. This can lead to stock
inventory status and handle all functions related to the
accumulation, consider for example how goods contracking and management of material. This would insumed only in holidays can lead to accumulation of
clude the monitoring of material moved into and out of
large stocks on the anticipation of future consumpstockroom locations and the reconciling of the invention.
tory balances. It also may include ABC analysis, lot
tracking, cycle counting support, etc. Management of
3. Uncertainty - Inventories are maintained as buers
the inventories, with the primary objective of determinto meet uncertainties in demand, supply and moveing/controlling stock levels within the physical distribuments of goods.
1

BUSINESS INVENTORY

4. Economies of scale - Ideal condition of one unit


at a time at a place where a user needs it, when
he needs it principle tends to incur lots of costs in
terms of logistics. So bulk buying, movement and
storing brings in economies of scale, thus inventory.

4. De-coupling (Buer stock held between the machines in a single process which serves as a buer
for the next one allowing smooth ow of work instead of waiting the previous or next machine in the
same process)

5. Appreciation in Value - In some situations, some


stock gains the required value when it is kept for
some time to allow it reach the desired standard for
consumption, or for production. For example; beer
in the brewing industry

5. Anticipation stock (Building up extra stock for periods of increased demand - e.g. ice cream for summer) - maintained by Steven T.
6. Pipeline stock (Goods still in transit or in the process
of distribution - have left the factory but not arrived
at the customer yet)

All these stock reasons can apply to any owner or product


Also, some authors mentioned several reasons not to keep Average Daily/Weekly usage quantity X Lead time in
days + Safety stock
high inventory levels:[1]
Obsolescence: due to progress of technology, the 2.4 Inventory examples
bought inventory for future use may become obsolete.
While accountants often discuss inventory in terms of
goods for sale, organizations - manufacturers, service Capital Investment
providers and not-for-prots - also have inventories (xtures, furniture, supplies, etc.) that they do not intend
Space Usage
to sell. Manufacturers, distributors', and wholesalers in Complicated Inventory Control Systems:higher num- ventory tends to cluster in warehouses. Retailers' invenber of inventory items complicates the control and tory may exist in a warehouse or in a shop or store accessible to customers. Inventories not intended for sale
monitoring items.
to customers or to clients may be held in any premises an
organization uses. Stock ties up cash and, if uncontrolled,
2.2 Special terms used in dealing with in- it will be impossible to know the actual level of stocks and
therefore impossible to control them.
ventory MANAGEMENT
While the reasons for holding stock were covered earlier,
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) SKUs are clear, inter- most manufacturing organizations usually divide their
nal identication numbers assigned to each of your goods for sale inventory into:
products and their variants. SKUs can be any combination of letters and numbers that you choose, just
Raw materials - materials and components schedas long as the system is consistent and used for all the
uled for use in making a product.
products in your inventory.[2]
Work in process, WIP - materials and components
Stockout means running out of the inventory of an
that have begun their transformation to nished
SKU.[3]
goods.
"New old stock" (sometimes abbreviated NOS) is a
term used in business to refer to merchandise being
oered for sale that was manufactured long ago but
that has never been used. Such merchandise may not
be produced anymore, and the new old stock may
represent the only market source of a particular item
at the present time.

2.3

Typology

1. Buer/safety stock
2. Reorder level

Finished goods - goods ready for sale to customers.


Goods for resale - returned goods that are salable.
Stocks in transit.
Consignment stocks.
Maintenance supply.[1]
For example:
2.4.1 Manufacturing

A canned food manufacturers materials inventory in3. Cycle stock (Used in batch processes, it is the avail- cludes the ingredients to form the foods to be canned,
able inventory, excluding buer stock)
empty cans and their lids (or coils of steel or aluminum

3.2

Applications

for constructing those components), labels, and anything


else (solder, glue, etc.) that will form part of a nished
can. The rms work in process includes those materials
from the time of release to the work oor until they become complete and ready for sale to wholesale or retail
customers. This may be vats of prepared food, lled cans
not yet labeled or sub-assemblies of food components. It
may also include nished cans that are not yet packaged
into cartons or pallets. Its nished good inventory consists
of all the lled and labeled cans of food in its warehouse
that it has manufactured and wishes to sell to food distributors (wholesalers), to grocery stores (retailers), and even
perhaps to consumers through arrangements like factory
stores and outlet centers.

2.5

Costs associated with inventory

There are several costs associated with inventory:[1]


Ordering cost
Setup cost
Holding Cost
Shortage Cost

3.1

3.2 Applications
The technique of inventory proportionality is most appropriate for inventories that remain unseen by the consumer, as opposed to keep full systems where a retail
consumer would like to see full shelves of the product
they are buying so as not to think they are buying something old, unwanted or stale; and dierentiated from the
trigger point systems where product is reordered when
it hits a certain level; inventory proportionality is used effectively by just-in-time manufacturing processes and retail applications where the product is hidden from view.
One early example of inventory proportionality used in
a retail application in the United States was for motor
fuel. Motor fuel (e.g. gasoline) is generally stored in
underground storage tanks. The motorists do not know
whether they are buying gasoline o the top or bottom of
the tank, nor need they care. Additionally, these storage
tanks have a maximum capacity and cannot be overlled.
Finally, the product is expensive. Inventory proportionality is used to balance the inventories of the dierent
grades of motor fuel, each stored in dedicated tanks, in
proportion to the sales of each grade. Excess inventory is
not seen or valued by the consumer, so it is simply cash
sunk (literally) into the ground. Inventory proportionality
minimizes the amount of excess inventory carried in underground storage tanks. This application for motor fuel
was rst developed and implemented by Petrolsoft Corporation in 1990 for Chevron Products Company. Most
major oil companies use such systems today.[4]

Principle of inventory propor- 3.3 Roots


tionality
The use of inventory proportionality in the United States
Purpose

Inventory proportionality is the goal of demand-driven inventory management. The primary optimal outcome is to
have the same number of days (or hours, etc.) worth of
inventory on hand across all products so that the time of
runout of all products would be simultaneous. In such a
case, there is no excess inventory, that is, inventory that
would be left over of another product when the rst product runs out. Excess inventory is sub-optimal because the
money spent to obtain it could have been utilized better
elsewhere, i.e. to the product that just ran out.
The secondary goal of inventory proportionality is inventory minimization. By integrating accurate demand
forecasting with inventory management, rather than only
looking at past averages, a much more accurate and optimal outcome is expected.
Integrating demand forecasting into inventory management in this way also allows for the prediction of the
can t point when inventory storage is limited on a perproduct basis.

is thought to have been inspired by Japanese just-in-time


parts inventory management made famous by Toyota Motors in the 1980s.[5]

4 High-level inventory management


It seems that around 1880[6] there was a change in manufacturing practice from companies with relatively homogeneous lines of products to horizontally integrated
companies with unprecedented diversity in processes and
products. Those companies (especially in metalworking)
attempted to achieve success through economies of scope
- the gains of jointly producing two or more products in
one facility. The managers now needed information on
the eect of product-mix decisions on overall prots and
therefore needed accurate product-cost information. A
variety of attempts to achieve this were unsuccessful due
to the huge overhead of the information processing of the
time. However, the burgeoning need for nancial reporting after 1900 created unavoidable pressure for nancial

5 ACCOUNTING FOR INVENTORY

accounting of stock and the management need to cost


manage products became overshadowed. In particular,
it was the need for audited accounts that sealed the fate
of managerial cost accounting. The dominance of nancial reporting accounting over management accounting
remains to this day with few exceptions, and the nancial reporting denitions of 'cost' have distorted eective management 'cost' accounting since that time. This
is particularly true of inventory.

Specic Identication
Lower of cost or market
Weighted Average Cost
Moving-Average Cost
FIFO and LIFO.

Hence, high-level nancial inventory has these two basic Inventory Turn is a nancial accounting tool for evaluating inventory and it is not necessarily a management tool.
formulas, which relate to the accounting period:
Inventory management should be forward looking. The
1. Cost of Beginning Inventory at the start of the pe- methodology applied is based on historical cost of goods
riod + inventory purchases within the period + cost sold. The ratio may not be able to reect the usability of
of production within the period = cost of goods future production demand, as well as customer demand.
available
Business models, including Just in Time (JIT) Inventory,
2. Cost of goods available cost of ending inventory Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and Customer Managed Inventory (CMI), attempt to minimize on-hand inat the end of the period = cost of goods sold
ventory and increase inventory turns. VMI and CMI have
The benet of these formulas is that the rst absorbs all gained considerable attention due to the success of thirdoverheads of production and raw material costs into a party vendors who oer added expertise and knowledge
value of inventory for reporting. The second formula then that organizations may not possess.
creates the new start point for the next period and gives a
gure to be subtracted from the sales price to determine
some form of sales-margin gure.
5 Accounting for inventory
Manufacturing management is more interested in inventory turnover ratio or average days to sell inventory since Each country has its own rules about accounting for inventory that t with their nancial-reporting rules.
it tells them something about relative inventory levels.
Inventory turnover ratio (also known as
inventory turns) = cost of goods sold / Average
Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold / ((Beginning
Inventory + Ending Inventory) / 2)
and its inverse
Average Days to Sell Inventory = Number of
Days a Year / Inventory Turnover Ratio = 365
days a year / Inventory Turnover Ratio
This ratio estimates how many times the inventory turns
over a year. This number tells how much cash/goods are
tied up waiting for the process and is a critical measure
of process reliability and eectiveness. So a factory with
two inventory turns has six months stock on hand, which
is generally not a good gure (depending upon the industry), whereas a factory that moves from six turns to twelve
turns has probably improved eectiveness by 100%. This
improvement will have some negative results in the nancial reporting, since the 'value' now stored in the factory
as inventory is reduced.
While these accounting measures of inventory are very
useful because of their simplicity, they are also fraught
with the danger of their own assumptions. There are,
in fact, so many things that can vary hidden under this
appearance of simplicity that a variety of 'adjusting' assumptions may be used. These include:

For example, organizations in the U.S. dene inventory to suit their needs within US Generally Accepted
Accounting Practices (GAAP), the rules dened by the
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) (and others) and enforced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) and other federal and state agencies.
Other countries often have similar arrangements but with
their own accounting standards and national agencies instead.
It is intentional that nancial accounting uses standards
that allow the public to compare rms performance, cost
accounting functions internally to an organization and potentially with much greater exibility. A discussion of inventory from standard and Theory of Constraints-based
(throughput) cost accounting perspective follows some
examples and a discussion of inventory from a nancial
accounting perspective.
The internal costing/valuation of inventory can be complex. Whereas in the past most enterprises ran simple,
one-process factories, such enterprises are quite probably
in the minority in the 21st century. Where 'one process
factories exist, there is a market for the goods created,
which establishes an independent market value for the
good. Today, with multistage-process companies, there is
much inventory that would once have been nished goods
which is now held as 'work in process (WIP). This needs
to be valued in the accounts, but the valuation is a management decision since there is no market for the partially

5.3

FIFO vs. LIFO accounting

nished product. This somewhat arbitrary 'valuation' of ensure that the organization is conducting its business in
WIP combined with the allocation of overheads to it has an appropriate, ethical manner. It is critical that these
led to some unintended and undesirable results.
foundations are rmly laid. So often they are the litmus
test by which public condence in the institution is either
won or lost.

5.1

Financial accounting

An organizations inventory can appear a mixed blessing,


since it counts as an asset on the balance sheet, but it
also ties up money that could serve for other purposes
and requires additional expense for its protection. Inventory may also cause signicant tax expenses, depending
on particular countries laws regarding depreciation of inventory, as in Thor Power Tool Company v. Commissioner.

Finance should also be providing the information, analysis and advice to enable the organizations service managers to operate eectively. This goes beyond the traditional preoccupation with budgets how much have we
spent so far, how much do we have left to spend? It is
about helping the organization to better understand its
own performance. That means making the connections
and understanding the relationships between given inputs
the resources brought to bear and the outputs and outcomes that they achieve. It is also about understanding
and actively managing risks within the organization and
its activities.

Inventory appears as a current asset on an organizations


balance sheet because the organization can, in principle,
turn it into cash by selling it. Some organizations hold
larger inventories than their operations require in order
to inate their apparent asset value and their perceived 5.3 FIFO vs. LIFO accounting
protability.
In addition to the money tied up by acquiring inven- Main article: FIFO and LIFO accounting
tory, inventory also brings associated costs for warehouse
space, for utilities, and for insurance to cover sta to When a merchant buys goods from inventory, the value
handle and protect it from re and other disasters, obso- of the inventory account is reduced by the cost of goods
lescence, shrinkage (theft and errors), and others. Such sold (COGS). This is simple where the CoG has not varholding costs can mount up: between a third and a half ied across those held in stock; but where it has, then
of its acquisition value per year.
an agreed method must be derived to evaluate it. For
Businesses that stock too little inventory cannot take ad- commodity items that one cannot track individually, acvantage of large orders from customers if they cannot countants must choose a method that ts the nature of
deliver. The conicting objectives of cost control and the sale. Two popular methods that normally exist are:
customer service often pit an organizations nancial and FIFO and LIFO accounting (rst in - rst out, last in operating managers against its sales and marketing de- rst out). FIFO regards the rst unit that arrived in inpartments. Salespeople, in particular, often receive sales- ventory as the rst one sold. LIFO considers the last unit
commission payments, so unavailable goods may reduce arriving in inventory as the rst one sold. Which method
their potential personal income. This conict can be an accountant selects can have a signicant eect on net
minimised by reducing production time to being near or income and book value and, in turn, on taxation. Using
less than customers expected delivery time. This ef- LIFO accounting for inventory, a company generally refort, known as "Lean production" will signicantly re- ports lower net income and lower book value, due to the
duce working capital tied up in inventory and reduce eects of ination. This generally results in lower taxmanufacturing costs (See the Toyota Production System). ation. Due to LIFOs potential to skew inventory value,
UK GAAP and IAS have eectively banned LIFO inventory accounting.

5.2

Role of inventory accounting

By helping the organization to make better decisions, the


accountants can help the public sector to change in a very
positive way that delivers increased value for the taxpayers investment. It can also help to incentives progress
and to ensure that reforms are sustainable and eective
in the long term, by ensuring that success is appropriately
recognized in both the formal and informal reward systems of the organization.
To say that they have a key role to play is an understatement. Finance is connected to most, if not all, of the key
business processes within the organization. It should be
steering the stewardship and accountability systems that

5.4 Standard cost accounting


Main article: Standard cost accounting
Standard cost accounting uses ratios called eciencies
that compare the labour and materials actually used to
produce a good with those that the same goods would
have required under standard conditions. As long as
actual and standard conditions are similar, few problems
arise. Unfortunately, standard cost accounting methods
developed about 100 years ago, when labor comprised
the most important cost in manufactured goods. Stan-

INVENTORY CREDIT

dard methods continue to emphasize labor eciency even 7 Distressed inventory


though that resource now constitutes a (very) small part
of cost in most cases.
Also known as distressed or expired stock, distressed inStandard cost accounting can hurt managers, workers, ventory is inventory whose potential to be sold at a norand rms in several ways. For example, a policy decision mal cost has passed or will soon pass. In certain industo increase inventory can harm a manufacturing man- tries it could also mean that the stock is or will soon be
agers performance evaluation. Increasing inventory re- impossible to sell. Examples of distressed inventory inquires increased production, which means that processes clude products that have reached their expiry date, or have
must operate at higher rates. When (not if) something reached a date in advance of expiry at which the planned
goes wrong, the process takes longer and uses more than market will no longer purchase them (e.g. 3 months left to
the standard labor time. The manager appears responsi- expiry), clothing that is defective or out of fashion, music
ble for the excess, even though s/he has no control over that is no longer popular and old newspapers or magazines. It also includes computer or consumer-electronic
the production requirement or the problem.
equipment that is obsolete or discontinued and whose
In adverse economic times, rms use the same ecienmanufacturer is unable to support it. One current examcies to downsize, rightsize, or otherwise reduce their labor
ple of distressed inventory is the VHS format.[7] In 2001,
force. Workers laid o under those circumstances have
Cisco wrote o inventory worth US $2.25 billion due to
even less control over excess inventory and cost ecienduplicate orders.[8] This is one of the biggest inventory
cies than their managers.
write-os in business history.
Many nancial and cost accountants have agreed for
many years on the desirability of replacing standard cost
accounting. They have not, however, found a successor. 8 Stock Rotation

5.5

Theory of constraints cost accounting

Stock Rotation is the practice of changing the way inventory is displayed on a regular basis. This is most commonly used in hospitality and retail - particularity where
food products are sold. For example, in the case of supermarkets that a customer frequents on a regular basis, the
customer may know exactly what they want and where it
is. This results in many customers going straight to the
product they seek and do not look at other items on sale.
To discourage this practice, stores will rotate the location
of stock to encourage customers to look through the entire store. This is in hopes the customer will pick up items
they would not normally see.[9]

Eliyahu M. Goldratt developed the Theory of Constraints


in part to address the cost-accounting problems in what
he calls the cost world. He oers a substitute, called
throughput accounting, that uses throughput (money for
goods sold to customers) in place of output (goods produced that may sell or may boost inventory) and considers labor as a xed rather than as a variable cost. He
denes inventory simply as everything the organization
owns that it plans to sell, including buildings, machinery,
and many other things in addition to the categories listed
here. Throughput accounting recognizes only one class
of variable costs: the truly variable costs, like materials 9 Inventory credit
and components, which vary directly with the quantity
produced
Inventory credit refers to the use of stock, or inventory, as
Finished goods inventories remain balance-sheet assets, collateral to raise nance. Where banks may be reluctant
but labor-eciency ratios no longer evaluate managers to accept traditional collateral, for example in developing
and workers. Instead of an incentive to reduce labor cost, countries where land title may be lacking, inventory
throughput accounting focuses attention on the relation- credit is a potentially important way of overcoming ships between throughput (revenue or income) on one nancing constraints. This is not a new concept; archaeohand and controllable operating expenses and changes in logical evidence suggests that it was practiced in Ancient
Rome. Obtaining nance against stocks of a wide range
inventory on the other.
of products held in a bonded warehouse is common in
much of the world. It is, for example, used with Parmesan cheese in Italy.[10] Inventory credit on the basis of
stored agricultural produce is widely used in Latin Amer6 National accounts
ican countries and in some Asian countries.[11] A precondition for such credit is that banks must be condent that
Inventories also play an important role in national ac- the stored product will be available if they need to call
counts and the analysis of the business cycle. Some short- on the collateral; this implies the existence of a reliable
term macroeconomic uctuations are attributed to the in- network of certied warehouses.[12] Banks also face probventory cycle.
lems in valuing the inventory. The possibility of sudden

7
falls in commodity prices means that they are usually reluctant to lend more than about 60% of the value of the
inventory at the time of the loan.

10

Journal

International Journal of Inventory Research

11

See also

[8] Armony, Mor. The Impact of Duplicate Orders on Demand Estimation and Capacity Investment.
[9] Lee, Perlitz (2012). Retail Services. Australia: McGraw
HIll. p. 440. ISBN 9781743070741.
[10] Who moved my Parmigiano?". italiannotebook.com.
[11] Coulter, Jonathan; Shepherd, Andrew W. (1995).
Inventory Credit An approach to developing agricultural markets. fao.org. Rome.
[12] CTA and EAGC. Structured grain trading systems in
Africa (PDF). CTA. Retrieved 27 February 2014.

Cash conversion cycle


Consignment stock
Cost of goods sold
Economic order quantity
Inventory investment
Inventory management software
Operations research
Pinch point (economics)
Service level
Spare part
Stock management

12

Notes

[1] The word inventory is commonly used in American English and in business accounting. In the rest of the Englishspeaking world, stock is more commonly used, although
inventory is recognised as a synonym.

13

References

[1] Malakooti, Behnam (2013). Operations and Production


Systems with Multiple Objectives. John Wiley & Sons.
ISBN 978-1-118-58537-5.
[2] SKUs and UPCs: do your products have a unique identity?". www.tradegecko.com. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
[3] http://www.specialinvestor.com/terms/1072.html
[4] aspenONE Supply & Distribution for Rening & Marketing
[5] http://www.bsu.edu/web/scfrazier2/jit/mainpage.htm
[6] Relevance Lost, Johnson and Kaplan, Harvard Business
School Press, 1987, p126
[7] R. S. SAXENA (1 December 2009). INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: Controlling in a Fluctuating Demand Environment. Global India Publications. pp. 24. ISBN 978-938022-821-1. Retrieved 7 April 2012.

14 Further reading
Kieso, , DE; Wareld, TD; Weygandt, JJ (2007).
Intermediate Accounting 8th Canadian Edition.
Canada: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-470-15313X.
Cannella S., Ciancimino E. (2010) Up-to-date Supply Chain Management: the Coordinated (S,R). In
Advanced Manufacturing and Sustainable Logistics. Dangelmaier W. et al. (Eds.) 175-185.
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Germany.

15

15
15.1

TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses


Text

Inventory Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventory?oldid=736268048 Contributors: Camembert, Edward, Ubiquity, Michael


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Duoduoduo, Theo10011, Aiken drum, Bhoola Pakistani, Mean as custard, Smjiho, EmausBot, Eekerz, T3dkjn89q00vl02Cxp1kqs3x7,
Ibbn, Solarra, Wikipelli, Mathteacher69, Lateg, Czmilner97, Devnaniji, Wayne Slam, Andystwong, Robertlo9, Donner60, Prdyumn 08,
DASHBotAV, -revi, ClueBot NG, Muon, Widr, JoshRosen, Helpful Pixie Bot, DBigXray, BG19bot, StealthMirage, Pano38, Rutebega,
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Jaredjony, Mwesigwa Samuels, Saman Zara Zaidi, Adruckenbrod, Ugog Nizdast, OliverBel, Ginsuloft, Manul, Madi125, JaconaFrere,
Csusarah, Adelinapeltea, HMSLavender, KH-1, Moorhsed k, Haymax, Yagmursevdi, Tsialicia and Anonymous: 422

15.2

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15.3

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