There are two types of numbers commonly found in containers:
1) The "ordered" vs. "fulfilled" numbers. You order and fulfilled containers, not bales, not pounds, not sleeves. Although it seems they could be inferred, they are not.
2) The inventory numbers. Raw is the primary number and is typically bales. Processed is a secondary, optional number, and can be sleeves, half-cuts. It is not a weight.
Additionally, positive numbers ADD to inventory, and negative numbers REMOVE from inventory. Obvious once you know, but some people assume otherwise.
Here are some common scenarios:
Incoming Product - can happen in these ways:
A: Most commonly, product is purchased via a purchase contract, and Cargo is fulfilled against the contract and received into Raw Inventory using a SKU (positive values). Fulfillment is typically in bales (positive values unless returning/rejecting product).
B: Product is received directly (without a purchase agreement) and Cargo is received with Raw Inventory using a SKU (positive values). There is no fulfillment of a purchase agreement here.
C: Product is fulfilled against a contract, but not brought into inventory. No SKU is used, but the Item Reference Number is used instead to find the contract line item. This useful for back-to-back trades, where the on-site inventory is not tracked. Fulfillment here is typically in containers.
Outbound Product - can happen in these ways
A: Processed directly into a container. Cargo is fulfilled against a sales order, and Raw Inventory is removed (negative values). Fulfillment is typically in containers.
B: Processed for a particular order, but back-stocked or pre-processed while waiting for a container. This uses a Work Order, which removes from Raw Inventory (negative values) and adds to Processed Inventory (positive values).
When the container arrives, it is loaded from the Processed Inventory (negative values), and fulfilled against the sales order. Typical ERP systems would convert from SKU-A to SKU-B at this point since there are really two different products. For simplicity, we instead support these two unit types on one SKU.
C: Product is fulfilled against an order, typically in containers. This is for back-to-back trades, like C from above. Also, typically there are two fulfillments on one container: one for purchase and one for sales.
D: Product is shipped directly from the supplier. This is a special case where there is both fulfillment of purchase (positive values, typically bales) and fulfillment of sale (positive values, typically containers).
Another variation is for custom processing, where the sold item is a service (processing) instead of a product. This sometimes requires adjustment to documentation, depending upon how much documentation is done by the processor vs. the shipper.