Consumption of Materials

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Consumption of Materials


(material-intensiveness), one of the basic factors of the economic efficiency of social production.

The consumption of materials characterizes the expenditure in specific terms (per unit of production) of material resources (basic and auxiliary materials, fuel, energy, and depreciation of fixed assets) needed for production. The consumption of materials can be measured in cost or physical terms. The index of the consumption of materials is used in analyzing the production-economic activity of industrial enterprises and, in particular, the unit cost of production, in comparing the specific input in different sectors of industry, in applying planning methods on a large scale for material-technical resources, and in fixing wholesale prices for new production.

Within the national economy, in order to eliminate double counting, the consumption of materials must be calculated by the final product, that is, by that part of the gross national product which is the characteristic result of the social production process. Depending on the sector of production, the index number of the consumption of materials can be as low as 0.54, for the peat industry; the average for USSR industry as a whole is 0.807. The accounting of the consumption of materials is done either according to targets (MT) or according to physical data (MP). The amount by which MP exceeds MT shows the reserves in the lowering of the consumption of materials.

Decreasing the consumption of materials is highly significant for the national economy: it reduces labor input as embodied in the economized material resources, promotes the increase in production output with the same production funds, and contributes to decreased cost and increased profitability. The main ways to reduce consumption of materials include using the most economical varieties, sizes, and brands of materials, providing preliminary treatment for the materials (for example, using enriched and concentrated minerals), reducing waste in the production process (employing precise methods of casting and stamping), and designing optimum product durability.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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