I recently started as a manufacturer, and looked at my finances tab, and was horrified by how much money it said I was losing. I looked through the numbers, and the issue was that output had an inventory cost of zero. This means that I was effectively writing off inputs.
This seems to be misleading, as any increase in production (as happens to a new player) inevitably means there is a loss generated. There will then be abnormal profits generated later by selling “zero cost” goods.
The income figure would better match reality if the cost of inventory inputs were rolled into the outputs.
This would not completely reflect the true cost of production (since it is not including labour cost or depreciation of buildings), but it would give a better guide to players about their financial situation.