With Evopos the Item numbering system is open so you can use whatever numbers or codes you like, however the specific ways numbers are created can make the system so much easier to use.
The numbering system is normally considered the most important part in setting up a stock control or invoicing system, but because of the wide range of considerations and advanced features, it is one of the most difficult areas to fully understand.
Types of Number
- Look-up Number - The main number we use to look up the item.
- Bar-code Number - The field used when printing a bar-code label.
- Supplier Number - Any number of suppliers numbers for any stock item.
- Alternate numbers - Any number of alternative part numbers referencing a particular stock item.
- Super-seeded Numbers - Another part number for basically the same item but often with a slight change manufactured by a different sub-contractor.
The 'Lookup' number is what we call our main item number (Part Number)
Prefixes are optional, however we have found it beneficial for numerous reasons to group types of items together by using a prefix to the Number. Prefixes that we recommend include a '.' and a letter such as:
.G - General Items (eg: Delivery charges, Fees, Bonuses etc - So instead of remembering lots of general part numbers we can just enter .G and see a list)
.J - Jobs - These are normally auto-created when invoicing Job Labour - eg: .J123456 (Where 123456 is the Job Number)
.K - Kits (or Packages)
.M - Messages
.N - New Units
.U - Used Units
Numbers to avoid
We also have a series of codes that can be entered at in many places including the sales part number entry, so we should avoid having Part Numbers that could conflict with these. Codes include:
-C999 - Select a Contact (where 999 is the Customer Number)
-G999 - Select a Gift Certificate (where 999 is the Gift Certificate Number)
-J999 - Recall a Job (where 999 is the Job Number)
-O999 - Select an Operator (where 999 is the Operator Pass-code)
-S999 - Select Sales Unit (where 999 is the Unit Stock Number)
Designing your own Numbers
Numbers can be any unique combination of letters or numbers. A part number can be up to 20 digits long but it normally best to keep them much shorter especially if printing bar-codes. There is normally a limit of 12 digits on a Code39 bar-code label sized about 56mm wide.
It is best to have some rules when creating Part Numbers. For example
- If the item has a well-known part number, it is normally best to use that (eg: Genuine Parts, B8ES Spark plug, FA89 Pad)
- If you always get an item from the same supplier, it can sometimes be easier to use the supplier's part number
- On other items, or if it is advantageous to be able to group and even guess the number by having a Descriptive number (see below).
Descriptive Numbers help operators to find an item without actually knowing the full number. They also enable the items to be grouped together.
Note: If using a Descriptive Look-up number, you can use the Bar-code Number, Supplier Numbers and Alternate Numbers for any manufacturer or supplier part numbers
To keep consistent you should keep to a set of rules such as:
- Break the part number down into segments, preferably with a consistent number of digits
- Keep numbers consistent and as short as possible.
- If you need to use a dash or space (not normally advised), all similar items must follow the same formula.
- Put the more important parts to the left. The first segment should stand for what they are, then the next most commonly looked up element. (See Examples below)
- Try to use consistent size and colour codes (see example below)
- Show the format you are using in the Category sample Item No field.
- Put the supplier number(s) as Supplier Number and also normally an Alternate Number.
- If it comes with a Bar-code put in the Bar-code Number field
Examples of Descriptive Numbers
First segment examples: TY-Tyres, BA-Batteries, GL-Gloves, HE-Helmets.
- Tyres could start TY, then the wheel diameter 17, 18, 19 etc. then the width / profile 110/90, 120/80 etc. and finally the model of Tyre MT81, AM21 etc. This would enable us to see all Tyres by entering TY or all 18" Tyres by entering TY18, or all the models for a specific size by entering TY18110/90.
- Helmets could start with HE, we would normally have the size before the colour so that all size 54 would be together and then the colour and then the model. eg: HE58BKAM7
Sample Colour Codes:
- R or RE=Red
- K or BK=Black
- E or BU=Blue
- N or BR=Brown
- W or WH=White
- G or GR=Green
- Y or YE=Yellow
Multiple records for the same or similar item
If you just have different numbers for the same part you would normally use Alternative Numbers
If you have similar versions of the same item but there is a different selling price and / or you want to maintain separate stock quantities you will need to have separate stock items for each and link them with either: Super-seeded Number, Equivalent Items or Actions
If you want similar items to appear together and you do not need to use specific numbers, then you may find it beneficial to enter a suffix on the end of the number. For example a new item may be 1007-NEW, a second-hand version of the same part it could be: 1007-SH and a re-conditioned item could be 107-RECON. If you searched for 107 it would bring up all 3 in a list to select from.
See section in Items for more information
Each supplier can have their own part number for an item, and we can set any number of Suppliers for any stock item.
When we create Purchase Orders for a Supplier, it should display the appropriate Supplier number for that supplier.
When a Purchase Order to a Supplier is received, it will create a supplier record for each item if not created already and update the Supplier Number and Supplier Last Cost Price.
When a Supplier Number is created it will normally also set it as an Alternative Number (so that the number is searched in Advanced search), however as we cannot have the same part number point to 2 different stock items there is an option to not set a Supplier Number as an Alternate Number.
Some suppliers pad out the numbers to a set length with zeros to make them a consistent length (12, 14 digits etc). Normally the best way to handle this is to set these part numbers to include the extra 00s and then even if you do not enter the extra zeros it should still be found (so long as the reduced number is not an exact number for another item).
You can automatically pad out the number in Evopos using Stock Item Maintenance and Price Book Maintenance.
Suppliers can also include spaces and dashes which can also cause problems (see lower section for more details)
Evopos can normally find the part easier when:
- Less characters than the part number are entered, but not if more characters than the part number are entered.
- If the part number entered has dashes the system can take them out, but if it does not have dashes, it would not normally know where to insert them.
Advanced search to search without dashes works most places but not in the Browse modes of Stock or Price Books.
Note: In the past, we did have an function in the advanced search that if it could not find the exact part it took the zeros off the end and searched for that, but we had to disable it as it would often bring up a completely different item which could be expensive if special ordered inadvertently.
Alternate NumbersThe Alternate numbers are stored in a different file and do not take up space in your stock file. Alternate Part Numbers must be unique so we cannot add an Alternative Number if that number is already a Stock Item or an Alternative Number on a different stock item.
Super-seeded numbers are common especially with ranges of OEM (Genuine) items. Super-seeded numbers are normally for the same item, but often with a slight change or improvement, or sometimes they may just have a different part number because they were made by a different sub-contractor.
Evopos can check Supplier Price Books for super-sessions so it is normally best to leave the super-sessions in the Supplier Price Book and just have the last number in the super-session chain as a stock item. If you do not use a Supplier Price Book for a range of parts you can enter all the super-seeded numbers in the Stock file
There can be many numbers in a super-session chain. For example: part number: 1001 super-seeded to 1003, and 1003 super-seeded to: 1005. Your stock should always be kept on the last number in the super-session chain (i.e. 1005). So, for example, if you entered 1001 or 1003 it would not be found in the Stock file and Evopos would prompt you to look in the Supplier Price Book. Then if Evopos finds that number in the Price Book and it is super-seeded, then Evopos will re-check the stock file for the super-seeded number. This should allow the super-sessions to take you to the last number in the chain, eg: 1005.
However if the stock was kept at 1001 or 1003, and we entered 1005 then it look in the Price Book for any super-seeded numbers and not find any, so it would not be able to find the earlier numbers.
Most suppliers do not use backwards (eg: 1005 to 1003), or loop super-sessions which would put an automated system into a continuous loop (eg: 1005 to 1001).
Evopos will normally only bring up the Super-seeding options if there is no stock of the item entered. If there is no stock of an item it will bring up the sales 'Line Edit' screen. Here we can check other Stores or Price Books. If there is a Super-ceeding number it will also give the options to a)Go directly to the Super-seeded number, or b)Bring up a list showing all super-seeded numbers.
Evopos can handle Loop super-sessions as we normally go through the super-sessions manually, but if we want to show all versions of a particular item it is normally better to use Equivalent Items or Actions (Related items) is normally as this
Advanced Search - Number search sequence
In some places where you enter a number (eg:Sales, Purchase Orders etc), the system will search by multiple different criteria. We call this Advanced Search.
Advanced Search works in the following sequence:
•Searches the Look-Up Number for the exact match
•Searches the Look-Up Number for the exact match without the Dashes
•Searches the Bar-code Number for the exact match
•Searches the Bar-code Number for the exact match without the Dashes
•Searches the Alternate Part Numbers for the exact match
•Searches the Alternate Part Numbers for the exact match without the Dashes
•Searches the Look-Up Number for items beginning with what was entered (In certain conditions)
•If more than 1 item was found meeting that criteria it would bring up a Browse window (In certain conditions)
Part Numbers with Dashes (Hyphens -)
Dashes are sometimes used to make a part number easier to read.
Some suppliers, such as Suzuki include the dashes in the bar-code for the item, however the majority create the Bar-code without dashes
Sometimes with suppliers, the bar-code number is in one format, but they need the number is a different format for ordering.
Often we end up putting the number without dashes in the Lookup Number and with dashes in the Bar-code Number.
It is normally easier to remove dashes unless there is a Number Format Code which specifies where the dash(es) would go.
There are feature in Stock Item Maintenance and Price Book Maintenance to remove the dashes.
In Advanced Search (see section above), Evopos will additionally search for the number entered but without the dashes.
Depending on how you order with your supplier will determine if you still need the dashes, if you do we can use the suppliers part number field to store the part number with dashes.
If you want to display part numbers with dashes but still be able to scan the item, we can use the bar code number field to store the part number without dashes.
Many manufacturers need to ensure that their Bar-code numbers are unique. For example you can imagine the confusion at a supermarket checkout if a tin of baked beans had the same bar-code number as something else.
However some suppliers, especially in more specialist industries, do not comply with this so you may need to ensure
GS1 is the main organisation set up so companies can buy a batch of unique numbers. There may be a different companies dealing with this in different countries. See the website (www.gs1.org) for more details.