When a co-worker’s PC needed repair, the vendor provided amazing service by promptly sending a technician who quickly replaced a part. After the part was replaced, a serial number had to be registered, and when it was completed, the new part did not work. Again, the vendor provided amazing service. A new part was immediately sent, the technician coordinated his arrival with delivery of the part, installed it the next day, and the serial number was registered. Again, the part did not work. This was repeated once more before it was finally realized that the culprit might be the serial number, which contained ambiguous characters. Not only that, but the font used made upper-case and lower-case of some letters look so similar that it was difficult to tell them apart. If the serial number had not been so problematic, the vendor might have saved significant expense in parts, shipping, and labor.
This also holds true when designing item numbers and SKUs for your inventory. Knowledge and planning means you’re using your preferred numbering design without causing problems for yourself (and possibly your customers). Here are some guidelines to consider when designing your inventory numbering system:
- Special Characters – While using special characters might be a good practice for passwords, it’s not the case for inventory numbers. Some characters can be mistaken for programming functions and might not be interpreted correctly, and others can cause problems with searches. Examples include /, &, <, >, *, etc.
- Vendor Numbers – Don’t use the same numbers that your vendors use. Using this as a standard inventory numbering system risks high inventory item turnover, loss of item performance history, and an inconsistent numbering system when you change vendors or if you have multiple vendors for one part.
- Length – Make sure the length is not too long or too short. Stay within the length restrictions of your ERP system, but don’t make the numbers so short that the might be mistaken for a quantity. Using a mix of letters and numbers increases your item numbers while maintaining reasonable length and helping to identify them as item numbers.
- Empty Spaces –10+ spaces may cause problems with search results.
- Ambiguous Characters – Avoid characters that can be confused with each other. These include characters such as capital eye, lower-case L, zero, and capital oh. Depending on fonts, add Cc, Kk, Pp, Ss, t+, Ww, t+, Uu, Vv, Xx, Zz, and number one to the list of characters to mistrust.
Simply omitting certain characters from your numbering scheme can prevent frustration for you, your employees, and your customers. In some cases, it can even save you money.
Contact us for more information about getting your inventory InOrder.
The Morse Data Development Team has released details about a new project (code name “Dynasty”), which will migrate InOrder into a web-based user interface with .NET.
The new programs will expedite the development process, improve usability for our clients, and enhance portability of the software. This furthers our on-going vision of enhancing the user experience, and it enables an expedited development process by using the same technologies that currently exist in our RF application and our responsive mobile cart.
Dynasty features the ability to re-size any windows, support for CSS-based interface customization, and the ability to run InOrder on any browser-enabled device.
This is the third system re-write by Morse Data in over 40 years, but this one is different because it enables us and our InOrder users to fully leverage their existing InOrder investment. The database tier and the logic tier are rock-solid, and already take advantage of the latest capabilities offered by SQL Server 2014, such as AlwaysOn Availability Clustering. This rewrite only affects the user interface tier, which is being completely re-built to take advantage of the latest object programming platforms and techniques that were not available when the desktop client was initially developed.
The Dynasty rollout will occur in phases, beginning with warehouse components to compliment the recently-completed web-based InOrder RF Interface. The phased release schedule will begin mid-2016, with completion expected in 2017. This rollout will be released to existing InOrder customers as updates become available. The new interface will initially overlap with capabilities of the existing client/server based desktop programs, which will be replaced when functional equivalence is achieved.