What’s in a part number?

Infor VISUAL ERP - Part NumberMoving forward with the re-implementation we faced some key decisions.  One of them was to decide how to handle our part numbers.  Our existing part numbers were a mess.  They ranged anywhere from 1 to 30 characters and had variations of numbers, letters, and characters.  Some had some logic built into them, some were random, some were brought in as the vendor/customer part numbers, and some parts were represented by multiple part IDs of different numbering schemes.  Everyone seemed to have a different method for creating part numbers and, needless to say, it had become a mess.  We were all in agreement, this had to be cleaned up and standardized. 

The numbering system we decided to go with is a 7-digit numeric ID where the first 2 digits designate the product type (product line, hardware, etc.).  The other 5 digits are random numbers.  We plan to use the settings in part maintenance to define the rest of the part qualities. 

I’ve been with other companies where a larger smart-part-numbering system was the way to go.  In those situations the parts “are what they are” with very little (if any) changes that take place and can be easily defined within the part ID itself.

Convincing everyone to adapt to the all 7-digit, numeric part IDs wasn’t easy.  We set up a sandbox database and took a few part samples that we re-numbered and the corresponding components that went into making them.  We created Customer Acknowledgements, work orders, and dispatch reports to show the team how much ‘cleaner’ these reports looked.  We also demonstrated that we can display all the important info on these reports using the part description.  Should any changes be necessary to the part, we can just tweak the description instead of creating a whole new part number.  We had to transition everyone off their dependency of just knowing the part numbers and needing that knowledge of the history behind each part number.

Jason Snoeyink is a special guest author at visualnuggets.com and is an active participant in the VISUAL community.

Connect with Jason online at LinkedIn 


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What’s in a part number?:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I agree completely with you discussion of part numbers. Having lived through a couple of companies that tried to embed meaning into part numbers, they always fail.

On a similar note, how do do deal with Visual's limit of 40 characters for the part description? Without going to obtuse/cryptic abbreviations it is hard to get meaningful description into 40 characters so that an purchase order or BOM has the correct part number and description that lets everyone know what the part is without having to do a lookup each time.


The comments to this entry are closed.


Rich Ferlatte
Results Driven VISUAL Specialist


Of course, I am available for hire!

ERP Implementations & Upgrades
Analytics & Reporting
Integrations & Macros
General VISUAL Support


Taking it to the next level and designing a program around "Hands On VISUAL Training".

Check them out - there's sure to be one to interest you!

Operational Workshops
Reporting Workshops
Financial Workshops
Inventory Workshops
Quality Workshops


BOM Xploder
Drastically improve your BOM visibility and discover shortages at ANY level of your bill of material no matter how deep.
See, analyze, and track information that helps you better support individual, departmental, and your company’s performance metrics and goals.
eBoard - Financial Power App
Developed for accounting professionals looking for powerful and easy-to-use GL reporting software. Access live financial data, drill down to support details and export financial statements to Excel in one click.
Inventory App
This Inventory Reconciliation App provides a systematic approach to control and manage your Visual inventory effectively and efficiently
Credit Card Integration
Easily accept and process credit card payments right from within VISUAL.
ACH Document Processing
Leveraging VISUAL's payment scheduling and batch payment functions, with the added convenience, performance, and security of Electronic Funds Transfer payment processing.
Latitude Manifest & Shipping System
A seamless multi-carrier shipping solution that integrates to Infor VISUAL ERP. See how it can simplify your small parcel and LTL shipping and package tracking.
Sales Tax Automation with AvaTax
Easily automate sales and use tax in VISUAL with AvaTax. No more manually entering data or uploading rate tables and tax information.
Workforce Management with Kebrite Solutions
Streamlines the collection of Job, Labor, Payroll, Time & Attendance, and a vast array of HR related data-- with live VISUAL integration.