Good Item Numbers Will Make Your Life Much Easier!

Tips on Creating Item Number Schemes

  • Unless you are forced to do so by something out of your control, never start an item number with a zero. Just trust us on this.
  • Avoid using letters that can be confused with numbers. The main culprits are O, I, and L. 
  • DO NOT use a manufacturer's serial number or part number for your part number. These numbers are often too long and cryptic. Plus, if you switch suppliers, or the manufacturer changes their number, it becomes meaningless to your organization. 
  • Keep item numbers short, but not so short that they could be mistaken for other numbers (i.e., quantities). 4 to 8 characters will suffice for most organizations.
  • Do not load item numbers with meaning; do not try to use the item number to describe your product. This will only make your numbers longer and more complicated. Save this information for the item description.
  • Consider using a few letters. Letters will help further distinguish your item numbers from other numbers, and they will greatly increase the number of possible item numbers you can have while keeping the overall item number length as short as possible.
  • Using a few letters from the beginning of your item description at the beginning of your part number will make it much easier to look up items in pick lists. For example, if you were creating an item number for “Sauce, Chocolate”, you might create the number “SAU101”, “Sauce, Caramel” would be “SAU102”, etc.
  • Do not use characters that might confuse people or software. For example, using a comma in your item number might make it look like a quantity or price. Using a "/" can result in Excel formatting your part number as a date. Symbols such as "<", ">", and "*" can have unintended consequences when moving data between Clearly Inventory and your spreadsheet program. Try to keep your item numbers simple and alphanumeric where possible.

Next: How to Create Units of Measure Names