KISS your part numbers this Valentine's Day

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This Valentine’s Day we are giving part numbering schemes a big juicy KISS.

Parts are the heart of your product. You have to manage (um, treat) them just right, otherwise you could have product heartache on your hands.

Assigning a part number is a way for a manufacturer to reference a part. Some may employ a significant (aka intelligent) part numbering scheme, where numbers provide important details about each part. Others use insignificant (aka non-intelligent) part numbering, where part numbers are assigned in a purely sequential way and a number provides no information about a part.

We won’t discuss the pros and cons of each approach in this post (but you can find some of them in this article on our website). Instead we have a short list of guidelines to follow when creating a significant part numbering scheme.

In the spirit of the mantra “Keep It Simple S#@!%,” we’ve put together a set of tips for how to design a part numbering scheme that is both significant and simple.

4 tips for a simple, significant part numbering scheme

K – Key attributes.

Think about your parts and how you could group them. Do you have substantial sets and subsets? If so, consider using that information to help construct your number format.

I – Intelligent, but not too intelligent.

Defining each and every attribute of a part will create a complex scheme. And that’s not the goal, remember. Create a scheme that provides just enough detail but won’t be burdensome to maintain over time.

S – Simple, straightforward format!

A significant part number has meaning. Help your organization understand that meaning by using a clear-cut format that makes sense to everyone. Make your part numbers easy to read by including delimiters, like dashes, in your scheme.

S – Seven is the magic number.

When devising an intelligent part numbering sequence, think seven characters. Anything longer and the probability of data entry errors will go up. A longer part number also becomes more difficult to recall by memory.

With these tips, you can create a significant part numbering scheme you’ll cherish. Do you have other tips for creating intelligent part numbering schemes? We’d love to hear them.

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About the Author

Michelle LaVery
Michelle’s focus at Arena is online marketing, including managing pay-per-click programs and helping more manufacturers find Arena on the worldwide web. She has worked at Arena since 2001 and loves ... Read More 

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