Now that we’ve walked through the advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to consider your company’s use cases.
Here are a few key questions to ask when determining which part numbering approach to take.
- What will you use part numbers for within your organization? Get feedback from your entire team (engineering, quality, operations, etc.).
- Is some level of intelligence required to support existing business processes? Can the intelligence be better provided via a systematic approach that doesn’t rely on tribal knowledge and memory?
- Does your system provide the ability to capture part characteristics? For instance, modern systems provide the ability to create ways to characterize the part with descriptions, product lines, types, and other attributes which can be used to search for and identify parts without knowing an intelligent part numbering scheme.
- Will part numbers be shared with suppliers and/or contract manufacturers, or across different business systems? If so, do the other systems have part numbering character constraints?
- Will your current system support your part numbering needs? Can you maintain your part number system with your existing tool or solution?
- Is there a better way to manage part types or characteristics using intelligent systems? If you’re looking for a product lifecycle management (PLM) or quality management system (QMS) solution to manage parts, assemblies, and other product information—determine whether the system can provide a better way to categorize parts outside of the part number. If so, this will make it easier to create, maintain, and search for parts using other field attributes.
Companies today understand that reliance on tribal knowledge is a risk to their business. Systems have become more intelligent and replaced the need to incorporate intelligence into part numbers themselves. Moving intelligence or part characteristics into intelligent fields provides a more accurate way for teams to find parts and avoid confusion and mistakes caused by human error.