Manufacturing Part Numbers 




A Recommendation

If you are faced with recommending a structure for a new part numbering system, what should you do? Here are my recommen­dations:

1. Absolutely no significance should be communicated by the part number itself. No part type, plant number, business unit, part technology—nothing.

2. Assign part numbers sequentially. Start at number 00001 and go up.

3. Use numbers only. This will speed up your data entry capability, and lower the amount of time it takes for keyboard entry personnel to become productive.

4. Use no punctuation, for the reasons cited earlier.

5. Use a short part number. Five digits will allow you 99,999 different part numbers—more than most businesses will ever require.

6. If preventing errors is worth a lot to your company (it should be!), use a checksum digit as the last digit. This will prevent most keystroke errors from ever being accepted by your computer system. This adds a digit, but with a 

five-digit base part number and one checksum digit, you're still way ahead of the game. (How this works, in its simplest form, is you take the sum of all the numbers in your part number, drop all but the last digit, and use that digit as the last digit of the part number. 12345 would get a checksum digit of 5; 23456 would get a checksum digit ofO.)

7. Use a highly structured commodity code in one (or more) of your description fields. Since this only has to be keyed into the system once, I favor a complete, easy-to-read commodity code that (as mentioned above) is more of a "structured, abbreviated description" than an actual code.

8. Issue new part numbers when a part is not identical in terms of form, fit and function to an existing part. Each different part should have a different part number.

' 9. Don't compromise!


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