Setup is Critical – Take Time to Plan First
Please Note, this is Part 1 or a 2 Part Blog.
Whether you’re a user, a seasoned Consultant, or a new Consultant, you know that setting up ID codes in Epicor ERP is critical to the basic setup and configuration to all applications in the system. You may also know, that once an ID Code is created, it becomes a Primary Key field in the database, for mapping purposes. The code is also a way to filter and group large amounts of data, for reporting. The frustration comes when there is a transaction against this, and you find out very quickly that it cannot be changed.
This is the primary reason why setting up these codes should involve some thought and planning. In Epicor ERP, you are limited to eight characters.
Part Numbering Schemes
Consultants and clients alike, typically use one of the following types of ID Code schemes:
- Non-intelligent – Also referred to as “non-significant.” The ID code is generic and does not provide any information about the group. Non-significant ID Codes are typically created in a series, (typically in numerical order), regardless of the group or reference. Using this ID Code system, a code could be assigned an ID Code – T100.
- Intelligent – Also referred to as “significant.” The ID code contains descriptive and informative details that provide significant information about the group. With this type of scheme, an ID Code is generated for a Part Class, might be “RES” where “RES” stands for resistors.
Which scheme should you use?
In any manufacturing organization, establishing an ID Code should be an efficient and accurate process. Consider your current and future operations when selecting which type to use. Here are some pros and cons of each:
Advantages of Non-Intelligent ID Codes:
Using this type of scheme will save your organization time upfront. You can ramp new employees quickly, avoid relying too heavily on any one person and maintain the system without much overhead. Here’s how:
- Time savings: It takes little to no time to pull a sequential ID Code for a group. Moreover, most of the setup is complete before cutover, and any additional setups are added on an as needed basis. Assigning an ID Code can happen fast. You do not have to put much thought into what the code should be as it is completely generic.
- Little training needed: If the organization hires new employees, they will not need to learn how to define an ID Code and can focus their attention on other tasks. Assigning a new ID Code can happen with little training.
- No single point of failure: To rely on a single person who knows and understands the coding schema, which was established in the past, means you sometimes must wait to assign a new ID Code. With non-significant ID Codes, you can easily have multiple people create them. NOTE: Since this is part of “Setup” in all application of Epicor ERP, Security group settings and rules should apply.
- No “back-tracking” or having to redo setup and configuration: Since the ID Code is non-intelligent, and since you cannot change an ID Code once it has been established, you can always reuse the code for a different group by simply changing the description. This also avoids the dreaded “DO NOT USE” definition description when ID codes are created and cannot be deleted.
- Simple maintenance: It is easy to maintain this type of scheme, as it’s essentially a sequential list. You will not have to decide where and how a new ID Code fits into the scheme.
Disadvantages of Non-Intelligent ID Codes
Using a non-significant ID Code scheme isn’t completely error-proof; mistakes can happen, especially if data entry is involved, and managing similar parts can be difficult. Here’s why:
- Potential for errors: Because it doesn’t have meaning, a non-significant ID Code does not provide any cues to help a user evaluate a group. If a ID Code is manually created, even an experienced person may fail to spot a data entry error. ID Code E100 could inadvertently be entered as E001, with no frame of reference for a user to determine if the ID Code makes sense in the context of other data, the error will likely go unnoticed.
- Difficulty managing ID Codes: Without common prefixes, this type of ID Code scheme may require more work to maintain. You’ll need to track additional metadata (descriptions) to define your codes and then use that information for grouping or searching (and for reporting) since the ID Codes do not provide identifying information.
So the big question is… Is Your ID Code Schema Costing You Money?
Continue reading about Intelligent ID Codes’ pros and cons in our next blog: Is Your Epicor ERP ID Code Schema Costing You Money?