The discussion of part numbers and their formats is ongoing, and there is a wide variety of options and opinions.
Here we will outline our approach to part numbers and the reasons for this approach.
An organization should have its own part numbers with a few exceptions for situations where part numbers are standardized in a specific industry.
Ideally, part numbers should include both letters and numbers and should begin with a letter. Leading with a letter resolves some formatting issues when dealing with Excel spreadsheets and makes the part numbers easier to read.
If it is necessary for the part number to be all numbers, then do not use values that result in leading zeros.
Our suggested method is to use two letters and four numbers, such as AB1234. The two letters are used to indicate a manufacturer with 676 possible combinations. The use of four numbers results in 10,000 possible part numbers for each manufacturer or a total of 6.7 million part numbers.
For most organizations, a format with three numbers, such as AB123, would be sufficient. Three numbers allows for 1,000 part numbers for each manufacturer or a total of 676,000 part numbers.
If several different departments use the same part database, then a department code could be used with the resulting format: DAB1234.
We are working to make MLPro flexible enough to handle a wide variety of part number formats.