A manufacturer of industrial hose assemblies has thousands of complicated SKU (Stock-Keeping Units). In forming any SKU ID or Item Code it is important to keep in mind that:
- Each item code is unique – there is no duplication
- There is a standard way to form an Item Code
- Forming an Item Code must be simple and logical
- The logics must be combination of various features of every unique SKU
Small and medium sized companies seldom understand the above requirements of an SKU ID and end up making tons of duplicate or complicated Item Codes, that is, if they at all do make Item Codes.
Being an engineering company, there were several sensitive aspects to be taken care of in formation of every SKU ID. Example: degree, length, nature, gauge and material-type of hoses and fittings and their combinations.
Slightest error in any component of the SKU ID would directly result in making and delivery of an incorrect product.
- Tables of various products were made which had several columns of each and every component of the final product in MS-Excel
- Separate lists were made of column headers for every product type. These served as a consolidated list of component types used to describe every product
- Items in every column-header were then given a code in a separate Master Sheet. This exercise was done by brain-storming with the warehouse team, keeping in mind, what they were currently used to using in everyday work as too much difference could cause misunderstandings in identifying the correct product
- Alternate columns were inserted beside every existing column in the various tables formed (in first step) for each product type and codes from the master sheet was v-looked up
- All codes were nested together to form the SKU ID
- Brain-storming was done on where hyphens to be used and where not so that SKU ID was easy to comprehend for all departments, while description was also made available for quick recognition
- A software module was then planned based on this entire mechanism to make this process further easy
A logic-driven process helped in 100% reduction in errors as well as 100% reduction in effort hours to manually populate an SKU ID or an Item Code.