Intelligent part numbering schemes are always well-intentioned.
In your dream scenario, you'll always know that RES parts are resistors.You'll be able to group similar parts in your documentaion easily and quickly. You'll have a clear frame of reference for every part, and be able to predefine the change routings, review processes and manufacturing steps for each part number class or category.
But there are a lot of hidden challenges of intelligent part numbering, and if you're just getting your system in place, it's worth taking the time to decide if it's really right for you.
What are some common challenges of intelligent part numbering?
Intelligent part numbers are easily susceptible to descriptive clutter—becoming very confusing, hard to read and impossible to remember. Imagine, for instance, trying to recall whether a part number was intended to specify length then gauge, or the opposite. Does ‘R-12-06’ mean the part is a 12-gauge or that it is half an inch?
When the system gets squirelly, you will either need to invest in time-consuming organization strategies, or extra training for the people who manage the system. Plus, once your system gets confusing, you are opening yourself up to mistakes. (Which take time and money to fix.)
It's tough to modify the system
If you are going to change a part, how do you ensure that those changes get carried across the rest of the system? And what happens if that change invalidates or conflicts with the part numbers that already exist? This is espe
You have a 4 gauge, 8 inch green cable with the number ‘G-8-4.' It's a good cable, but suddenly one comes out with shielding that is a much better fit for your product. If you want to incorporate the new shielded cable into your numbering scheme, you need to add something to indicate if cables are ‘shielded’ or ‘unshielded.’ Once you do that, you have to go back and make sure all of the old parts get the update. And make sure everyone knows about the change to the naming scheme.
And finally, intelligent part numbering may just be outdated.
If you have a computer tracking your part numbers, does it really matter how smart they are? Especially if you're using QR codes and tablets on the manufacturing floor.
What do you think? Intelligent part numbering - - are you for, or against?