Part numbers and External Classification Schemas

Part numbers and External Classification Schemas

I want to talk about Part Numbers. Yes, Part Numbers, again… My previous blog – Part Numbering and the future of identification raised few interesting conversations. So, I decided to open a Pandora box of part numbering. The formal trigger for this conversation was Arena Solutions blog – Three consideration when choosing Part Numbering schema for you. Here is passage that actually made me think about the fact we are doing something wrong:

Choosing a part numbering scheme is one of the more important decisions you make as you move toward production… Once you commit to a part numbering scheme, you are married to it for a long time to come, so you need to be 100% sure it is nimble enough to evolve and scale right along with you...

It sounded like a Catholic marriage. Once you decided about part numbering, you are done for many years. The same Arena’s blog post mentioned some external tools you can use to generate part numbers – and

The idea that stroke me earlier today is that most of the companies are using “smart Part Numbers” in order to simplify part search, re-use and, even more fundamentally, classification. Type of part, organization, suppliers – these are only small elements of “an intelligent part number”. What if some “smart applications” are available that can add classification information to existing part numbers in order to enrich (actually to annotate) Part Number identification. These tools can be web-based and even applied to existing data in the company.

What is my conclusion? We need to re-think some very fundamental elements and concepts of product development, PDM and PLM. The ability to enrich data without building lots of sophistication in the Part Numbering is something that can make PDM / PLM systems more flexible and drive cost of changes down. I’d be interested how to support it in existing PDM/PLM systems. Not sure if it is a simple task. However, I’m curious if new PLM software coming tomorrow to market from companies like Autodesk will have a different set of capabilities to solve the problem of Part Numbering and identification. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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