If you have AutoGen or Power Ops (Bicycle Bundle, RMS Toolkit, Matrix Master), these tools include autogeneration of item lookup codes using pre-defined formats, supplier reorder number, UPC, etc.
You could also design your own format for manual entries. For example:
Standard format: DDCCBBXX
DD = 2 character Dept Code, such as AC for Accessories
CC = 2 character Category Code, such as LI for Lights
BB = first 2 characters of Brand, such as SP for Specialized
XX = 1-2 digit number, such as 1 or 12
Example: ACLISP1 Dual Rear Flasher Light
Won't I run out of numbers? It is unlikely to have that many models by the same brand within the same category. In the example above, you might use 0-11 if Specialized made a dozen different light models. In many cases a single digit will do. In rare cases you may go to 3 digits (over 100 items in same category by same manufacturer). A 3 digit number would allow 999 items in same category by same brand.
Using a meaningful lookup code offers many benefits within Store Operations including quicksearch (sales), quickscan (receiving and purchase orders), reports, and targeted mailings by dept/category (based on items sold to customers).
You can also use quicksearch to find and copy a similar item when adding new items to the database. Example: Perform a quicksearch for ACLISP, select a similar Specialized light to the one you want to add, then click Copy. Increment the new lookup code based on the last number already in use.
If you will be printing barcodes on your price labels, we suggest setting barcode type to Code 128A (mix of number and capital letters). Your price labels will be easy to read and scan. The lookup code also alerts your employees to the dept/category for every product, so they can quickly look up similar items.
This scheme also works well with size/color matrices. The New Item Wizard will append the lookup code with extra digits to indicate 1 to 3 dimensions being used. We suggest assigning dimension 3 to brand.
Brands assigned to dimension 3 can also be used to add single item. Simple tab to Sub-description 3 when adding a new item, start typing the brand and the name will auto-fill. Or you can click on the drop-down selection list to pick an existing brand.